Saturday, January 18, 2020

BAMBOO GODS AND IRON MEN (Philippines, 1974)

Alternative poster title: BAMBOO GODS & IRON MEN

Premiere Productions Inc/American International Pictures

Director Cesar Gallardo Producer Cirio H. Santiago Writers Ken Metcalfe, Joseph Zucchero Director of Photography Felipe J. Sacdalan Music Tito Sotto Editor Gervacio Santos Associate Director Jun Gallardo Art Director Ben Otico Production Manager A.R. Navarro Assistant Director Jun Amazan Aikido Intructor Omar Camar Kung Fu Instructor Jun Santos Field Soundman Willie Arce Sound Engineer Demetrio de Santos

Cast James Inglehart (Cal Jefferson), Shirley Washington (Mrs. Jefferson), Chiquito, Marissa Delgado, Eddie Garcia, Ken Metcalfe, “Joe”/Joseph M. Zucherro, Michael Boyet, Robert Rivera, "Zubas"/Subas Herrero, Leo Martinez, Benny Pestano, Steve Alcardo, Robert Picate, Boy Picate, Tony Uy*

*Cast and company credits are borrowed from Andrew Leavold's blog


I have a feeling everyone missed the DVD release of the Cirio H. Santiago produced BAMBOO GODS AND IRON MEN when it came out from Shout Factory (aka Scream Factory) seven years ago (2013). Hell, I missed the news about it too!!! I already had a dvd-r copy of the film (cheers, Andrew) but if memory serves me well it's a very rough fullscreen version off a print.

Maybe everyone overlooked the release as the film was hidden away in a four film movie pack with three "ordinary" American action films (I haven't watched the other three films yet). The DVD is part of Shout Factory's "4 Action-Packed Movie Marathon Volume Two". The film is presented fully letterboxed and anamorphic. The print is a bit worn during intro credits but other than that it looks fine for DVD; And mind you it certainly looks heaps better than old fullscreen copies off dubious prints or worn video tapes. I wish someone would release a blu-ray but I'm not holding my breath till that happens. This DVD is most likely as good as it's ever gonna get.

A boxer (James Iglehart) and his wife go to Hong Kong for their honeymoon. They buy an ugly Buddha statue in a gift shop and later James saves a Chinese mute (Chiquito) from drowing. Both the Buddha and the Chinese guy (who happens to be great at kung fu) become a royal pain in the newlywed's collective ass; A goon kingpin (played by good ol'e Ken Metcalfe) wants the Buddha as it apparently contains some power to control the world. And due to old Chinese belief the Chinese guy now belongs to James Iglehart because he saved his life. Later they go to the Philippines and more trouble ensues. Lots of action, kung fu, fights, humour that doesn't suck (humour in these films often makes me grind my teeth) and a fair bit of nudity. Eddie Garcia and a bunch of other well known Filipino actors are in this (look them up on Name that Filipino Actor!). 

BAMBOO GODS AND IRON MEN is a fun flick and what makes it twice as much fun are the bad guys. Bald-headed Ken Metcalfe and his goons and goonette (singular as there's only one, the lovely Marissa Delgado) certainly make up at least half the fun if you ask me. Too bad this film has been overlooked for such a long time - and too bad it's still overlooked!

By the way, the film was released in the Philippines under the title BLACK KUNG FU. Needless to say, the drunk monkeys that run the less than reliable IMDb have listed the film  under each title! They're not two films, just the one.

I found the trailer and re-uploaded it. The quality is terrible but it seems it's the only one out there in Cyberspace.

As I post this entry the Shout Factory DVD is still available from WOWHD (it's cheap!). Go here.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Name that Filipino actor!

Things move at a snail's pace here. I was gonna post the news about Andrew Leavold's "new" Filipino blog a while back. But I've just checked when exactly he launched it and it was bloody three years ago! Oh well. I guess it could have been four years ago which would have been even worse. Or five!

In any case, Andrew put up a new blog to basically index each and every actor that was ever in a Filipino genre movie. Not just the local Filipino actors but also any ex-pat who starred in them. The John Ashley's, the Nick Nicholson's and the Joy Bang's. Heeey, wait-a-minute... I just checked and he doesn't actually have Joy Bang in the index!!!

She was in NIGHT OF THE COBRA WOMEN. A performance which Kier-La Janisse called "a disaster" in a (very good) article about Joy Bang for the UK magazine Shindig in 2016 (i.e. #27. It's still available from their website). I quite like the film, though (it's on blu-ray and dvd from Scorpion Releasing).

To check out Andrew's "new" blog and a 1000 well known and some not so well known actors and actresses from the Filipino genre film industry of yesteryear go here. 

Friday, December 20, 2019

"25 Years of Punk" - documentary

Here's an alright documentary about the history of punk. Yes, it's from VH1 and pretty polished but there's a still a ton of cool interviews.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

"The Ultimate Mercenary Collection" 6 film blu-ray box set

I've recently bought a brand new excellent blu-ray box set of five Italian/German flicks of the sort we like on this here blog! Four of them are directed by Antonio Margheriti and one by Fabrizio de Angelis! 

"Brand new" as in I've had it sitting on my Amazon want-list for a couple of years! But brand new compared to the old Japanese VHS releases of the very same films that I have in my collection. And they're fully uncut ... and English friendly … and it's blu-ray! Reason enough to celebrate I'd say. 

The box set contains six films, the last one being the original THE WILD GEESE (UK 1978) that the Italians ripped off with some of their films in this set (I assume. I haven't watched the original film yet). 

The five Italian/German films all carry English audio for the films!
Unfortunately this doesn't apply for the extras which are in German, or Italian with German subs. 

As I write this the set is available from Amazon Germany. Go here.

The films in the box set are: 

THE WILD GEESE (Andrew V. McLaglen, UK/Switzerland, 1978)
German title: "Die Wildgänse kommen"

TORNADO aka LAST BLOOD (Antonio Margheriti, Italy/Germany, 1983)
German title: "Im Wendekreis des Söldners"
Fully uncut. Several previous German vhs/dvd versions are cut

CODE NAME: WILD GEESE (Antonio Margheriti, Italy/Germany 1984)
German title: "Geheimcode Wildgänse"
Fully uncut. Arrow's UK blu-ray is cut 13 minutes!

COMMANDO LEOPARD (Antonio Margheriti, Italy/Germany 1985)
German title: Kommando Leopard
Fully uncut.

COMMANDER (Antonio Margheriti, Italy/Germany 1988)
German title: Der Commander
Fully uncut. The Arrow blu-ray is cut 1 minute

COBRA MISSION (Fabrizio de Angelis aka Larry Ludman, Italy/Germany, 1986)
aka Operation Nam
German title: "Die Rückkehr der Wildgänse"

THE WILD GEESE (Andrew V. McLaglen, UK 1978)
German title: "Die Wildgänse kommen"
In contradiction to the 5 Italian films, the UK film is of a lesser picture quality apparently; According to dvdcompare: "note the last 7 min 13 sec of the German BD are zoomed in and in much lower quality".

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Turkish 1974 remake of THE EXORCIST now restored and available for free in blu-ray quality

Now, THIS is something!!! A restored 1080p upload of the Turkish remake of THE EXORCIST!!! And it's for free!

The film is called SEYTAN (aka "Turkish Exorcist" among fans) and it was directed by Metin Erksan in 1974 - the year after the original film came out.

SEYTAN is an almost frame-by-frame remake of THE EXORCIST. However, one difference is that the priests are not Christian but Muslim. And, well, the Turkish film may not be quite as well made and scary as William Friedkin's original film. It's a lowbudget film (all genre films were lowbudget in Turkey in the 70s). But SEYTAN is both a fun flick to watch and it's an interesting watch not least because it's set in a different culture to the film it remakes.

The original version of THE EXORCIST hadn't even played in Turkish cinemas in 1974 so people didn't know what to expect.

No, there's no subs on this upload but as I said it is basically a frame-by-frame remake so you don't need them. I take it you've all seen the original film.

I should point out this is NOT an illegal upload! The film has been uploaded by the copyright holders. I'm told that home cinema formats are a thing of the past in Turkey now. Everything is streaming and download. The film company which owns the film has uploaded a ton of their films to YouTube - for free and all beautifully restored and in 1080p quality. I have no idea how they make money!

PS: forget the haters. This is a multo fun film!

EDIT: Someone is already working of a subtitle file!!!

The full film on YouTube:

Monday, September 30, 2019

CORMAN'S WORLD - Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel (2011, USA) Alex Stapleton

I've just rewatched Alex Stapleton's documentary about Roger Corman, CORMAN'S WORLD - Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel. I haven't watched it for a long time and I'd forgotten just how good it is. Here's a link to a quite good interview with director Stapleton. As I said, it's good although she (and the interviewer!) makes the mistake of stating that her film is the first time there's been made a doc on Corman. Not so. Not so at all. Already back in 1978 Christian Blackwood made ROGER CORMAN - HOLLYWOOD'S WILD ANGEL. It has never made it to DVD but it's certainly out on VHS. I've got a copy and it's a good documentary film. You should check it out (unfortunately, the only copy on Amazon right now is 75 dollars!).

Blackwood passed away a long time ago (sadly, he was only 50) but his brother has a online film archive of sorts (I've just found it and thus haven't really checked it out) and you can buy a download copy there (go here). Unfortunately, it seems their player stretches the film to widescreen which is the wrong aspect ratio. It's supposed to be 4:3 fullscreen (but needless to say you can change that once it's downloaded).

It seems Alex Stapleton has fallen off the film map after making CORMAN'S WORLD. Not that she's lost, mind you, but apparently she makes docs about the NBA and stuff now. I wonder why she didn't stay with psychotronic films. Oh well. At least she made CORMAN'S WORLD and it's a bloody good film. It comes highly recommended of this reviewer.

PS: Get the UK or US blu-ray and avoid the UK DVD unless you love barebone.


Interview with Julie & Roger Corman and Alex Stapleton about making the documentary film:

Thursday, August 1, 2019

BUZZCOCKS - live at the Roxy Club April, 1977 (LP) Gatefold edition (1990)

I really don't remember what year I bought this record. I experienced a 10 year drought vinyl record wise as I didn't own a record player. I knew I wanted one so I kept buying records, and this was one of them. I think I bought it second hand from a seller on eBay in the UK. But it could have come from the drunkard down the pub. Who remembers these things anyway. In any case, like any other motherfucker into cool bands I've known about BUZZCOCKS for a long time. But I've never actually heard much of them or  owned any of their platters. This is their first that I do. And yeah it's a live album. From 1977!! Brill and outstanding to put it mildly. I need more Buzzcocks records!

Saturday, July 20, 2019

STRESSED TO KILL (Mark Savage, USA 2016)

 I watched Mark Savage's STRESSED TO KILL last night and the film proves that, as a viewer, you don't necessarily have to make room/allowance for a lowbudget film's shortcomings. That may be the case of lesser (or lazy) lowbudget directors. It certainly wasn't the case with STRESSED. No bad script, no bad acting, no bad filming, no bad anything I can think of. It grabbed me and kept my attention ALL the way thru.

I used to read Mark's HK reviews in Fatal Visions (Melbourne film zine in the '90s) but this is the first film of his that I see. Certainly not the last (well, not least cos I've already bought his follow-up, lol). Oh, and the cast was GREAT. Man, Bill Oberst Jr. was very good, and Armand Assante delivers his part so all I can think of is Harvey Keitel in BAD LIUTENANT. 
Highly recommended.

PS: In Euroland; get it cheap from wowhd. I think I paid £7

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

CRYPT RECORDS tv special (1996)

"Wah Wah" (VAVA tv, Germany 1996, English language) 

TV special dedicated to the American record label Crypt Records. The label is run out of Hamburg by Tim Warren. Interview with Warren and The Oblivians + live footage with the band and music videos by New Bomb Turks, Lazy Cowgirls, Chrome Cranks, Elvis, Pegans, 13th Floor Elevators, and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.

I've just reuploaded this TV special (which I talked about in my previous post). I don't know who taped this off TV in 1996 but in 2010 he uploaded the programme to YouTube and, uh, made a bit of a mess of it. He uploaded the full show in five parts. YouTube then deleted part 2 after which the uploader edited the programme into just two parts and uploaded them. So try and figure out which part 1 and 2 you watch before part 3, 4 and 5!! Some of the music was missing from some of the parts and ... it was a mess. In this upload I've edited the parts back together and have created the most complete version possible.

A heartfelt thank you goes out to the original uploader for sharing the programme. Unfortunately, YouTube has removed the PM option so I can't even get in touch with him.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Hanging at the CRYPT owl nite

I found an old cool music programme about Tim Warren and his label CRYPT RECORDS on YouTube. The show also included an OBLIVIANS interview + live footage, and videos by other bands on the label. It was broadcast (in English) on a German music TV channel called VIVA in 1996. Back in the old days, you had to upload longer programmes in shor 10 minute bits. In 2010 the uploader divided the approx. 50 min. show into five parts. Unfortunately, the truly anal copyright Gestapo police decided that parts 1-4 were objectionable (in reg. to copyrights I assume) and had to go (i.e. according to a later post by the uploader).

In order to keep the Crypt special on YouTube, in 2011 the uploader edited the 50 min. programme into two approx. 10 min parts and uploaded them leaving out the copyrighted music. However, when I discovered the programme (yesterday) it soon became clear that - without the uploader being aware of this - YouTube had reconsidered and let parts 1, 3 and 4 back on (part 5 was never censored). So now only part 2 was missing.

I had a look at the various parts and discovered that part 1 of the re-uploaded/edited part actually contained all the missing interview parts from the missing original part 2 (still missing the music videos, though). So I'm spending the night editing together a "complete" version of the show (it's missing a couple of music videos but the full OBLIVIANS and Tim Warren interviews are there + the OBLIVIANS live footage).

It was a pain but fortunately I had a pile of new LP's from Crypt to listen to while working (see my previous post). Ive been away for a few days and have only had the chance to listen to one of them so far (Reatards - "Teenage Hate") so I pulled out CHEATER SLICKS - "Skidmarks" + a second hand copy of THE RUNAWAYS debut LP I got a while back (but haven't really listened to). The Cheater Slicks record was great (needless to say). Runaways is ... fun, and interesting in a historical context (as several of the band members went on to have long careers in rock music, not least Joan Jett and Lita Ford), but I doubt the record is gonna get into my top 10 or even top 5000.