Thursday, September 30, 2010


This movie has been unjustly dealt a black eye by spaghetti-sleaze lovers who were perhaps expecting something with a bit more bite from director Jose Ramon Larraz. No, there are no Satanic orgies here. And nope, no vampire rug munchers either. Instead, Larraz manages the odd feat of delivering a strangely classy slasher film. Sadly, "Edge of the Axe" has been castigated simply because its director veered into unique territory. Perhaps this is why Jose directed the movie under an alias.

"Edge of the Axe" was seemingly engineered under the keen understanding of what makes movies like this so terrible, and it manages to avoid most of the pitfalls that sink slashers. When films of this nature hit a popular streak, many douchebags took a hand in turning a quick buck with the formula. Most of them did it without panache or finesse, or even a real appreciation for these sorts of films. Unfortunately, when they’re concocted more for the profit than for the sake of the art itself, you usually wind up with some shitty McDonalds caliber movie in the end; a cinematic equivalent of the cheap-ass bun full of dyed meal worm that vanquishes hunger by making you kind of sick. A glut of underwhelming entries ultimately turned people off when it came to shelling out money for this stuff. So, the sub-genre sunk and the shitty majority elevated some films that weren’t so good by comparison.

Characterization went out the window in the late wave slasher stuff, because I guess it required effort or talent. Instead of actual characters we got dead meat; cardboard cut-outs who were obviously born to get chopped up. I ain't gonna lie: violence is my mana, but it’s so much more gratifying when you have some remote investment in the character that's about to get fucking destroyed. A sense of wonder as to who will survive and who won’t heightens the experience. A bad slasher film completely does away with peril by giving you mundane characters that you don’t like, or care about. By that point, you’re basically just cheering the lion on as it mauls the Christian, and there’s something very disturbing to me about reveling in pointless violence. To put it simply, violence without purpose sucks.

This film actually gives you some rather likable characters which are complimented by some competent performances by a solid cast. There’s also a whodunit element, which ads a spike of tension to the story. Foremost, the film also looks gorgeous. I’ve had shit lobbed at my head for saying this, but I have never been a huge fan of Dario Argento’s movies. I can respect the director and appreciate his movies for their mood and music, but the acting and effects are usually garbage, and at times the stories teeter on the brink of utter nonsense. The real savior of his films is usually the director of photography. I can usually forgive a piece of shit like "Inferno" because, fuck, I might not know what is going on, but at least it looks really beautiful. Larraz’ "Edge of the Axe" has less to forgive, so its shit-hot photography goes a lot further. While this is an obvious low budget affair, much attention was put into the details. The script is solid, the actors are decent, the scenery is awesome, and it’s shot beautifully.

Fucking ART, man!

There’s an obvious Agatha Christie influence in terms of how the story unfolds, and that’s probably another reason why this film works so well. Guys like Bob Clark and John Carpenter may have lifted their subjects from morbid headlines, but they told their stories under the influence of Hitchcock. After "Halloween" and "Black Christmas" hit, though, people were directly copying those movies. So, you wind up with a carbon copy of a carbon copy, executed without knowing much about the well their influences drew from. The fingerprint ridges degrade into an unintelligible smudge, and you lose all the nuances of Hitchcock that make the movies that are being ripped off good.

I will admit that the story is run-of-the-mill, with a masked killer bumping off town’s people with an axe, but originality is overrated anyway. I don’t give a shit about who did it first. I care about who did it BEST. And Larraz did a hell of a job here. It’s not "Vampyres," but that doesn’t make it bad. This is a good, fun film in its own right. See it.

* Anybody know what year this movie was made? I'd be grateful for the information.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Apocalypse-primed badass Trash returns in this sequel to “1990: The Bronx Warriors,” to defend his borough from a silver suited death squad lead by Henry Silva.

The back of the box states, “General Buildings – an imperialistic mega-corporation – is proceeding with its sinister plan to rebuild the doomed no-man’s land into a perfect, ordered metropolis.” I don't know about you, but I don't see what the big deal is. The only "unfortunate" thing is that the displaced denizens of this burnt out shit hole are simply being executed instead of relocated to New Mexico as promised. Once again, I don't see what the big deal is. I'd rather take a bullet to the head than move to New Mexico myself.

"Escape From The Bronx" begins with the hostile elimination of Bronx scum, and when Trash once again eludes the heavies, they dispatch a squadron to blow torch his parents. At the same time, a meddling female reporter crashes a General Buildings press conference where they have unveiled a small scale model of the future Bronx. After being forcibly ejected from the room for revealing GB’s genocidal practices, the reporter decides she must expose the truth about what's really happening to the Bronx survivors with some first hand reporting. So, she heads into the bowels of the wasteland, where she joins up with Trash in the midst of a heavy turf battle. Soon, they hook up with some militant nutjob and execute a plot to kidnap the head of General Buildings.

The story takes place ten years after “Bronx Warriors,” which is kind of weird because Trash doesn’t look much older and he’s still living with his parents. I’m sure if someone did a book on post-apocalyptic cinema, it would undoubtedly include both of these films. The future here, though, is more Dystopian. The only part of the world that’s fucked is the Bronx, which is the last hold out of scum in the way of total civilized progress. The plot is pretty flimsy, and the ending is hilariously abrupt, but it’s all a sacrifice in the name of gratuitous violence. Nothing gets in the way of this 100 strong body count! Not even the plot! So many action films strive to legitimize or excuse bloodshed, but this movie is amazing in its flagrantly unapologetic nature, which is why I love it so much.

Check out this promo for director Enzo Castellari’s Bronx box set, containing "1990: The Bronx Warriors," “Escape from The Bronx,” and "The New Barbarians." The latter of the three is referred to as part of the trilogy, but it doesn't have anything to do with the Bronx. However, it does have Fred Williamson kicking tons of ass.

Enzo makes no attempt to veil that these movies are derivative of "The Warriors" and "Escape From New York." These aren't rip-offs in any sense, as they are completely self aware attempts to distill the greatest elements from their influences. They imitate with honor and at the same time contain flecks of their own originality. Enzo may be paying homage to Carpenter, but he’s doing it in a way that only he can.

This is the kind of movie that keeps me combing through the annals of Italian trash cinema. Sure, most of it may be imitative of trends in American films, but often times they wound up doing it better than we did. They had hindsight when approaching shit like "The Exorcist." Not only that, but the Italians have a natural tendency to cling to the finest elements of a film and over-inflate them. It's like they don't understand pacing or the concept of the slow burn. Instead, they'll take the cool part and stretch it into an entire film. They beat you over the head with gratuity, which is an art unto itself. That is the national Italian style.

Also, who scores movies better than the Italians? Listen to this:

The performances in this film are great, too. Henry Silva has some memorable scenes as the leader of General Buildings’ death squad, one in particular where he loses his shit because someone has put sugar in his coffee. Antonio Sabato, too, is pretty awesome here as the flamboyant leader of the underworld.

While plowing for links, I ran across a cool little fansite dedicated to the Bronx films. You'll find some awesome interviews with the director. The creator is currently engaged in a hunt to find actor Marc Gregory, who played Trash. Apparently the guy dropped off the planet after his last film back in 1989. Check it out.

Friday, September 10, 2010


A blasphemous follow up to the original cult classic, "Rock 'N' Roll Highschool Forever" is indirectly entertaining and hilarious due to its own failure. Considering that this was written and directed by Deborah Brock, the woman behind the phenomenal, mind-bending "Slumber Party Massacre 2," this should have been a surreal explosion rather than a flat out unstable mess. I kind of wish they’d have gone "Decline 2" here and put WASP or the shitty metal version of T.S.O.L. in the movie. Somehow they wound up trading down from the Ramones to fucking Mojo Nixon. Also, fuck Mojo Nixon. I read all these reviews, which were probably written by a bunch of 38 year old Matt Pinfield looking douchebags who probably regularly drench the mattress in their mother's basement over the first Royal Trux LP, who all say that the Mojo Nixon shit is worth suffering through this movie for. That's like telling a straight man that sitting through an entire gay porn is totally worth it because there's a really awesome eight guy train fisting scene at the end. I mean, really? Mojo Nixon? Come on, Deborah! You’re from Austin! You could have gotten the Butthole Surfers, or the Dicks! But nooooo. Instead, we get this guy.

Boy, I never get tired of that. Corey Feldman is kind of like Poochie the rockin’ dog here, skateboarding and dancing around like Michael Jackson, while hooting like a retard. He pretty much embodies all demographics and winds up appealing to absolutely no one.

Mary Woronov is the only returning alumni from the original film, and for some reason they completely waste the opportunity by placing her in a roll other than Evelyn Togar. It seems to me that if you’re going to make a sequel and you’re fortunate enough to get one of the original cast back, that the logical thing to do would be to place them in the part of a returning character. Way to go, Concorde!


Anybody else think this thing suffers from an incredibly unfortunate title? Every time I see this box my brain shifts into sophomoric gear and I can't help but think it refers to really bad gas.

I have never seen this one, but after viewing the trailer I’ve immediately bumped it up in my cue. Obviously influenced by Sam Raimi’s "Evil Dead" series, "Demon Wind" once again warns us of the dangers of reading dead languages out loud. If you find a book bound in flesh, or someone's scrawled Cimmerian incantations on the wall of your cabin in blood, just leave it alone, people.


The box says it all: “when Satan meets Selleck, the sparks really fly!” Don’t be fooled by the goofball reviews which write this one off as a simple skeleton in good old Tom’s closet, though. It certainly looks dated, which always accounts for a degree of camp, but for the most part it is a fully functional supernatural thriller that evokes an atmosphere of its own. The movie always left me feeling uneasy as a kid, but that might have something to do with the fact that Filipino people give me the fucking creeps.

Here, Tom plays an art historian who runs across an odd painting of a witch burning at some curio shop run by an Asian dude with a devil lock. Tom buys the piece primarily because one of the witches is the spitting image of his wife. When he gets the thing home, the thing starts throwing bad vibes.

I haven’t seen this in well over a decade, but I seem to remember the painting influencing Christina along with several other broads. The women slip in and out of a state of possession and do fucked up stuff, always coming out of it with no recollection of what they’ve done. Ultimately, we sort of get the impression that Christina and the other girls are maybe the reincarnation of the witches in the painting, out to avenge their burning.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


In Boon Collins' 1986 movie, “Abducted,” a woman gets nabbed during her morning jog through the woods by a father-son duo of mountain men in search of a bride. The son, Vern, who has been almost exclusively reared in the savage wild, goes absolutely cuckoo for rapey-puffs when he gets a gander at this taught-legged piece of womanhood. Joe, the father, appropriately played by Dan Haggerty of “Grizzly Adams” fame, is the moral one in the scraggily pack, and keeps his son from test driving those childbearing hips. In fact, Joe attempts to return the girl to where she belongs, but Vern cuts him off at the pass and leaves his poor, old dad for dead. Joe manages to get his shit together before his son can consummate his marriage and Vern gets shoved off a cliff to a rocky death… or so we presume.

I’m easily wrangled into Lifetime Network movies. In fact, there was a period during the 90s when the channel almost felt like it was dedicated to heavily-edited soft core and exploitation movies. Almost everything they showed had something to do with stalkers, pedophilia, drugs, rape, or they had Patty Duke digging up Indian corpses in her back yard. It may have purported to be a network for women by women, but it wasn't operating under the delusion that chicks hate smut. I was introduced to “Abducted” at 1a.m. on the Lifetime following an episode of Unsolved Mysteries. As a teenager, slumber would live or die by the television schedule, and this particular movie actually kept me wide awake until its very conclusion, primarily because the sexual tension between the film’s female protagonist and her horny buck-skin clad captor was surprisingly effective. It's like I usually say, every movie tends to get one or two things right, and "Abducted" definitely evokes a genuine sense of discomfort at certain points.

I’ve seen “Abducted” referred to as an exploitation piece by some, but I personally always thought it felt more like a TV movie shot in Canada. In order for something to qualify as “exploitive,” I think the film maker has to really glorify the subject at hand. There’s no actual rape in this film, only the threat of rape. The female protagonist is never portrayed as a sex object either, even though she is obviously the object of Vern’s primal desires. Basically, there’s nothing sexy about this film. There are probably scads of Hicksploitation flicks that dabble in similar plots packed with tits and hillbilly gangbangs. This barely scratches the surface of how truly horrific a tale like this could have been. It still manages to be compelling without ever getting cheap, for better or worse. However, exploitation it is not, instead fitting snuggly amongst the seedy-but-relatively tame tales of empowered females that Lifetime is usually known to offer.

I’m not sure who put Boon Collins up to making “Abducted II: The Reunion,” but I’m not going to lie about being absolutely ecstatic that it exists. I pretty much eat sequels alive. In fact, in my eyes, no matter how poor the original or follow ups are, a pathetic attempt at creating a franchise with crappy sequels will legitimatize that property in my eyes for some bizarre reason which I cannot fully explain. It probably has something to do with the fact that that I am an obsessive compulsive completist. For instance, you have no fucking idea how violent I feel toward the individual who stole my copy of “Friday the 13th V: A New Beginning.” That movie fucking blows, except for the nudity, but I have a powerful affinity toward the original “Friday the 13th franchise. I accept part 5 in all its crappiness because a) it has Miguel Nunez Jr. of "Return of the Living Dead" fame singing soul music to his girlfriend while he’s on the can with diarrhea, b) it has Shavar "Dudley" Ross from “Diff’rent Strokes,” c) it has awesome titties, and d) it’s one part of a franchise. Every time I walk by that blank spot between “Final Chapter” and “Jason Lives” my right eyelid spasms violently. But I digress…

The strangest thing about the "Abducted II," other than the fact that it even got made, is that it steps out of its predecessor's shadow. It's similar to how "Robocop 2" had a comic bookish vibe of its own. Once again, it's still relatively tame, but there's an obvious attempt at offering up blatant sex appeal. The girls menaced by Vern aren't exactly character driven this time. In fact, we simply get three firm but bouncy girls whose every step and pose borders on sexual innuendo. They're practically slasher movie victims rather than clever heroines. Here’s an example of what I'm talking about. The oddly cast European actress Raquel Bianca plays Vern's choice pick this time out. She bides her time and tries to avoid pissing her captor off, often playing submissive. In the scene below, Raquel decides to check out her new digs after slipping into something a little more comfortable.

Hey, nothing weird or inopportune there. Just, you know, taking an erotic bath in my new cave.

This movie was made EIGHT FUCKING YEARS after the original was made. Why? I have no idea. The first movie leaves no smoldering questions in its wake. But the likelihood of a sequel to the relatively obscure original film should have been nil, which makes the fact that it happened a very special occurrence. I’m not looking a gift horse in the mouth, but when a colt pops out of an elephant’s massive vagina, well, that’s really something to take note of!

Yeah, that’s right, Vern, once again played by Lawrence King-Phillips, survived that insane fall at the conclusion of the original film, and he’s hornier than ever. Meanwhile, Joe has rejoined society, and pops up as a hunting guide for Jan Michael Vincent. Believe me, this turns out better than you could possibly hope for.

You just saw Dan Haggerty and Jan Michael Vincent fist-fighting. That’s up there with witnessing the majesty of two unicorns fucking under a delicate hail of cherry blossoms. And this isn’t even the best part of the movie, my friends. There is much, much more.

A cluster of buxom campers have unwittingly chosen Vern’s raping grounds for a vacation spot, so it’s no surprise when he absconds to the rape cave with one of the girls. The girls attempt to rescue their friend, but they suck, so it’s up to Dan Haggerty to kick his son’s ass once again.

Really, I only have three complaints about this movie. The first is, it could have used lingering nudity. Second, Vern looks way too clean to be a mountain man here. Hill people should always look like they roll around in feces and tree sap. Here, Vern looks kind of like Atreyu, or like he fell into a vat of Prell. He’s just way too well trimmed. Third, King-Phillips turns in a delightfully over the top performance as the depraved Vern. In fact, he is exactly what I imagine what Vern would be if he’d been thrown off a cliff onto a bed of jagged rocks only to survive. Now, that, ladies and gentlemen, is what I call motherfucking acting. You probably noticed I said that was my third complaint, right? Well, the thing is, King-Phillips is great, but there's just not enough of him in this movie. His part is just way to thin, and while he makes the most of his screen time, it leaves you wondering why the fuck they didn't make him a more prominently featured part of the movie. I watched this thing for fucking Vern. I don't care about the chicks in peril, especially if they're not going to get naked. Bottom line, I wanted more Vern.

And remember fellas, the next time a chick tells you that she wants to be friends, just keep in mind what Vern would say.


It was about a month ago when all my troubles began. There I stood, in some formica armored cell which reeked of alcohol and vaguely of shit as well. I struggled to compress my joints and limbs as they nearly tore through the tissue-thin hospital gown the doctor’s had issued me. I didn’t feel much like sitting, so I just stood there with all the horrible scenarios the doctor might return with. Basically, a cocktail of bacteria had “set up camp” in an obscure locale of my body. Tissue had healed over the strain, creating an infection, which had risen to the surface, creating an abscess. I knew going in that day that there was a 50/50 chance that I might need surgery to deal with the situation.

So, there I was, ass hanging out and sucking on a peppermint, hoping it would settle my stomach. My eyes traced the office around me, drifting from the intestinal diagram on the wall, to the to jar of tongue depressors, to a stack of gauze pads, to the Purell pump by the sink, and finally to an oddly shaped manual sitting on a nearby surface. Glaringly yellow, the photo on the cover depicted a hopeful looking husband and wife in mid-discussion with a concerned physician. The title read, “Coping With Breast Cancer.” Suddenly, my problems seemed pretty miniscule.

My fortune as of late seems like it’s been charged with a negative cosmic current. My health had absorbed a sizable chunk of savings, and then, over the course of one week, the tip of my cat’s tail had been chopped off, my refrigerator died, and my house flooded. But still, at least I didn’t have breast cancer. All things eventually pass and restore to their prime condition. Not even physical discomfort seemed like such a big deal after that trip to the doctor. Afterall, it’s like the immortal Patrick Swayze said in the phenomenal American classic, "Road House," “pain don’t hurt.” Sadly, it was the big C got him.

I felt the need to share that since a handful of concerned people out there asked what the cryptic remarks pertaining to my health over the last months were all about. My blogs have also been incredibly sloppy, mainly due to the fact that when I’m writing them I’m nagged by tremendous physical pain. Nothing trounces your awareness of grammatical correctness like an open wound grating on your literal nerves. Anyway, thanks for all the well wishes. I’m still slowly healing, but the good news is that I’ll be totally fine. And please, excuse all my fuck ups during this period.