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:


Tuesday, April 7, 2020

STACEY (Andy Sidaris, USA 1973)

Anne Randall as Stacey

Andy Sidaris' films are being released on bluray which is cool. However, if you ask me I'll tell you his best film is STACEY from 1973. And unfortunately, it's a films which not only isn't on dvd but it most likely won't be on bluray any day soon! Needless to say, this is due to the usual copyright nonsense. I've got an old ex-rental vhs release of the film (and I put it on the cover of STAY SICK! zine in 2003!). It goes without saying, the full film is on YouTube. I think it was one of the reviewers of Moshable zine who once wrote, "it's like a blaxploitation film just with white actors", haha. Too right! You should watch it – and you don't even have to look very hard to find it as I'm posting both the full film and the trailer down below. Oh, and Anitra Ford is in it!


FULL FILM:




TRAILER:

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Late nite screening at Cinema J


Last night's double bill: '70s Blaxploitation gold and '80s wild black magic Taiwan horror!!!

TROUBLE MAN (1972) is a perfect film in my book. I love SHAFT but TROUBLE MAN is BETTER than SHAFT!

THE DEVIL (1981) before I got this brand new bluray I owned a dvd bootleg and also the original Japanese VHS but although I really like the film I hate the shitty dubbing. Finally – FINALLY – the film is available in its original Mandarin version. It makes all the difference. The new bluray is almost a schizophrenic experience; The hi-res bluray is off a real 35mm – no beta master or VHS master!!! – but at the same time it's off a MOULDY 35mm print. It looks awesome and it looks terrible. Personally I loved it.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

CANNIBAL MERCENARY 2 (Thailand, 1989) - now on YouTube!!!

Original Thai English title: EMPLOY FOR DIE 2



I posted about this sequel years ago and eventually I got hold of the film on a video-cd from Thailand. Now somebody has actually uploaded the full film to YouTube. And they have even corrected the 4:3 fullscreen format from the VCD to letterbox. The picture looks alright.

Cannibal Mercenary 2 - video-cd (Thailand)
The film is in Thai with no subtitles. The running time is approx. 78 minutes. The first CANNIBAL MERCENARY is truly a wild and gory film and it's fun to finally be able to watch the sequel.

But let me say it right away: Don't expect the same level of insane and gory craziness! You'll be mighty disappointed. The first half of the film drags. The second half is somewhat better but it never touches the first film.

As far as I'm aware this version from Thai VCD is the only official release worldwide. Somebody put the film out as a bootleg in the USA but it's directly ported over from a VCD and they didn't bother to subtitle the film so you would be no better off getting the boot than downloading this upload.

The picture quality of the upload is only 360p but maybe that actually equals the quality of the VCD.

IMDb entry. 

Thai poster for Cannibal Mercenary 2

Friday, March 27, 2020

Severin to release the original PENGABDI SETAN (1980) on blu-ray!!!!!


On may 26 Severin are going to release Sisworo Gautama Putra's PENGABDI SETAN aka SATAN'S SLAVE on blu-ray in the USA. This is indeed fantastic news!!!

In English the film is known as SATAN'S SLAVE - not to be confused with a UK film by the same title. And not to be confused with the Indonesian remake of the same title from 2017 either! The original film is from 1980.

The ONLY English friendly release of the original 1980 film so far – worldwide – is the old long gone Brentwood bootleg DVD which was sourced from the old - also very rare – Japanese VHS tape. The tape is letterboxed and the bootleg DVD has English subtitles in the black bar.

But now... we get a blu-ray!!!!! (yes, an unheard-of number of exclamation marks – and it's indeed called for!) This is indeed great news (yes, I said that already and I'll say it sagain so you'll understand this is indeed a great piece of news!). You can preorder here.

Indonesian poster for SATAN'S SLAVE

I haven't watched the film for a long time but I remember it as being a cool watch. It's not a masterpiece by any means. However, it it's a cool worldweird horror film from a country that we don't see too many horror films from in the West.

It's a film that Jared Auner certainly would have written about on his old Worldweird Cinema blog a long time ago. Jared's last post on his blog was 9 years ago, it was partly about the (very cool) video label Mondo Macabro, and incidentally he is now with that very same label! A label that has given us quite a few cool films from worldweird territories. Hopefully, we'll see more films like that from MM and Severin.

I highly recommend you preorder/buy PENGABDI SETAN and convince the label to put more money into releases of this sort.

I'm not too fond of the cover for the upcoming release, the old Malaysian VCD cover (also used for the Japanese VHS) looks heaps better but, hey, it's just a cover. The most important thing is we get the film! xD

SPECS FOR THE UPCOMING BLU-RAY:

Disc Specs:
*Brand new scan from the original negative in Jarkarta
*Indonesian mono audio (with English subtitles)

  • Satan’s Box Office: Interview with Producer Gope T. Samtani
  • Indonesian Atmosphere: Interview with Screenwriter Imam Tantowi
  • Satan’s Slave Obsession: Audio Interview with Remake Director Joko Anwar

 
Video-cd from Malaysia (front)
VCD from Malaysia (back of cover)
VHS release from Japan (Indonesian language with Japanese subtitles in the black bar).
This version was used for Brentwood's bootleg DVD (they call
it public domain in the USA but we all know that's bullshit – it's a bootleg)