Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Originally titled "The Jesus Trip," this is perhaps one of the best of its respective sub-genre. The outlandishly scrumptious plot features a drug-muling biker gang on the lamb from an unhinged motorcycle cop who bum a bunch of nuns out by hauling up in their convent. Granted, this is still an exploitation endeavor, but the bikers themselves aren't simply goons for the sake of mayhem and terror. Instead, the gang members feel like actual people you can invest your feelings in, which gives the situations weight and makes the tension actually work. Mindless destruction is fun, but rarely is it so good that it can sustain your attention for an entire feature.

This stars Billy "Green" Bush as the officer hot on the biker's trail. Most probably best remember him as Zipper in the immortal "Electra Glide in Blue." That's actually the primary reason I tracked this one down. Sadly, the only copy I was able to find was put out by ACE Video under the title "Under Hot Leather," with some awful art obviously designed by someone with no tact or familiarity with the actual content of the film.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


The Italians have a luscious history of latching onto popular horror films from the states and turning them into franchise fodder by harnessing the property's name to a landslide of unrelated sequels. Most are familiar with the "Zombie" series, but I guess the Italians also did something similar to Sam Raimi's landmark "Evil Dead," which was released in Italy under the title, "La Casa." Naturally, the sequel was billed as "La Casa 2." However, the "La Casa" franchise continued in Italy with a series of films that had nothing whatsoever to do with Raimi or his original films. The first Italian-produced film in the series, "La Casa 3" was helmed by Umberto Lenzi and is probably better known to English speaking audiences as "Ghosthouse." "La Casa 4" was directed by Fabrizio Laurenti, and is better known in the states as "Witchery." It also stars Linda Blair and David Hasselhoff, and is the only "La Casa" film I have seen outside of the original "Evil Dead" flicks. Recently, I ran across a copy of an Imperial Entertainment release of a film called "Beyond Darkness," also known as "La Casa 5." The box says it was directed by Thomas S. Lennox, but this is not the case. Lennox was an art director on this film, but it was actually directed by Claudio Fragasso, the man who gave us the infamous and beloved "Troll 2." It even stars Michael Stephenson, who played Joshua in "Troll 2." I'd love to pick his brain on this one. I wasn't aware that both Fragasso and Stephenson had worked together on more than one occasion. This actually surprises me considering that Stephenson reflects upon his childhood disappointment after seeing "Troll 2" in his documentary "Best Worst Movie."

"Beyond Darkness," or "La Casa 5," looks like a mashup of various popular supernatural thrillers and tells the story of a priest and his wife who move into a house inhabited by a force that wants their children. I haven't actually seen this yet, but it's going in the watch pile. How bad can it be? It at least has to be entertaining, right?

Check out this crumby clip.


This will always linger in the shadow of "Maniac Cop," and that is to this film's advantage. Otherwise, it might be all but forgotten. The only things these two films have in common is that they are both horror films, and the antagonist is a law officer. The tone and quality of Lustig's "Maniac Cop" is light years beyond "Psycho Cop" though. It's like comparing "Police Academy" to "The Onion Field." They are both animals that walk on four legs, but one is a mammal and the other lays rotten eggs. This isn't a great film, but the makers were definitely self-aware with respect to what KIND of film they were making. This is very obviously intended to be a fun B-movie, and it has its moments. Not great, but adequate. Shockingly, despite my undying hardon for sequels, I have never seen "Psycho Cop 2."


Holy shit, this movie fucking rips eight phone books in half! This is totally must see! This was obviously supposed to piggy-backing on the "Conan, The Barbarian" sensation, and while it completely failed to do so, "The Sword and the Sorcerer" is still a triumph in the realm of entertainment.

I'm usually extremely cautious about films of this nature in much the same way I am always skeptical of post apocalyptic films. Both types of movies tend to rely squarely on their outlandish settings to get over without making much of an effort to give you an outstanding plot. It's kind of like when you bone a really hot girl, and she just sort of lays there instead of doing any work because she knows she's hot and figures that giving you the opportunity is all she should really have to do. That scenario, to me, is pretty much almost every post apocalyptic movie ever made. The dialog sucks, the action sucks, the characters are bland, but hey, you're in the wasteland and I guess we should appreciate that. So yeah, check out these wrecked cars. It's pretty lame. A lot of sword and sorcery movies operate on that same principle. Well, this affair is a rare exception, because it opens big and never stops rolling. Granted, some of it doesn't make sense. In fact, I'm pretty sure it takes advantage of its more confusing aspects to validate incest, which actually makes it even more insane. It has boobs, inappropriate humor, Richard Lynch, and a sword that shoots swords!

This was directed by the god-like Albert Pyun, whom I recently praised in my review for "Kickboxer 4." This is probably his best film on a technical level, and it also happens to be one of his best. It's also probably one of the larger budgets he worked with, and he really makes the most of it. Pyun creates something epic by very ordinary means, and once again creates a testament to his skill as a great director.

Sadly, the end teases a sequel that never came to be.


This slasher spoof has a few good gags, but most of the jokes come in relentless slabs and are oppressively mundane. This is one of those films which credits Alan Smithee (an anagram for The Alias Men) as a director, and while that routinely indicates that something is so howlingly bad that the maker wanted to disown it, this is not the case here. Directed by Michael Ritchie - the man who brought us "The Bad News Bears" - this was a non-union film made during a Hollywood strike. Ritchie used the Smithee moniker so as not to incur the wrath of the guilds.

The trailer represents a fair ratio of funny-to-bullshit. The gag with the phone is great. Otherwise, it's pretty meh, but still it has a charming atmosphere. Worth seeing at least once.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Found this on the shelf at End of an Ear records, here in Austin, Texas. I suspect it might have at one point belonged to the great Zack Carlson. The story itself follows The Baron as he is forced to turn to the Mafia in order to fund his all-black-cast film. Naturally, things get a little hairy for our hero. This clip is fucking incredible.


Often lamented as dull by most horror fans, but then again we're talking about a breed of people who've grown more accustomed to very immediate gratification. The mood piece is an acquired taste, and this Tigon production is brimming with it. Flicks like these are like gloomy days. Just bask and soak it in.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


I first became aware of this film when I was a little kid, and I was at the height of my Universal horror obsession. I would grab virtually any title off the shelf if it had something to do with Frankenstein or Dracula, which lead me to Hammer, and even a lot of weird Japanese shit. I was rarely ever forbade from bringing any title home. I even got away with snagging a lot of erotic vampire shit during that time. However, this was one that did not make it past my mother. I remember seeing the huge Super Video box on the video store shelf as a child. I immediately grabbed it, but when my mom saw it, she told me it was too gory for me. She had apparently seen it as a kid at the old Mayfair theater in Ventura, and remembered it being pretty visceral. In fact, I still remember her describing a scene where Dracula rips the monster's arm off, which apparently traumatized her. Obviously, this was only an exaggeration from her childhood memory, but it only made me want to see it even more.

Years later, I saw this as an Al Adamson fan and loved it. Imagine my joy at finding this copy of the Super Video tape online for only a few measly bucks. The tape is in great shape, too.


Found this in a record shop a few weeks ago, and it looks fucking amazing! Starring Vic Tayback and Frank Gorshin! And the fact that everybody hates it probably means it's actually really good, because people don't know shit! Check out this write up on IMDb by Ed Sutton:
A doctor and a mortician have teamed up to do re-animation experiments on corpses using gangster money loaned for "remodeling." When they can't pay it back, the Mafia guy sends his nephews to work at the funeral home to keep a watch on the debtors, but the nephews end up helping in the search for new bodies, and mayhem ensues when some undesirable types are re-animated.


I have hard time busting Jamaa Fanaka's balls over "Soul Vengeance" (a.k.a. "Welcome Home Brother Charles") because it is a student film after all, but at the same time, the fact that so many people praise it as a great slice of wild-ass Blaxploitation makes it a necessary task. I will go so far as to say it is noteworthy in the landscape of its genre, but otherwise it’s so droning and dull that by the time they reveal the twist that supposedly pays everything off you really don't give a shit. Conceptually, this movie has a lot going for it, but the focus isn't where it should be.

The story follows Charles Murray, a young brother who is nearly castrated by a bigoted cop following a botched drug bust. Charles is sent up the river despite the assault, and he does some time in a penitentiary. It is here that our protagonist supposedly goes through some experimentation which results the mutations of his genitals, which becomes prehensile and can even grow to extraordinary lengths. Once released, Charles has a hard time adjusting and eventually goes on a revenge spree wherein he uses his killer dick to strangle those responsible for putting him away.

I have only seen the Xenon home video version of this movie, and I have read from various others than the original release is quite a bit different, though I have a hard time believing much could be improved here. For starters, the fact that he’s experimented on while in prison is altogether vague. They never really explain their purpose of exactly what was done to Charles. All you really know is that he now has an insanely long dick he can control with the power of his mind. Now, I'm sure some of you are reading this and thinking, "holy shit, that sounds great." And while it DOES in fact sound amazing, the revenge portion of the story is pretty meager. In fact, instead of reveling in the more entertaining aspects of this film, Fanaka decides to focus on Charles' home coming and his relationships. The picture's hook, which humorously explores the myth surrounding black genitals, is limply thrown in the viewer’s lap far too late into the film for them to anything substantial with it. Ultimately, Fanaka falls short of really tapping into the subject's potential.

Once again, I can only speak as someone who’s seen the lamented Xenon version, but the scenes are poorly sequenced. One example of this involves the bigoted cop who cleaves into Charles' manhood. Following his attack on the protagonist, this cop is on a stakeout wherein he discovers that his wife is cheating on him with a black man. He has a breakdown, winds up in a hospital, and later confronts his spouse about her interracial affair. Had this scene occurred much earlier in the story or been presented as a flashback, it would have provided a very clear motive for his hatred toward Charles as a black man. Some stuff could have been exercised completely to help the story flow better, but the sequencing is a huge road block.

Once again, a noteworthy film within its respective genre, but hardly worth your time. Those interested in checking out some of Fanaka's work, check out the "Penitentiary" trilogy instead.


Is there a Kumite'sploitation genre? If not, there ought to be. This looks absolutely smashing, starring David Bradley as a swordsman who enters a Turkish fighting competition, where he must fight his half-Japenese bother, played by Iron Chef America host Mark Dacascos. If that wasn't enough to seal the deal for you, this is also directed by the phenomenal Sam Firstenberg, the man who helmed the first two "American Ninja" films, the amazing "Ninja III: The Domination," "Revenge of the Ninja," "Breakin' 2: Electric Bugaloo," and the sadly underrated Steve James classic "Riverbend."

I can't remember if I have ever mentioned this or not, but I have a long-time hatred toward David Bradley that stretches back to my adolescences. I have spent years avoiding most anything he appeared, but I'm finally starting to get over it. It all goes back to "American Ninja III: Bloodhunt." I am a huge fan of the "American Ninja" series as well as Michael Dudikoff. I used to live in the city of Ventura, which is about 90 miles just north of Los Angeles. We were blessed with several decent theaters in my city, but occasionally something was in such limited releases that if you wanted to go see it, you'd have to drive a few hours out of the way. Such was the case with "AN3." I actually skipped school and drove down to LA with several friends so we could catch the very first showing. I cannot begin to tell you how fucking excited I was to see Dudikoff kick more ass. To me, guys like Dudikoff were not your typical breed of action star. He was several rungs above guys like Stallone and Schwarzenegger. Any muscle head can point and shoot, but it takes a profoundly talented individual to wipe someone off the planet with purely elegant physicality.

Anyway, I remember sitting there with my popcorn, in this sterile little theater. The lights go down, there are a few trailers. As the credits roll I don't really notice that Michael Dudikoff's name is absent. After all, he's the fucking American Ninja, right? Why would I even question his participation. About thirty minutes into the film, my friends and I are very upset. We realize that Dudikoff has been replaced by some wiener with a feathery hairdo. We all leave the theater, which was empty by the way, and march to the manager's office, where we demand our money back. They refused to give us a refund, and I vaguely remember my friends and I overturning several planters in the lobby before we left.

My grudge toward Bradley was only mildly cooled by the fact that they brought Dudikoff back to show him how it's done in "American Ninja 4: The Annihilation." I am well-known for elevating grudge holding to an art form, and this is a pretty good example of my work.

By the way, the box art for this is fucking terrible. It looks like some bonus Tae Bo tape.


This was an odd but welcome Something Weird bonus tape that came in a large horror lot I won on eBay. Directed by Doris Wishman, the godmother of the 1960s nudist craze in exploitation cinema, "Gentleman Prefer Nature Girls" has aged into a tame, campy romp that evokes a fuzzy, nostalgia rather than boners. Stuff like this is great party fodder, particularly for the Shag-obsessed.

Realtor Tom is about to close the deal with some big-shit client when his boss uncovers his dirty little secret: he's a nudist! Tom gets the pink slip and decides to head down to his favorite nudist colony to take his mind off his troubles, where he discovers that the big-shit client is also into being "free." Together, they hatch a plan to expose Tom's ex-employer to the joys of nudism and ultimately get his job back.

Here's the first eight or so minutes of the feature.

Excuses, Excuses...

Been a while, I know, but my absence is not without good purpose. Foremost, since I last posted, a lot of my time has been absorbed by a search for proper accommodations. The townhouse I currently live in just isn't getting it done. Not only has my collection exceeded my den's capacity, but it's like the Pharaoh's curse up in here. Seriously, we have dead rats in the walls, our living room floods whenever it rains, the water smells like hemoglobin when it IS running, and I can't handle the pack of smelly Nigerians who blast disco at 7am while they boil dead monkeys. However, we may have found just the right place to contain the Tower of Fundon, so hopefully within the next few months we should be making a big move.

Plus, I thought it might be a good idea to give the blog a break after the 31 consecutive posts in October. For some reason, the constant posts killed my traffic. I went from a pretty high average to just 5 hits a day for a while. Now that the numbers are back up, I figured it might be safe to return to a regular posting regiment.

Haven't had a ton of expendable income to spend on tapes, and the vampires on eBay seem savvy to the growing popularity of this hobby, so I haven't had the usual volume of stuff coming in. Still, the last four months haven't been bad, with quality prevailing over quantity.