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Kill the hippies !
Released as "Forest of Fear" in the U.K , this little known gem has an undeserved bad reputation. Our action starts with a group of hippies farming our friend "the killer weed" high up in the hills. The Feds are aware of the activities and employ the local crop duster (an alcoholic misogynist (a nice combination)) to go and spray a payload of weed killer on the fields. This is no ordinary weedo thou , its an untested souped up DDT varient that they unleash on the unsuspecting hippies. The crop is sprayed , the hippies run , covered in the dust and vomiting blood , the crop duster stoned on cheap booze gets out of his plane , covered in the dust. And pretty soon the dusters fat wife falls victim , a family in the mountains on a trip and the evil (and now bloodthirsty (as blood is the only thing that can quench their devilish thirst) hippies run amok ! So it has wobbly sets , some we can see the top of, hokey acting , but who cares its an interesting film and a more productive way of spending an afternoon than watching a "Jim Carey" film.
Short Eyes (1977)
Effective but Dated
"Short Eyes" is an interesting film, it has many good points but at the end of the day it suffers from being viewed with the experience of 23 years of other films between the viewer and the production.
Even looking at it based on dramas of the time , it would have been dated then and a moral hodge podge of "hippy" sentiment without the real "streetwise" attitude that it needs and wanted to so much. It even has a dreadful prison "sing-a-long" (only included because Curtis Mayfield leads the scene (otherwise it would not have been shot !) , the song itself is so well produced , and without having a wild track added makes you laugh at the pretentiousness of the scene rather than take it seriously.
Having said that thou , it still has one or two scenes that shock , and I did not expect the ending that we got , and I did like it and would recommend it to everyone , but as long as they understand the time it was from , its a good film but time is not being kind to it.
Forced Entry (1973)
Not a film to be taken lightly
This has to be one of the most brutal films I have seen , regardless of the more well know films along this theme (House by the Edge of The Park , Last House on the Left) , "Forced Entry" by its low production values , obtuse direction that is meant to leave you wondering what the hell went on , and the most bizzare inclusion of hardcore scenes , that were the most unplesant I have seen in years. It stuck out as a little know and heavily derided work. I dont think it could be classed as a "Adult Film" (as in pornography) because you would have to be one sick individual to get aroused watching this. That is where a lot of the contraversy comes from , and I was amazed that it was included in the film , and it would have been better without the hardcore rape scenes. We get the idea of what is going on , but having 8 mins of him forcing a woman to give him oral sex and then cutting her throat (and we do get to see the money shot) , had dubious overtones. But then again the subject matter is not one that should be glossed over , rape is an evil crime and I have never seen it put across so well , if brutally as in this film. So I was in two minds about it, I did like and and thought that it went to places that film makers are rarely brave enough to go , but then on the other hand I could see people taking it the wrong way. But you should make up your own mind and see it .
Velvet Smooth (1976)
She's smoother than Honey (and velvet)
This little known film is worthy of seeking out . So o.k the production values are limited and the walls move when they close doors , but don't yours ? Our heroine is the foxy detective who is trying to find out who is breaking in to a local drug tzars turf , with plot lines skipping all over the place she soon learns not to trust anyone .. why was she hired in the first place..whats the alteria motive of the gang leader. Velvet soon discovers the truth and unleashes a whole can of "whoop ass" on the hapless baddies. Its not the best but its a hell of a lot better than the worst , and our leading lady..whoa !
AT Last !
Finally after a long wait we can see the original version of "Dementia" which was re released two years later as "Daughter of Horror" , cut by two minutes and featured the notoriously bad voice over by the unknown (outside america) Ed McMahon , which was added as the re releasers thought that the public would not understand what was going on , it did the opposite and has unfairly given the film a bad reputation. Since the re release was shown , the film itself has pretty much disappeared and only terrible prints on the 1957 version have been available , giving a brief glimpse of what this film could have been. But now the full version has been released by Kino Films on DVD. The print is stunning (compared to the previously available anything would be preferable), and the restoration of the nightmarish "jazzey" score is fault less. "Dementia" and "Daughter of Horror" (it was given a more salatious title to get audiences in) are both on the disc...with some great extras its worth a look. The story itself is a living/dreaming nightmare , the boundaries are jarred from the first scene as we pan in from the empty street into the apartment window and track up to the bed. The Gammin wakes and looks as if she has just had a bad nightmare , she gets up and walks over to a drawer , opens it and pulls out a switchblade , she looks down and sneers , pockets the knife and goes out into the night. From here on we either know that she it totally insane or that she is out to protect herself or both. We follow her journey into bars and meetings with pimps and flower sellers. I wont tell you anymore about it , otherwise it will spoil the fun of finding out for yourself but this film is a must and belongs on any serious collectors shelf.
My Friends Need Killing (1976)
This is a low budget gem, it looks as if it was shot using the most basic equipment, the production values are non existent but the story of the deranged vietnam vet is one that stays in the mind for a while after viewing. Our hero goes on a killing spree, its a few years after he has served in nam and broke and depressed he decides to visit old friends. What could be more fun, what more could snap you out of a fit of depression than visiting ole buddies. Well this guy has different plans. Check this one out.
Sinthia: The Devil's Doll (1970)
Dont get me wrong I love Stecklers films , "Rat Fink a Boo Boo" , "Thrill Killers" , "Wild Guitar" , "Super Cool" all have a pervading feel of fun and to be corny the "joy" of just making a film. But sadly "Sinthia" is one of his lapses into the adult movie genre. He has made sine full length hardcore films which have to be the most un-erotic scenes committed to film. It seems that "Sinthia" was his practice run for the lamentable pap that was to follow a dozen years later. The girl in question is having strange dreams and see's a lot of hackeyed hallucination sequences and people trying to look scarey with little more that painted faces and paper plates with hair. To be honest the plot didnt grab me at all and the film wanders between soft core orgy scenes (with hideous people) and running around on the beach. Its 100 % worse than his later films "The las vegas serial killer" and "The Chooper" (Blood Shack) and made me feel disappointed that from the same mind that gave me some of the original film I have ever seen came this run of the mill sort core trash. For archive value to fans of Steckler its a must , I was told for years before I saw it how bad it was and how that even I would hate it, but thats never put me off before but for once I have to say that im sorry I didnt listen to advice , but then again im glad I have seen it.
Button Moon (1980)
"Were off to Button Moon , Follow Mr Spoon , Button Moon"
This was on of the oddest kids programmes from the early 80's. Mr Spoon (a wooden spoon with a big nose) and his wife and child lived under the gaze of Button Moon (a large yellow button) which they went up to in the space ship that our hero Mr Spoon had made. Basically it was hand held wooden spoons over a black velvet backdrop being moved about with a narration , and i know that i was too old to be watching it when i did but it was hypnotic. A very strange one indeed that has to be seen to be believed.
Stepping Razor: Red X (1993)
Like a Stepping Razor im a walking tiger
This tragic documentary tell the tale of the all too short life of one of the greatest country men in the world Peter Tosh. Told by interviews with his mother , father and friends it charts the meteoric rise to fame of Peter from "The Wailing Wailer" to "The Wailers" , his disillusionment with Marley and the pro christian stance that Marley took in his music to his solo career and his fights with various record labels. It ends in an all too familiar tone with the execution of Peter by some thieves in his house and the chilling words that from a young man Tosh thought would be the last he ever heard "bumbaclat" , and the sicking joke that these were indeed the last he heard before a bullet ended his great life. Its a very hard to watch documentary for it shows the gap that has been left in so may lifes and echos the murder of King Tubby in 1988 for similar reasons. Watch this and find a glimpse of a great man
Ivor the Engine (1975)
"Come on Ivor"
In the seventies the creative talents of Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin gave us a multitude of childrens classics , my favorites change from day to day but Ivor the Engine is one of the best.
These are the coloured versions (originally made in black and white Postgate and Firmin went back to their original prints and colourised them after the widespread introduction of colour t.v's in the 70's) and are just as valid as the original, if not more so as more people saw them the second time round.
Ivor the little welsh train, no speaking, but communicating through his funnel with various tones. His train driver and friend Mr Jones and the assorted charectors from the village including the tiny fire breathing dragon that lived in Ivors engine. These are timeless and should be watched again and again.