Wednesday, February 21, 2018

MÄDCHEN MIT GEWALT (Roger Fritz, West Germany, 1970)


A great night in front of German television for sure! Tonight, a local German tv station (WDR) screened Roger Fritz' MÄDCHEN MIT GEWALT for the first time ever. Made in 1970 but considered so crass it's NEVER been screened on tv before. Tonight was its tv debut. 48 years after its cinematic premiere. WDR is screening two new (from 2016 and '17) cinema docs about West German genre films from the 70s ("Verfluchte Liebe Deutscher Film" and "Offene Wunde Deutsche Filme") and some of the genre films mentioned in the docs are screened as well during the next two weeks. Last night they ran Klaus Lemke's "Brandstifter" (1969) and next week they're showing stuff like Wolfgang Petersen's "Smog" (1973). 


 It was mentioned in the one of the docs that Sam Peckinpah ordered a screening of "Mädchen mit Gewalt" before he made "Straw Dogs". "Mädchen mit Gewalt" is a rape drama that takes place in the duration of just one day. Sometimes these films are mere wank fantasises but this one was great. Great acting, great dialogue, crude, violent, and yet no cartoon characters. And the ending is nowhere to be found in a Hollywood film. 

Subkulture Entertainment in Germany has put it out on an English subbed dvd (no idea how good the subs are though, I hear their "Blutiger Freitag" aka "Bloody Friday" subs sucked ass).

EDIT: Jared Auner of Mondo Macabro and Worldweird blog just told me he's going to do the English subs for upcoming releases from Subkulture Entertainment. Very cool news indeed!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Richard Kern, Lung Leg, Dave K, zines from last year and yesteryear



Recently, I received David K's (sometimes Dave K) oneshot fanzine from last year, Fiendish. Thanks, David (and thanks for the mention). David does the A Fiend on Film channel on YouTube. Cool stuff, check it out, paesano! Last night I read his article on the complete blu-ray release of Richard Kern's 1980s underground films from New York entitled "Hardcore". Good stuff.

I watched some of Kern's stuff via 4th or 5th generation VHS dupes back in the 90s and always dreamed of having lived in NY in the 80s - and to have hung out with the likes of Lydia Lunch, haha. (don't mention it, no, I'm sure it wasn't as cool to actually have been there as it is to watch the flicks). Funnily enough, David mentions that if he'd seen Lung Leg (from Kern's films) back then he would probably have fallen in love. I can understand why. Fucked up and yet so attractive. The irony is whereas I wished I'd been in NY in the dark and gloomy 1980s David K was actually there ... and missed the whole thing. Well, the Richard Kern underground thing that is. Oh well, that's how life goes sometimes. In regards to Lung Leg here's something I don't think I've ever mentioned on this blog or elsewhere;

I published my first fanzine in 1994, Banned in Britain #1.  Then at some stage in the latter part of said decade I received an e-mail from someone in the States. I forget his name. My zine was distributed by people in the UK, Norway (Thomas Eikrem's Rage distro), and Denmark. But never in the US. But even so by the end of the 90s he'd gotten hold of a copy of that long gone debut issue, and he sent me an article about Lung Leg. By that time she had completely disappeared off the face of the Earth. Or at least disappeared from the New York underground scene and the people who monitored it.

It was a well written article. And that was about it. I never heard from him again. I was slow at getting my arse in gear and putting out the next issue of Banned in Britain. Didn't happen till 2004 and by then I'd completely forgotten about the article. A couple of years back I remembered it and did a Google search and found out that not only had Lung Leg returned from whatever dark, damp, dank hideout she'd been holed up in, but she'd even been in some new horor flick. Well, as The Cramps might or might not have said; that's the way the flop mops sometimes. 
 

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Scala Cinema Club - THE BOOK!!!

Yours truly with one of my original
programmes from the Scala Cinema Club
The legendary SCALA CINEMA CLUB in London existed for 15 years (1978-93). Out of those 15 I was a regular for three years (1988-90) and what can I say. It was the best of times and it was the worst of times. I had wonderful all-nighters at the Scala but I also had crappy work at bloody 8 in the morning on Sunday mornings for a full year, haha. I miss the Scala. I'm sure other regulars do too.
My entire collection of original Scala Cinema programme posters - zept for one!
The good people at Fab Press (genre book publishing house run by the old fanzine editor Harvey Fenton) are gonna publish the most fab book in the history of publishing. This is what Gutenberg invented the book format for. Well, that is... if enough people wish to support the book! It's a crowd funding project. 

Check out the video (at the bottom of this post) and their funding page (here) that has more info that I could be arsed to repeat here. I'm gonna be in on this. I couldn't care less for tote bags or badges etc etc so I'll go for the cheap edition.
The back of the posters have info and brief plot descriptions of the films
But still. 400 pages and reprints of ALL programme posters. Wauw! (I've still got 10 of the from back then). Long live the Scala Cinema Club (even if they've been gone for 25 yrs by now!).


FAB Scala Crowdfunding Video from NucleusFilms on Vimeo.

Today's writing tip


If you wish to write successfully it's a brill idea to be in the vicinity of:

 1) Strong coffee
 and
 2) A guy called James.

 In fact, get two James while you're at it!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Puffy #5 out now

It's 2 in the morning. I've just emptied my mailbox and found the new issue of the way cool Swedish flick zine, PUFFY!!

Puffy is totally old-skool; 32 A5 pages all about trashy flicks, some punk and a feature on speedway. Yes, speedway! Editor Magnus Jansson lööves Bigfoot movies, aeroplane crash movies, insect movies, what have you B-movies, etc.

This issue has an interview with author Thomas Block (who writes airplane crash novels, or some such) and the Mexican punk band REPTOIDES. There's articles about Tubby Hayes and Philippe Garrel.

And there's coverage of the, uh, speedway scene this summer. I think there's even a review of a bloody speedway film! Awesome, haha. And did I forget to mention there's a hefty book review section and a ton of film reviews.

The layout is old-skool but NOT bloody retro. Magnus simply is old-skool! No fucking 12 point font here, cabron. No huge blank spaces (i.e. waste of space that could contain another three reviews).

Up until now print runs have been a 100 but with this issue Magnus has spat out a whopping 150 copies! Get yer copy today, paesano.

Contact: skimmel7@bredband.net

PS: Puffy is written entirely in Swedish!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

AFGANISTAN - THE LAST WAR BUS (Italy 1989)

Ex-rental VHS / Norway / English dub / Norwegian subs / cut status?
Hi res scan courtesy of VHS Wasteland

aka WARBUS 2 / WARBUS II / THE LAST WARBUS / WAR BUS COMMANDO / AFGHANISTAN CONNECTION 

Directed by: Pierluigi Ciriaci (as Frank Valenti)
Note: the Danish VHS cover clearly lists "Ted Kaplan" (aka Ferdinando Baldi) as the director on the front of the cover but this is clearly not right.

Cast (from the print): Mark Gregory, John Vernon, Svina Gersak, Antony Freeman, Bobby Rhodes, Branko Djuric





Yesterday, Don Gordon Bell commented on my post about the original film WAR BUS that Ferdinando Baldi directed (as "Ted Kaplan") in the Philippines in '85 and that Don starred in. WAR BUS is good fun and very entertaining. I knew I'd had a Danish sell-thru VHS tape of a film that the cover calls "Warbus 2" sitting on my shelf for a really long time. And since I'm going to update my 9 year old post about the original film anyway, I figured it was as good a time as any to watch this sequel. Or rather the film that my Danish video tape sold off as a sequel to Baldi's original film anyway. Hell, the blogs I checked out before watching the film also refer to it as somewhat of a sequel, either in retitle or as an unofficial follow-up. After having watched the film I think I can tell you with 100% ... no, change that to 300% ... certainty that this is a sequel in distribution retitle only! Haha.


The good people over at Blood Brothers Reviews blog state in their review that the film was released in Italy as "Warbus 2". But I've checked various Italian web sites and it seems the film was actually released in Italy under the English language title of AFGANISTAN - THE LAST WAR BUS. The onscreen title on my VHS also carries this title (notice it does spell Afganistan without a H). However, the Italian sites also include "L'ultimo bus di guerra" in brackets after the title. I reckon this is just a translation by the Italian sites (and maybe even provided the film studio) to explain to non English speaking Italians what the title means. The fact that the IMDb also includes this Italian translated title as though it's part of the title doesn't mean much to me. It's just a translation of the title, not actually part of the title. I think most of you have figured out by now that the bloody IMDb is as reliable as a wet piece of spaghetti for bungee jumping. They also call it an Italian/American coproduction for crying out loud, simply because there's an American (John Vernon) in the film.

Mark Gregory plays Johnny Hondo, a Green Beret who's sent to outskirt places to rescue American prisoners of what ever local conflict they've gotten themselves into. He's just returned to the US after one such mission (that kicked off the film so we had something to look at while the intro credits ran). Upon his arrival home he's told his dad is in hospital. On his death bed Johnny's father, a high ranking US soldier, tells his son that soon he'll be asked to go on a mission and that it's an impossible mission. In other words, Papa Hondo tells his son to commit suicide just in order to save Hondo Senior's reputation. Great dad, huh!

Anyhoo, Johnny hooks up with the army guy who's played by John Vernon and he informs Johnny that 9 years earlier his father was in Afghanistan when the Russians invaded the country and things began to heat up. Hondo Sr. got hold of some mucho importanto papers that the American government would like to get their hands on. But he had to leave them behind, hidden in ... a school bus. Now it's Hondo Jnr.'s job to go in, get the papers, and get out again.

The rest of the film is said trip to downtown war torn Afghanistan. Somewhere along the line Johnny Hondo befriends a local teenager and saves two American POW's. They find the school bus and although it's a slow moving motherfucker they decide to use it to transport them back to civilisation. And nothing can stop this old heap of junk; not Russian army helicopters, tanks, machine guns, bazookas, fire, hand-grenades, foul language, nothing!!! One of the two POW's is played by Bobby Rhodes who you'll recognised if you're into horror films; he was the black pimp in Lamberto Bava's DEMONS!


AFGANISTAN - THE LAST WAR BUS is written off by most blogs as pretty shitty. The three reviews on IMDb all write it off as drek as well. And no, it's not great by anybody's standards but I must admit I was entertained (but then again I'm entertained by poking sleeping dogs with a stick). Most of the problem is basically ... Mark Gregory. He's got as much personality as the tin of chopped tomatoes that I'm going to use for my dinner tonight. He would have been perfect as cyborg in Italian post-apocalypse movies. Mark Gregory makes Steven Seagal look like Robert de Niro. But even so, he's actually been in quite a few cool Italian genre flicks; 1990: THE BRONX WARRIORS, ESCAPE FROM THE BRONX, THUNDER 1-3 (aka Thunder Warrior 1-3), JUST A DAMNED SOLDIER, DELTA FORCE COMMANDO, TEN ZAN - ULTIMATE MISSION.

Also, another problem is they dubbed John Vernon. Vernon has that there special voice of his - and they fucking dubbed him. What were they thinking! The best actor in the film is actually Bobby Rhodes. In addition to DEMONS and DEMONS 2 he has been in heaps of Italian genre movies and he's still working in the business.

The plot was most likely written on the back of a matchstick box and they couldn't read half of it cos the box caught fire. This film isn't gonna be on anybody's favourite film list anywhere in the world. Even some kid who's only got this one tape in his collection and who lives on a deserted island isn't gonna hold it as his fave film. I'm not exaggerating. Earlier I talked about how it's not a sequel but if you must count it as a sequel to WAR BUS it actually becomes even worse because the first film is a masterpiece in comparison. The reviewer on Blood Brothers Review blog pointed out that AFGANISTAN - THE LAST WAR BUS was one of the very last Italian "Macaroni Combat" films and yeah you can sorta see how this RAMBO rip-off genre had run its course by the end of the 80s. It had a good run though. Unfortunately, the only place Warbus 2 is going to be remembered as a classic is in Bizarro World.



Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Torpedo 1936 ... 36 years later!!!


Woah!!! I mean ... WOAH!!! I would never ... as in never ... have thought Sanchez Abuli would bring back Luca Torelli and Torpedo 1936. But he just did. Except ... he placed his Italian-American hitman 36 years into the future - making it 1972!!! 

The thought of this is beyond awesome. Although I'm not a member of any Luca Torelli fan club or get newsletters I must admit I've been a big fan of the series ever since it was first published on these shores that I squat on - that was back in 1983! I even had Luca Torelli on the cover of my flick fanzine in the early 2000s.

The new album (or "graphic novel" if you must use the American term) has just been released in Spain and there's Italian, German and Danish releases scheduled. No word on an English translated edition as of yet as far as I know. The German edition will be out in October. I haven't got release dates for the other two.

The few full pages that I've seen (check this link to an awesome Torpedo 1936 blog) look good but unfortunately Torpedo is no longer drawn by Jordi Bernet (apparently due to a court case but I don't know too much about this as the wee bits of info that I've been able to dig out via Google translate come out nonsensical).

Oh, and if you're in Denmark you might like to know the complete 700+ page intégrale edition of the original 1936 version that came out in Spain is gonna get a translated release on these shores as well. No release date yet. From Faraos Cigarer publishing. Info here (in Dutch or whatever it is they speak here)


Torpedo 1936 on the cover of my zine STAY SICK! in 2003


Monday, July 10, 2017

THE SNAKE QUEEN - composite print on ultra limited DVD

I've just finished watching my new THE SNAKE QUEEN dvd. It's limited to 20 copies!!! (pressed, not dvd-r). I own the Greek vhs version but this one is pretty cool; it's a fan composite that mixes the Greek vhs and the Indonesian versions (off an Indonesian Betamax tape and an Indonesian VCD). Both Indo versions contain alternative edits of the film. We all thought the Greek tape was uncut but, nope, it's missing quite a few scenes. No violence or gore, but still. The Indo bits are subbed in English.
The film is awesome. Made in Indonesia in 1982 and stars Suzzanna, Barry Prima, George Rudy and some more familiar faces. Needless to say, like 99% of all old Indo flicks it's never been released on dvd. You can read about it in Pete Tombs' "Mondo Macabro" book.





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 35 or 16 mm.