Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Saturday, June 6, 2020

DAUGHTERS OF SATAN (USA/Philippines, 1972)


DAUGHTERS OF SATAN 
(USA/Philippines, 1972)
Director: Hollingsworth Morse

I've seen a lot of Filipino flicks but I must admit never to have come across DAUGHTERS OF SATAN before. Made as a US/Filipino coproduction in 1972 and directed by some guy called Hollingsworth Morse. The name did not ring a bell with this reviewer! A quick gander at IMDb makes me think this is probably his most interesting work. He made episodes in various TV series but nothing that stands out I'm sorry to say. I reckon this is his only horror film. 

An American businessman (played by Tom Selleck!) living with his American wife in the Philippines buys a painting from a mysterious antique dealer (played by Vic Diaz of course). The painting is 300 years old and shows three witches being burned alive. Charming picture to hang next to the dinner table! One of the witches looks exactly like his wife. The wife isn't too pleased with the purchase. She suffers from mental problems so having to look at herself being torched at the stake every day probably isn't her idea of cool interior decoration.

At some point while the husband is at work she encounters an evil dog, and an evil housekeeper turns up at her doorstep. Later there's another witch, more evil evildoers engaging in evil practices, and women getting flogged and hung over deadly iron spikes. 

DAUGHERS OF SATAN is odd and maybe it doesn't make too much sense but, hey, when was that a problem in horror movies!? I think the film is wonderfully odd and I much disagree with Ian Jane's 17 year old review from DVDManiacs (also copied by Andrew Leavold on his blog). He didn't think it was all that entertaining. Personally, I didn't look at the clock one single time throughout the film.
   
Ian Jane reviewed a UK DVD release in 2003 but I got the new (from 2018) blu-ray released by SHOUT! FACTORY. It doesn't mention if this release is sourced from a film negative or a 35mm print but it looks fabulous in any case. In contradiction to the DVD this release is in 1.85:1 widescreen. There's hardly any extras, a trailer and some still photos. The disc is subtitled in English. 

Final word: Highly recommended! (and I'd advise you get it sooner rather than later. These things have a tendency to go out of print fairly quickly these days). 

Apparently, the film played at US cinemas on a double bill with another US/Filipino production, SUPERBEAST. The trailer is for this double bill and SHOUT! have released both films on blu-ray (I own a terrible shit looking, censored bootleg DVD from ZDD. Needless to say, I have ordered the new blu-ray of SUPERBEAST but I reckon it's most likely stuck somewhere in traffic as so much stuff seems to be during these weird times we live in).



Trailer:

 

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

ABEL FERRARA - podcast



ABEL FERRARA - podcast (Filmwax Radio episode #453, 29:30 min, 21. May 2018)

Abel Ferrara is the guest on this episode of the Filmwax Radio podcast. It was uploaded two years ago and only has 22 hits! I don't know if this means that people don't listen to podcasts, or if they don't care about Abel Ferrara, or they just haven't discovered this episode yet. Give it a spin if you like Abel. I think it's a cool episode. They talk about his interest in documentary films and living in Italy.

Friday, May 29, 2020

RED SPELL SPELLS RED (wild HK horror flick, 1983) - full film



Thanks to 劉天賦 for making me aware of the YouTube upload.

Check credits and info about the film in this post.


Poster (Thailand)

Monday, May 25, 2020

BEHIND ENEMY LINES - on blu-ray from Scorpion soon


Check this out! BEHIND ENEMY LINES (Gideon Amir, 1986) (retitled P.O.W. THE ESCAPE and also aka ATTACK FORCE 'NAM) is coming out on bluray from Scorpion Releasing.

No release date yet nor any info about the release.

David Carradine is in it and so are a bunch of stalwart Filipino ex-pat actors: Ken Metcalfe, Jim Gaines, Eric Hahn, Henry Strzalkowski are in it. xD

PS: Not to be confused by the film KILLER INSTINCT that Cirio H. Santiago also made in the Philippines around the same time (1987). Roger Corman retitled it BEHIND ENEMY LINES for its US release. 


Trailer (widescreen + 1080p!)

Saturday, May 23, 2020

JUNGLE HEAT aka LAST BREATH - trailer for rare Thai edit



LAST BREATH (Lee Ho/Jobic Wong, Taiwan, 1985) aka JUNGLE HEAT

There are four different edits of LAST BREATH: 

1. The original Taiwan version (also released in HK - released on HK VHS and US Chinatown VHS)
2. The international version entitled JUNGLE HEAT (alternative footage - released on various uncut VHS tapes, the best one being the Japanese VHS: uncut + letterboxed. The German and UK dvd's are cut!!!)
3. A censored version for Mainland China (cut for violence but includes some alternative footage - released on VCD)
4. A version made for Thailand - which has extra footage with Thai actor Sorapong Chatree (I'm going by the trailer and the Thai film poster here as the film itself hasn't been released to home video afaik).

I'm told a 16mm copy of the Thai version is stored in the Thai film archive. Hopefully, somebody will release it to blu-ray or streaming at some point.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

YOU BOIL. I KILL. NO METHOD.

HK blu-ray (comes with slipcase)

I love British crown colony era HK cinema, but I must admit I don't know anything about HK cinema post the Chinese takeover. I've just watched this new (2018) HK flick, HUSBAND KILLERS (directed by Fire Lee Ka-Wing), and, well, it was kinda like a burger to a meal. Tastes good, but not much substance. It was like a fun cartoon, but no depth what so ever. But, hey, I love a good burger! Just don't eat them all the time. lol. The film was fun, violent (think cartoon violence), sexy and entertaining. And towards the end it did play around with film conventions in an unusual way so that was cool.

Released on HK blu-ray (the film is subbed in English, the bonus features are also subbed – in Chinese!). Available at HK$ 65 from dddhouse.


Trailer:




Flipside of blu-ray slipcase

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Greta Thyssen interview (2010)


I recently posted about a Greta Thyssen interview that never took place (see post here) and quote from an interview that did take place. Unfortunately, they didn't talk much about Greta's role in Filipino film (hence her being of interest to this blog dedicated to obscure Asian cinema) in said interview (from 2010), and that short part was all I quoted. I suggested to the reader that he click a certain direct link if he wanted to read the interveiw in full. But come to think of it, everything has a tendency of disappearing from Cyberspace, so I might as well copy-paste the full interview to this ol'd blog. So here you go, Greta Thyssen talking to Mark Voger/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com in 2010.





Three Stooges' final leading lady, Greta Thyssen

(Updated April 1, 2019. Posted June 18, 2010)

by Mark Voger/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Many distinctions dot the career of actress Greta Thyssen, a former Miss Denmark who once doubled for Marilyn Monroe. But one in particular is doted on by fans of the slapstick trio the Three Stooges.
Thyssen is the leading lady in the 190th -- and final -- Stooges short ever released.
In "Sappy Bullfighters" (1959), Thyssen performs classic bedroom farce with the boys. The blond beauty also tried to murder the Stooges in "Quiz Whizz" and teach them manners in "Pies and Guys" (both 1958).

All three Stooges shorts with Thyssen can be seen on the new DVD set "The Three Stooges Collection Volume Eight: 1955-1959." Thyssen, who is at work on a forthcoming blog, was reached at her New York home on Saturday.
Q: When you first came to Hollywood from Denmark, did you have jobs lined up?
A: I got, I think it was, a six-month contract with MGM, even though it was the end of their big moviemaking days. So they didn't really do anything with me, and allowed me to work outside. I got offers for certain things, and I did them.
Q: How was your English when you first came over?
A: Oh, I had an accent, I guess, yeah. I still have an accent. Sure.
Q: But was it tough learning scripts in another language?
A: No, not at all. It has nothing to do with accents. It has to do with what kind of memory you have. When I began to do summer stock, often people would say, "You don't have an accent when you speak the lines." It would go away many times. But of course, I've never gotten rid of it. I never even tried to get rid of it, which I should have done.

Q: You made your film debut in "Bus Stop" (1956), and you doubled for Marilyn Monroe. Did you get to know Marilyn a little?
A: Yes, I did. And that was a time when they were really hard on her. I felt so upset for her, because everybody was speaking behind her back.
Q: In "Terror is a Man" (1959), a neat horror film, you played the wife of Francis Lederer. How do you recall that experience?
A: Well, I had to go all the way to the Philippines, so I flew there. At that time, I was married, so it was a little hard. But it was fine. He (Lederer) was nice and charming. I had a good time. It was very warm, I remember.
Q: A DVD set is out containing the three shorts you filmed with the Three Stooges. In "Pies and Guys," you received a pie in the face, which some would deem an honor. How did you respond?
A: Actually, I totally have forgotten it, so I can't tell you what it felt like. I really have forgotten it. I probably didn't like it at all, I would think.

Q: How did you keep a straight face when the boys were wearing those ridiculous "Little Lord Fauntleroy" costumes?
A: Well, first of all, when you're an actress, you're not supposed to laugh in the middle of it. So I kept my cool.
Q: You towered over those guys, which made it funny. They were not tall men, and you were, or should I say are, a tall woman.
A: No, I'm not so tall any more (laughs).
Q: What kind of working chemistry did you have with the Stooges? Were they generous to you?
A: Well, they were fine, yes. But I wasn't that interested in it. I didn't quite understand that those kind of shorts would later be so admired and loved. I didn't know that at the time. I didn't know anything about it, really, to tell you the truth. I just was offered the job, because they wanted to start, again, doing "Stooges." So there was a new producer and it was a new time. I think the original ones -- weren't they in the '30s?

Q: Yes, they were.
A: Yeah. So this was new.
Q: Could you talk about the art of comedic timing? You were working with three great screen comedians, and holding your own.
A: Well, as an actress, you know instinctively what to do. And so that's what I did.


At the time of posting this, the original interview is still online here /Jack

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Greta Thyssen in New York on 14. December 2012
(only public photo of her on her facebook profile)

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

BASED ON A TRUE STORY (Roman Polanski, France 2017)

aka D'après une histoire vraie


I finally received the blu-ray release of Roman Polanski's BASED ON A TRUE STORY that I had ordered from dddhouse in Hong Kong more than a month ago. I watched it right away. I didn't know what to expect as the most recent Polanski film that I've seen is his THE NINTH GATE from 1999. I was wondering how "good" he is these days – I mean, films like ROSEMARY'S BABY, REPULSION, CHINATOWN and BITTER MOON are all masterpieces in my view.

I quite liked the film but I must admit it's what I'd call "Polanski lite". It's not up there with his big ones of yesteryear (or rather "yester-decade"). But even so it was a good little thriller. And of course Polanski is Polanski so even "Polanski lite" is good Polanski if you ask me.

I certainly have little understanding for Peter Bradshaw's stance when he basically writes off the film as being nothing but "flat" in The Guardian (link to review). He compares it to the Polanski masterpiece ROSEMARY'S BABY. Dude, everything comes off flat when you compare it to a masterpiece like ROSEMARY'S BABY! It's not a fair comparison. Besides, Polanski is in his mid-80s now and the film is made on a small budget in Europe. Context, please.

Subtitled trailer:




The plot deals with a successful female author – played by Polanski regular Emmanuelle Seigner (an actress that he doesn't have to pay as he's married to her, haha) – and a very persistent female fan (played by Eva Green). Dominique Pinon (from DELICATESSEN) has a small part. I'm not gonna waste any further time going into incisive plot details as nobody reads blogs anymore anyway.

Unfortunately, it seems Roman Polanski's newer films are getting hard to find in the English speaking territories because of the witch-hunt against the director due to things that happened in the 70s. I find it ridiculous that film fans have to pay for something that a film maker did (and should be punished for). BASED ON A TRUE STORY hasn't been released on dvd or blu-ray in any country that has English as its official language. Well, unless English is still  considered an official language in Hong Kong. As I mentioned earlier the film was released on blu-ray in the old British crown colony. As I write this you can still get it from dddhouse. Direct link here. Several of Polanski's films are out on blu-ray (and some of them also on dvd) in HK.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

FEAR CITY (Abel Ferrara, USA 1984)


Tonight's viewing...
Abel Ferrara's FEAR CITY (1984)
When I lived in Melbourne it kinda made an impression on me that Fatal Visions zine interviewed Ferrara and the interviewer (Michael Helms) told him a part of Melbourne was referred to as "Fear City".

The blu-ray contains two versions of the film, the shorter theatrical edit and the fully uncut version. The uncut version, however, is actually a hybrid version of the film, it contains the uncut scenes but uses the last alternative scene from the theatrical print. Very odd (info from dvdcompare). The print looks like it's from the original negative except for the previously cut scenes that look like they are sourced from some kind of video tape. It makes the scenes very obvious.

Trailer #1: 


Trailer #2: