Friday, June 2, 2017

An undiscovered lolly

Woah!!! I was just flicking thru my copy of John Walter Szpunar's excellent tome on horror/exploitation film fanzines, XEROX FEROX, when I discovered I'd totally missed reading the chapter on Ant Timpson (of Kiwi zine "Violent Leisure"). Yay! Like finding a lolly at the bottom of a lolly bag that you thought was empty!

I love the part where he talks about how his dad rang him and said, "the cops are coming over!", hahaha.

My copy of the book is starting to look pretty beat up by now.





NB: the book is out on Headpress in the UK and it's still available from the publisher's website. I have the paperback (cos I prefer paperbacks) but you can also still order the hardback (only available from the website). Go here.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

IT CAME FROM KUCHAR (Jennifer Kroot, USA 2009)

I've just finished watching IT CAME FROM KUCHAR about the Kuchar brothers. They were underground film makers for 50+ years going back to the early 60s (or maybe even late 50s, I'm not quite sure - I watched the film, I'm not a bloody expert on 'em).

I've known about the Kuchars for a good number of years despite the fact that I've never seen any of their movies (or hadn't until this arvo). But the thing is John Waters always brings them up in half of his interviews (and as I'm sure you know they are aplenty - his interviews that is). The doc is well done and kept me interested all the way thru till the finishing line (it runs for about 90 min). There's even 40 minutes of deleted interview bits and pieces, and the whole movie has a commentary track by the brothers and the director.

Great stuff and I'd like to watch a heap of their movies now. Unfortunately, I don't think a lot of them have been released officially on home video media. Fortunately, there seems to be quite a few of them on the olde YouTube. My DVD is a reg. 1 release and it's quite expensive on Amazon UK (I just checked and the cheapest copy is 35 quid!). I've had my own copy collecting dust for three years. I was fortunate to find a scratched second hand copy (altho not so scratched that is doesn't play) on Amazon at £7. One of the brothers worked with Curt Mcdowell on THUNDERCRACK and the new(ish) bluray release of that film has the full doc as a bonus feature (I have no idea if it has the extra 40 minutes or the commentary track).


Highly recommended.

PS: Oh, and by the way, Jack Stevenson is in there, too, talking about the bros. Jack wrote a book about Waters and the Kuchars. He lives in Denmark these days and runs a grindhouse cinema in Copenhagen. And he also runs an exploitation film festival entitled "Faces in the Dark" once a year. I've been a regular there for a few years now and if you're in Denmark or Sweden I highly recommend that you go too, it's a great festival. Everything is on 35mm. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

ZUMA 2: HELL SERPENT (rare English dubbed print!!!) - full film


 In 2011 I posted a clip from a very rare English dubbed version of the Filipino film ZUMA 2 - HELL SERPENT (aka Anak Ni Zuma). The film was available on an un-English friendly VCD out of the Philippines but nobody seemed to have the English dubbed print.

However, somebody has not only found a print but has found a print and uploaded it to YouTube! In all its VHS glory! My guess is it comes off a Malaysian or Indonesian VHS tape. The two sets of subs look Malaysian and Chinese to me. I'll embed the film here and hopefully it'll stay on YouTube but you never know how long these things get to stay so I'd recommend you save a copy for yourself.



Thanks to Ira Brooker and someone on Facebook whose name escapes me now for letting me know about the upload. Cheers mates!

THE DAY THEY ROBBED AMERICA (Philippines 1985) [REVIEW]

Original Filipino English title: The Sangley Point Robbery
aka American High Commando


VHS / Greece / fullscreen / English dub / Greek subs / uncut afaik
300 dpi hi-res scan


Dir: Manuel 'Fyke' Cinco

I'm not even sure if I should post this review on my When the Vietnam War Raged... in the Philippines blog or on my Backyard Asia blog! Hell, maybe I'll do both!

The thing is, the latter is a blog about wild and crazy Asian films and the first is dedicated to Vietnam War flicks made in the Philippines. And Manuel "Fyke" Cinco's THE DAY THEY ROBBED AMERICA is part Vietnam War flick - kinda without actually being a Vietnam War flick - and part wild and crazy Asian movie!

Most of these Filipino Vietnam War films are filmed in the Philippines but they're set in the Vietnam War which took place in, well, Vietnam, obviously. But this film, while it does take place during the Vietnam War, and while it does star an soldier who's just been fighting in the Viet Cong, the film is actually set in the Philippines! And lots of wild and crazy stuff take place! But, hey, it's been a long while since I wrote my last review of a Filipino Vietnam War movie and I'm stalling. Grab your beer and let's get going with the plot.

1971. An American soldier in Vietnam is captured and tortured by the Viet Cong. The soldier is played by a gwilo called James Acheson that I've never seen in any  other film but who, according to the bloody IMDb, was also in the  Vietnam War movie P.O.W. THE ESCAPE from 1986. The Viet Cong's got his girlfriend and they're going, "If you don't tell us what we want to know we're gonna off yer girlfriend". The soldier knows bloody well he's out of luck so he goes, "Fuck you and fuck the horse you rode in on". Fortunately, his mates arrive just in time to save him and kill the Viet Cong. Unfortunately, they've already off'ed his gf. After this he's a mental wreck and the army send him to a US base in the Philippines.





In the Philippines Rudy Fernandez plays a cop who kills a bad dude in the line of duty and decides to the force as a result. The bad dude's brother is obviously pissed off and asks one of his henchmen to off the cop but the henchman dude misses his mark and shoots the cop's dad instead. The cop, who's really a good law-abiding feller, then decides to participate in a bank robbery in order to pay for his dad's operation. He's got a wife and a girlfriend and neither of them are happy about the situation (!).

The ex cop and his posse of misfits plan to hit the American bank at the army base (!!) and needless to say it all goes terribly wrong. In the middle of the robbery a ton of American soldiers start shooting at them (what did they expect!), and the American solder who returned from Nam, his gf works at the bank and the ex cop and his gang kidnap her to use as a shield. They let her go soon enough but it still leaves her completely traumatised (quite funny actually, earlier on in the film she said to the soldier, who had experienced heinous things in Vietnam and had seen his ex girlfriend get killed in front of him, "you gotta leave all this behind and move on". Well, obviously she didn't handle being kidnapped for half an hour too well as she ends up traumatised in a wheelchair!). The ex Nam soldier decides to go on a revenge spree and starts to hunt down the cop and his mates one by one.





This is a quick run down of the plot and there's a lot that I'm omitting. THE DAY THEY ROBBED AMERICA is a wild and obscure film - but also slow in places and talkative. Obscure because the film doesn't stay in just one genre. It's part Vietnam War movie, part cop flick, part vigilante film, and it's part ... crazy Asian. It's not least obscure because we've actually got two main characters, the ex Vietnam soldier turned vigilante - and the ex cop turned bank robber. Neither of them are bad and as a viewer we feel for both of them. It's a dilemma and makes for a different and captivating storytelling in a genre that, despite being entertaining, is often more straight forward than straight forward.

In addition to  Rudy Fernandez I also noticed a few other well known faces, Nick Nicholson, David Light, and a few more. You can check the complete credits list on Andrew Leavold's blog.

Highly recommended.


VERSION REVIEWED: Greek ex-rental VHS. Fullscreen, English dub, Greeke subtitles, good picture quality.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Jack J's 70's: Udvandrerne/Nybyggerne

...skip to 42 years later and I'm finally re-watching UDVANDRERNE / NYBYGGERNE (The Emigrants/The New Land)!!! Directed by Jan Troell and starring Liv Ullmann & Max von Sydow. It's hard to fathom that Sydow played the old guy in THE EXORCIST 3 years later.
When I watched the films in '74 they were broadcast as an 8 part tv series and I've decided to split the two films into 4 parts (the two films run for 6+ hours). I hated the films as a kid, now I love 'em. Oh, and needless to say, to re-create the atmos from 1974 ... I'm watching the films in black & white!

Friday, December 2, 2016

ONCE UPON A TIME IN TRIAD SOCIETY (HK 1996)

I've just watched ONCE UPON A TIME IN TRIAD SOCIETY for the first time and now I'm kicking myself in the head for having had it on my shelf for bloody five years without watching it. It is awesome! So different, so inventive, so smart and clever. Different from any other HK film I've seen, and mind you this isn't even some art-house film, it's "just" a clever gangster film - and somehow it's the complete opposite of THE KILLER, the message in this one is trust no one, everyone's bad, everything is a lie, and the main character bad guy (Francis Ng) isn't good underneath it all, he's just a cunt. But even so has sympathetic features. 

Five years ago this Malaysian DVD was the only DVD release of the film anywhere in the world and it might still be. A quick google turns up zilch. The DVD carries the burnt-in theatrical HK subs in English and Chinese (and optional Malay subs). There's an unrelated sequel by the same director.



People who complain about the level of medical attention in their home country should try and seek help at a Hong Kong hospital. Here's a scene of a guy's been shot in the chest and a nurse is trying to save his life putting a Kleenex on the wound. o_O

PS: by the way, the hot nurse in the screen grab is poor Pauline Chan. Six years later she jumped out a 24th floor window. Her sad story is on Wiki.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Quarry's paperbacks

  
I discovered Max Allan Collins' "Quarry" books about a year ago and I am slowly working my way thru the series. There's 12 books so far (the first one was published in 1976 and the latest one was published recently). The series is about an ex Vietnam vet who turns pro hit-man. Apparently, Collins was the first author to make a hit-man a main character.There's a new tv series but I'm not gonna check it out until I've got thru all 12 books.














Monday, November 14, 2016

"A Ticket to the Boneyard" - Lawrence Block (1990)

"A Ticket to the Boneyard"
By Lawrence Block (USA, 1990) 
Danish edition: "Billet til ormegården" 
Published by: Forlaget Klim (1992)
Translation: Mette Egerod
Ex library copy

I've just finished reading my second Matt Scudder novel. The first one was "A Walk Among the Tombstones" (which I posted about here) and this second one was "A Ticket to the Boneyard". I read "Walk" in Hard Case Crime's cool US paperback rerelease but my copy of "Boneyard" is an old Danish edition that I found (and bought) years ago at a library book sale. It was slightly odd to read about Matt Scudder in Danish but it was alright (although the translation was far from perfect which, unfortunately, was all too obvious even without having the original edition to compare with). I might get hold of the original English language version at a later stage.

I have at least one more Matt Scudder ex library book laying around somewhere (I've got seven or eight big removal boxes full of books piled up in my wee pad, I simply haven't got enough book cases to put 'em on!). Not sure which one it is, it could very well be "A Dance at the Slaughterhouse".

In "Boneyard" Matt Scudder and his lady friend, the prostitute Elaine, get harassed (to put it mildly) by an old foe from way back; Nasty piece of work James Leo Motley got locked up for 12 years thanks to Scudder and now he's out and about doing what an ex jailbird with a 12 year grudge does best. He doesn't stay far away from Scudder and Elaine, and this fellar isn't one to pop around for coffee or hang out with you discussing the latest trend in vinyl rereleases. He's off his rocker and does his best to "thank" Scudder for the 12 years behind bars. Matt's friends and relatives start dying in gruesome and yukky ways.

This isn't Miss Marple and there's no butler. "Boneyard" is a grim, violent and totally captivating hard-boiled crime novel and I certainly wanna get hold of more of Block's Scudder books. I think I liked "Tombstones" slightly better but it could very well have to do with this edition having been translated and the language just doesn't flow at well through the filter that a translation is. And as I mentioned at the beginning the translation isn't perfect to say the least (man "entrerer" altså ikke ind ad et vindue på dansk, helt ærligt!). But in any case, highly recommended.


Monday, October 24, 2016

The LOST sequel to THE BIG BOSS is finally getting released to home-cinema!!!

Awesome news!!!

THE BIG BOSS PART 2 starring Lo Lieh and Bruce Le from 1976 (which I strongly believe is an official sequel to Bruce Lee's THE BIG BOSS) is finally getting a blu-ray release!!!


Years ago I posted about the film and the elusive 35mm copy that the person behind the South African video label Globe owned and later sold off to a cinema in Zambia. Well, it seems he DID make a copy (I have no idea in which format - dvd-r maybe?) before he sold off his 35mm print to the Zambian cinema, and he has now sold off his copy (dupe) to a label. They (the label) wrote to me recently because they though I owned a 35mm print (as I had re-uploaded the Globe guy's 10 min footage to YouTube). I am certain it's the same label. I won't mention who they are till there's an official announcement but it's a good, well-known label in the USA. No release date yet.

I have the info about the Globe guy's copy from a post of his on Kung Fu Fandom message board from last Tuesday.

This is indeed great news and I can't wait to see the film. I'm fully aware that fans of "real" martial arts films consider BIG BOSS PART 2 to be a piece of shite like the rest of the brucesploitation films. But I kinda come from the other side of "karate film" fandom, the "dark side" if you will, I'm totally into trashy B movies and as I said I can't wait to see this.

Finally. After fuck knows how many years I've been looking for a copy. I tried several times to get a copy from the Globe guy but without any luck.

Here's a link to my old main post about the film (which includes the trailer and 10 minutes of footage which was uploaded by the Globe guy). And here's the entry for the film at the Hong Kong Movie Data Base.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Benoît Sokal's Inspector Carnado


 "Le Chien debout" - Benoït Sokal (France, 1981)
Et hundeliv (Danish edition, 1982)

34 years after this comic album (graphic novel) came out and I finally get to read it. I didn't buy the series 34 years ago as I was sick of funny animals and comics with Donald Duck style characters - who were funny. This isn't in retrospect - I do remember seeing the albums back then and deciding not to buy them.

Skip to 34 years later and I'm kicking myself in the head for not getting them back then. But then again, maybe the jokes and adult humour would have gone over my head, haha. I found the album in a big pile of unread comics on the floor sitting between, well, other stuff. It was a pile of ex library comics that I bought at a big indoor market 6-7 years ago.

This is awesome stuff and although it's full of humour it's nowhere near funny-animals funny. This is full of mean spirited characters, violence, death, dark humour and sarcasm.
I'll have to track down the other albums. Apparently there's four more in Danish.

I checked English Wiki but whoever made the entry didn't do a very good job of it. All the French albums are listed with English titles but I'm certain most of them are just translated titles, they're not actually release in English (you don't list translations as titles when they're mere translations). And no info on the few albums that did actually get a release in the English speaking world. Wiki is only as good as the last guy who made an entry.

And kudos to Søren Vinterberg for the Danish translation. It has a flow and crispness that borders on sheer poetry.

The first issue (in French) is from 1979 and Benoît Sokal is still churning them out. The newest issue is #23 from 2015. Don't tell me I have to learn bloody French to read the rest of the series!
(actually I don't - I see the entire series is released in Germany as well)