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Oh my. It has been so many years since I saw that preview, but I never forgot it. Three minutes of non-stop violence, no dialog (not that it needs any), the infamous "urinal scene" and all accompanied by a VERY catchy little song about being in love?! Finally I get to see The Executioner, on a Danish-subtitled bootleg of all things (and FYI I guess certain bad words don't translate well into Danish; ha ha) and I'm just blown away. I won't write a "spoiler" of the plot as, to be honest, I don't completely understand it . Not that it matters, I was still very very entertained and find Duke Mitchell completely fascinating. He's gotta be THE sleaziest non-porno person I've EVER seen on screen and was apparently a lounge singer prior to making the film; he contributes some unbelievably schmaltzy tunes to the soundtrack too. Someone, PLEASE dig up the negative or a nice print and release a proper DVD of this classic film! And while you're at it maybe write a biography of Duke Mitchell too!
"The Executioner" (better known by its more exploitive title "Massacre
Mafia Style") is the most jaw dropping and unintentionally hilarious
film I've seen in a long while. Its certainly the most kitschy tale of
the mafia I've seen, with everyone in this film resembling a bad lounge
singer. Auteur Duke Mitchell directed, wrote, produced, starred, and
even composed the especially annoying music to this one, and proved to
be completely inept in all departments. However, its that special Ed
Wood style of incompetency where its obvious the maker had a lot of
enthusiasm in his project, making everything even more over-the-top.
Mitchell strives for the scope of "The Godfather" but has about fifteen
dollars to work with.
There are several memorably campy moments to be found in this film. The opening is a real stunner, one of the most unforgettable opening sequences in film history (for better or worse). Again, its obvious Mitchell was trying to make something of quality, but his incompetence and budget limitations got in the way. Not to mention his hair, which is dyed gray to show aging (rather blatantly also). Also, the dialog is unbelievably politically incorrect and bound to offend most ears. However, psychotronic fans enjoy this kind of talk, and "Massacre Mafia Style" is a true exploitation gem. Now if only Grindhouse would get around to releasing the DVD! (7/10)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A DVD release of this has been promised for a longtime, though old
video releases can still be found (usually under the a.k.a. title The
Executioner) for those who want to see what all the fuss is about. More
than living up to both its name and reputation, Massacre Mafia Style
opens with two tough guys played by Vic Caesar and the film's director
Duke Mitchell electrocuting a wheelchair bound mob boss in a urinal.
Just for the hell of it they also shoot everyone who happens to be in
the same building at the time, and I do mean everyone, office workers,
secretaries, even the cleaners, all of which is scored to a Dean
Martin-like song about being in love.
It transpires that Mitchell's character, nicknamed 'Mimi', is the son of a mob boss who wants revenge on the American Mafia for exiling his old man 16 years earlier. Teaming up with buddy Vic to form "a small army of guts, balls and trust", in order to raise cash they kidnap a mobster and demand a ransom, sending his thumb through the post to show they mean business ("That's Chucky's thumb all right, I've seen it on him a million times"). The pair also make money by shooting porno films on a boat, a subplot that seems to be a sly reference to a certain Italian family's involvement in porno smash hit Deep Throat. To say that Vic n' Duke's exploits are action filled is putting it mildly, they go on to impale a gangster on a meat hook (which comes out of his eye!), crucify a black pimp on Easter Sunday, as well as numerous reprises of the 'Vic and Duke shoot everyone and their barber' opening. A particularly hilarious moment occurs when during a montage of people being gunned down we cut to someone minding their own business reading a newspaper (headline "13 LA Bookmakers and Procurers slain!") who is then also shot, presumably making it 14 LA Bookmakers and Procurers slain.
To give a bit of background on Director/Lead man Mitchell, he had began his career as a singer, Americanizing his real name Dominic Miceli to Duke Mitchell, then teamed up with comedian Sammy Petrillo to form an act that was errr not dissimilar to Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis'. The duo were immortalized on screen in the career end Lugosi vehicle "Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla", though by the time he made Massacre Mafia Style, Mitchell looked less like Dean Martin and instead bears a curious resemblance to the notorious Porn/Broadway actor Zebedy Colt. Mitchell wasn't a bad actor actually, and equally shifty and violent on screen one of the films main strengths is his no nonsense persona. At one point threatening to not only strangle one character's entire family but everyone in the phonebook with the same name. Suffice to say, after seeing the film, you probably wouldn't want to spill Duke Mitchell's drink.
Making up for its lack of professionalism (as well as a sneaky sense of family members/buddies being passed off as cast members), with admirable low budget energy. There are even moments that take Massacre Mafia Style from simply being a blood and guts B-Movie into something more personal. A far more complex character than the 'rise and fall' narrative suggests, Mitchell's Mimi ruthlessly murders his way to the top but seems haunted by disillusionment every step of the way. By the end the pride and respect for the old ways he was brought up to believe in have been eradicated by a sense that contemporary society is sufficiently depraved to render the Mafia antiquated. Especially powerful is Mimi's speech about his mother "What did we give her, We gave her violence. We gave her death. We gave her dishonor!" and the back story about his father's impoverished beginnings in America in which he even lends his own Miceli/Mitchell names to the character. A true labour of love, as they say. Mitchell also made a follow up called Gone with the Pope, which has never been released though a trailer for it has surfaced on the internet. Do try and watch it, given the premise (Duke kidnaps the Pope), a scene where Duke gets it on with massively obese woman, and THAT opening line of the trailer its looks as if may even outdo Massacre Mafia Style for outrageousness.
A Sicilian mob hit-man winds up in Hollywood, shooting pimps, hookers,
rivals, and lackeys in one of the most deliriously gonzo grindhouse
epics of the 1970s. Much time is spent on dinner conversation, wherein
gut-busting hilarious dialog is delivered with little motivation(one
memorably clamarous censure involving an old lady's hands is a howler
of awkwardly earnest sentiment). Add to that a heaping helping of very
nasty gun violence, and you've got yourself one totally screwball, and,
despite itself, extremely entertaining schlock film(with a few
genuinely poignant moments).
Spectacularly awful in the all best ways, and presented with out-and-out seriousness, this sacrosanct spectacle is well worth a hunt...capice?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First off, this movie has the greatest opening ever! Its a classic
B-movie and I can't believe it is so neglected by modern audiences.
Duke Mitchell's wrote, directed and starred in this mafia classic. Mitchell is mostly know for his pairing in comedy group where he was the Dean Martinish character. He appeared as this character in the horrible B-film Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla. A must see for those who love films so bad, they're good.
But The Executioner (aka. Massacre Mafia Style) isn't a horrible film that is good. The movie itself is fun. And seems not to take itself too serious. The acting isn't good, but its enjoyable. The clichés are full blown. And ultimately, the story is a tragedy.
The son of a mafia boss (Who was exiled from America) returns to California, to reclaim his family's honor and position in America. he is ruthless and starts wars with reigning mafia, At first planning to gain control of the pimps and pushers. Later getting involved with the porno industry.
Spoiler: I enjoyed the motif of Italian tradition involving the breaking of bread with items in it. Its use at the end, hiding the gun that will kill our hero in the bread, was a great touch. Representing the tradition and tragedy within one family .
i can't wait to see Gone with the Pope. its trailer looks amazing.
"You see these hands? Know what they smell of? Oregano! Pasinigol! Beautiful herbs! They gave you mostaccioli, lasagna, pizza--some of the most appreciated foods in the world! But what did we give her, Chucky, eh? We gave her violence. We gave her death. We gave her dishonor!" So says the hero, actor/writer/director/producer Duke Mitchell of his sainted paisan grandma in MASSACRE MAFIA STYLE, the greatest of all forgotten American grindhouse movies of the nineties. It's almost impossible to evoke the impassioned lunacy of this movie, which suggests a low-low-budget version of GOODFELLAS directed by Sam Fuller after sharing a speedball with Richard Pryor. Let's just say that the movie opens with a paraplegic being electrocuted using a desk lamp and an office urinal; soars ahead to a scene where a black pimp is crucified while the L.A. Philharmonic plays Handel's Messiah at the Hollywood Bowl; and climaxes with the remorseful hero saying, "The Italian wasn't disgraced, Chucky--we disgraced it!" Somewhere, Jade Stallone, son of the great man and proprietor of Grindhouse Releasing, has Duke Mitchell's final masterwork, GONE WITH THE POPE, discovered in Duke's bedroom closet after his demise. Bring on THE POPE! And, God be prasied, some day bring MASSACRE MAFIA STYLE--a bootleg favorite--to the public's eye. Even Master Sam himself never went quite so cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.
Duke Mitchell's THE EXECUTIONER looks like it was shot for fifty bucks over a long weekend. That said, it is still one of the very best American gangster films ever made. Alternately mean-spirited, tragic, poetic and downright hilarious, it pushes the envelope beyond the bounds of acceptability and offers no apologies. This is about as raw and honest as it gets, folks. An absolute must-see.
Just saw this movie and I gotta say it was a pretty fun hour and a half of goomba gore and senseless mafia shananagins. And although it's a little incoherent at times, overall it's not a bad B movie. It's a Grindhouse feature and it's straight out of the "exploitation" genre so its got all the guilty pleasures that you would expect (eg: naked women, Afros, bloody violence and lots of political incorrectness). If you're looking for an Oscar winning mafia film like the "Godfather", "Casino" or "Goodfellas" then "Fah git about it" but if you enjoy movies that inspired writers and directors like Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez to make their own films then you'll dig this one. After all who doesn't enjoy a senselessly violent B movie with questionable acting and naked broads once in a while...I know I do.
Duke Mitchell. Genius? Possibly. Great Actor? No. B-Movie God? Absolutely. This movie has it all. Urinals, desk lamps, crucifixion, pimps, and massive killing sprees. The opening scene pulls you in and makes you want to vomit. Throughout the film are choice lines of dialogue like, "Anyone can carry this piece. It takes a man to use it," "Hey Mimi. long time no see," "Cut another slice," and "Makin' these jive-ass superhuman movies, super human this, super human that" voiced by people who are clearly not actors. Maybe robots, but not actors. The score is composed by the Duke himself, who also directed, produced, and starred in this masterpiece. In conclusion, this is the best movie anyone will ever see in his or her life and it is a pity that the only way to get it is in bootleg form. Hopefully, someone will release it on DVD so I can watch Duke Mitchell and his buddy Vic Caesar in all their glory.
The Executioner is quite possibly the greatest film to be put out in the last 100 years. In my opinion, it should be mandatory viewing for every person in the world. This movie tour-de-force was directed, produced, and starring Duke Mitchell. It's a pity that their are no more geniuses in Hollywood with minds like Duke's.
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