Tuesday, June 9, 2020
Saturday, June 6, 2020
DAUGHTERS OF SATAN
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).
Wednesday, June 3, 2020
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
Monday, May 25, 2020
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
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
|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.
|Flipside of blu-ray slipcase|
Saturday, May 16, 2020
I recently posted about a Greta Thyssen interview that never took place (see post here). And I quoted from an interview that did take place. Unfortunately, the interview didn't talk much about Greta's role in Filipino films (hence her being of interest to this blog dedicated to obscure cinema). The bit about her role in TERROR IS A MAN was all I quoted. I did post a link to the full interview, but come to think of it, everything has a tendency of disappearing from Cyberspace, and 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
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).
At the time of posting this, the original interview is still online here /Jack
Tuesday, May 5, 2020
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.
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
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.
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
|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!
Thursday, April 2, 2020
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
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)|
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.
|Thai poster for Cannibal Mercenary 2|
Friday, March 27, 2020
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:
*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)
Thursday, March 26, 2020
About a year ago I posted the trailer for Andrew Leavold's documentary film THE LAST PINOY ACTION KING. Now Andrew has uploaded the full doc to YouTube - for one week!
It's a quite different type documentary to his THE SEARCH FOR WENG WENG in that Andrew Leavold takes a step back. Whereas he was a huge part of SEARCH on screen you don't see him at all in ACTION KING.
On the surface the film is about the Filipino action film star Rudy Fernandez but it's also about the Filipino film industry – and it's about the Philippines!
If you have an open mind for worldweird cinema (why wouldn't you!) I highly recommend this film. Go watch it before it's gone. Andrew tells me he has no idea if we'll ever see a DVD release of his film.
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
I got three issues of "Shock Cinema" from Fab Press (UK) today. The zine has been going for 30 years now! Big congrats to editor Steven Puchalski. I wish "Psychotronic Video" had kept at it as well. If there's one zine that I miss it's Psychotronic Video! (and Damon Foster's Oriental Cinema!).
Also, I got the first dvd in what I believe was supposed to become a series of dvd releases from Scream Factory: TV TERRORS! i.e. telly horror/thriller/fright flicks from 1970s American TV: THE INITIATION OF SARAH (1978) and ARE YOU IN THE HOUSE ALONE (1978).
TION and I was entertained. No blood, gore or rude words but good acting and a cool little thriller. In his book "Television Fright Films of the 1970s" David Deal uses adjectives such as: pitiable, shameless, inept, half-hearted. Oh well, I beg to differ.
I alredy own ARE YOU IN THE HOUSE ALONE on a sell-thru VHS, and actually I reviewed it for a fanzine called "Ultimo Mondo Franko" 16-17 years ago. But it's nice to get an upgrade. I think I liked the film back then but I don't actually remember what I wrote, nor do I know where said zine is hiding in the piles of magazines scattered around this big mansion of mine that I live in (i.e. the shoebox sized flat that I fester in).
I wish more of these TV horror films would get released but I guess people just aren't interested (hence the series being cancelled). Quite a few of them are on youtube but I'd love to see them in a better picture quality (this dvd presents the two films in a quality that is as good as it's probably going to get I reckon).
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
I found this wee telly documentary about teenage punks and their loving (!) parents. You should watch it – even if you're not a punk ... or a teen. Or a parent.
Lee Ving of FEAR is in the doc briefly.
Original YouTube info:
"I think LA's KABC won some award with this short documentary on how punk rock is destroying families -- somehow missing the point that family dysfunction is the culprit, not Lee Ving. Nice shots of a Fear concert. This ran as a week-long 5-part special report on the KABC-TV news, and then ran alone late one night as an expanded special."
NB: The original uploader divided the film into three parts. I put them back together!
Sunday, March 8, 2020
I bought SATAN'S CHILDREN (Joe Wiezycki, USA, 1975) on DVD a long time ago. The DVD came out from Something Weird Video and now they've rereleased the film on a spiffy blu-ray! It's a coproduction with AGFA. I got the new release the other day and watched it right away. A very cool upgrade! A long time ago someone on dvdmaniacs forum said they needed a shower after each viewing of the film. I get that! SATAN'S CHILDREN is sick, sick, sick. Not overly gory (or gory at all) but the tone of the entire film is just dirty! And sick. If you're into exploitation films this is highly recommended. The second film on the blu-ray is SATANIS - THE DEVIL'S MASS which I haven't watched yet.
Check out Shock Cinema's review here.
Fan made trailer (at least it *looks* crude enough to be fan made!):
Friday, February 21, 2020
Original Italian title: La Sporca Insegna del Coraggio
aka: Savage Attack
Directed by: Tonino Valerii
Story and screenplay: Roberto Leoni
Cast: Bo Svenson, Carlo Mucari, Peter Hooten (Peteer Hooten in the Italian language credits), Werner Pochat, Nat Kelly Cole, Franklin Dominguez, Juan Jose' Caballos, Martin Balsam
|Ex-rental VHS (Denmark)|
Last night, I went to YouTube to try and relocated some of the trailers that had gone missing from my other site. One of the trailers was for Tonino Valerii's Italian Vietnam War flick BROTHERS IN BLOOD.
I discovered that not only had someone uploaded the full film to YouTube as well as the trailer. But two different channels had uploaded the full film; One version was the Italian dubbed version, and the other was the English dubbed version. Usually that doesn't mean much of a difference apart from the language, obviously. However, I noticed that the Italian version clocks in at 1:29:15 while the English dubbed version runs a mere 1:17:02. That's a difference of 12 minutes!!!
I decided to watch both versions simultaneously, side by side on my computer. No, not the best way to enjoy a wild 'n' trashy Filipino war flick but, hey, I'm a professional! (I kill me, hahaha).
As soon as I pressed "play" I discovered something else very odd: The Italian dubbed version has the on-screen intro text in English while the English dubbed version has the intro text in Italian!!!
This isn't a review so I won't talk too much about the plot but the film kicks off during the last days of the Vietnam War. A group of soldiers are trying to escape from a large group of Viet Cong soldiers and to make it to a helicopter. Most of the American soldiers make it but one guy is wounded and while he's lying on the ground crying for help the chopper takes off leaving him behind. 12 years later he's still royal pissed off about it.
The first few minutes made it obvious to me that the 12 min. difference probably wasn't just a matter of a few gory scenes that had been cut for the shorter version. No, the entire escape scene was edited differently in the two versions. Even bits and pieces of different footage is used. When the 5 minute intro is over the scene changes to Bo Svenson's present day life in New York many years later. And from then on I gave up trying to keep track of the differences between the two versions!
All throughout the film, scenes are edited slightly differently and the short version keeps cutting frames out; For instance, a man walks along a wall, in the short version he walks two metres less than in the longer version. And it takes longer for him to get around a corner. And a conversation takes longer. It's very odd. All throughout the film. I mean this isn't just a matter of a video label cutting their version because they felt the film was too long. There are different edits everywhere as well.
I pulled out my old Danish ex-rental VHS of the film and fast-forwarded the tape. It runs 89 minutes (and uses an English dubbed/English intro text version. Go figure).
Then I remembered that there's a new German blu-ray release of the film (actually I'd totally forgotten about this release so I ordered it right away, see my next post). The online info about the new blu-ray states it clocks in at the 93 minute mark.
However... I checked with IMDb and it says... 1 hour 16 min!!! Very, very odd. Why would they do two different edits of the film with different running times. As I said we're not talking missing scenes of violence or nudity (there's no nudity in either version). And it's not a matter of two versions running at different speed.
The short version has a German classification sign before the film starts so I assume it's from a German DVD (a VHS would be dubbed into German). The picture is clearly more dark than the Italian language print. Despite missing 12 minutes of bits and pieces, and frames here and there, the short version didn't feel too short or that important plot details were missing.
I'll post both version down below in case you wish to check out one of the versions (or both) + the trailer.
Italian dubbed version (approx 89 min)
English dubbed version (approx 77 min)
Saturday, January 18, 2020
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.
BAMBOO GODS AND IRON MEN
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.