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Red-Barracuda

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1319 reviews in total 
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About as restrained as Nazisploitation gets, 3 February 2016
6/10

Set during World War II, the action in this one takes place on board a train populated by young women forced into prostitution by their Nazi captors. An evil dominatrix overseer - the Fraulein of the title - surreptitiously tapes the conversations of the Nazi men who visit the girls, taking advantage of them opening up in these private moments. In this way she can entrap those disloyal to the Reich and have them taken out and executed.

Fraulein Kitty is another film which made up the short-lived Nazisploitation sub-genre which existed primarily in the late 70's. Most if these movies came from those purveyors of good taste the Italians but this was one of the few that was of French origin. It was produced by cheap-jack exploitation studio Eurociné who knocked out a variety of low-budget flicks of various kinds. With this one, while they have definitely produced a sexploitation film, it is most definitely very mild by Nazisploitation standards. Most of the ones I have seen are quite monumentally out-of-order to a degree that often boggles the mind. Of course, this makes them somewhat interesting curiosity pieces nowadays. Aside from a distinct lack of graphic violence, the main clue as to why this one is decidedly less offensive in nature is simply due to the fact that the victims here are the Germans themselves rather than the - usually (naked) female - inmates of concentration camps. Admittedly it does focus on a bunch of female prisoners who have been forced into train-based prostitution but for a Nazisploitation effort this is dealt with in an almost tasteful manner. Okay, these things are all relative you understand – it's still the kind of idea that film-makers from the present day wouldn't touch with a bargepole, which, as I said before is sort of what makes this most wilfully tasteless sub-genre so fascinating. To be absolutely honest, though, I actually didn't mind the lesser level of sleaze in this one and thought it made a bit of a change to watch one of these flicks without the associated squirm moments. Zis is good, ya?

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Fenech and Neri whip up a storm at sea, 29 January 2016
7/10

Unlike what you may think going into this one, it only barely qualifies as a thriller and is more an erotic drama with some thriller elements. There's really no suspense generated at any point, even if the plot-line does move onto murder in its latter half. No, this one's focus is more squarely on other things for the majority of its screen-time. This is not exactly a bad thing though, as it means The Seducers is perhaps slightly less generic than a lot of its contemporaries. I was definitely brought to mind of Roman Polanski's psychological drama Knife in the Water (1962) though, with its group of unsympathetic characters playing out their melodrama and mind-games on a private boat cruise. But then again, I was also reminded of the outrageous Greek exploitation extravaganza Island of Death (1976) on account of that one's scene of goat-based bestiality – in The Seducers we move into a similar basic ball-park, albeit of a decidedly less disgraceful variety. Unlike in Island of Death where we have a male sociopath roger an unfortunate animal, here we have the lovely Edwige Fenech really only getting up close and personal with it. It's a mixture of the questionable, the erotic and the outright bizarre – a properly strange scene whichever way you look at it.

The story takes place on a luxurious yacht cruising in the Mediterranean. A wealthy woman of questionable motives hires three people – the seducers of the title - to deflower her mentally-deranged son. Add an innocent farm girl to the mix and you have the recipe for much sexploitation shenanigans.

This one is notable for both being a very early screen appearance from cult icon Fenech but is of additional note in that it pairs her up with another of the hottest actresses working in Italian genre films at the time, Rosalba Neri. In actual fact this film is owned by Neri mainly. Kitted out in a leather bikini, carrying a rifle and throwing dynamite into the sea, she is a bad girl par excellence in this one. I've seen Neri in a number of movies but this may very well be her definitive moment here, as her assertive sensuality is a perfect fit for this character. In any case, her and Fenech together in an erotic set-up is never going to be a bad thing, in actual fact they even at one point indulge in a three-way girl-on-girl-on-girl romp with the farm girl they bring on board.

All-in-all, this is a bit of an unheralded gem. I only saw it when a very kind fellow IMDb user sent me a copy which suffered from pretty ropey sound quality. It's definitely a movie, though, that is crying out for a proper transfer, it definitely deserves that kind of care and is one that Euro-cult enthusiasts will definitely lap up.

It only has one idea but it's admittedly quite a good one, 27 January 2016
6/10

Deadly Weapons, eh? Well, this is a film that really hardly needs an introduction. Its central idea is so memorably insane, it's difficult to forget once heard about. In fact this one has such a direct and concise story-line that it undoubtedly qualifies as a high concept movie. A woman seeks revenge on the gangsters who killed her husband. She seeks them out, seduces them and then suffocates them with her massive 73 inch breasts. And that's certainly all you really need to know about this one.

Directed by famed exploitation exponent Doris Wishman, it stars the mind-bogglingly top-heavy Chesty Morgan. Strangely enough, I found it somewhat unerotic even though I do have a predilection for women of the, shall we say, more pneumatic kind. In truth, it works mainly as a genuine oddity and one which is pretty distinctive at that. The story, after all, is hardly the point, it's all about the idea of boobs so large and deadly, they can be used as weapons. And that is, in all honesty, quite a good idea, one that I for one am fully on board with. The execution in a general sense is, however, strictly of the bargain basement variety, with its ultra-low budget always apparent. The camera-work is decidedly amateurish, the acting is universally ropey and the events depicted are consistently ridiculous. But despite all its obvious shortfalls I refuse to score this film lowly because on general principal I cannot be anything other than positive towards a film whose whole plot-line revolves around huge hooters used as deadly weaponry.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Haphazard spy flick from Franco, 26 January 2016
4/10

Several years ago I watched the film in which this is a sequel to, namely Sadisterotica (1969). I remember distinctly finding it to be fairly atrocious on the whole. To my pleasant surprise, a fellow, very kind IMDb user sent me a copy of its sequel; so what of Kiss Me, Monster? Well, it has to be said upfront that both movies do sport somewhat cool titles and the basic idea behind them is a pretty encouragingly good one. But from what I can fathom, this sequel is pretty much of a similar standard to its earlier equivalent. And this is not especially a good thing on balance.

Once again, it focuses on two slinky female detectives, played once more by Janine Reynaud and Rosanna Yanni. They set out to investigate a new case in which song lyrics from the hand of a dead man leads to an island where a scientist has been creating muscle-bound mutants in red posing pouches. In order to get close to their adversaries, the two women go undercover as an erotic nightclub act. Various people are killed along the way and, well, we get to the finale somehow.

In this film, stuff happens. That's as good a way of describing events as any, as the style that has been used to tell the story makes it a little hard to follow at times. Like most films from director Jess Franco, this one has pacing problems. Except in this case the problem is the exact opposite of what it usually is, in that unlike the slow pace of most of his other features this one is paced far too fast for its own good. When the main story thread got underway, it took me some time to realise that it wasn't a flashback I was watching such was the rapidity of events depicted – a bloke pitches up, is killed and the ladies are off and quickly encounter many characters in quick succession. In order to tell this particular plot-driven story Franco would have been better putting the brakes on here and there. Consequently, we hurtle through the narrative in a fast and haphazard fashion, meaning it's not easy to keep fully engaged with events. Similar to Sadisterotica this one also sports dubbing of the bottom of the barrel variety. I don't mind dubbing generally but this stuff just sounds like voice-overs too upfront in the mix that only vaguely connects to the characters on-screen.

I couldn't pretend to say I found this to be a good film but it does have definite Euro cult value and its general bizarreness does count for something at least. I reckon though if you need to see a Franco effort in the spy genre then The Girl from Rio (1969) is for me the best he has executed of this type. The very fact that Jess knocked out all three of these spy movies I have mentioned in this review in one year (plus a whole bunch of other flicks also) probably gives you a good idea why the likes of this one seems a little…rushed.

A decent enough Spanish giallo, 25 January 2016
6/10

The Killer Wore Gloves is one of the specific subset of giallo films that are of Spanish origin. Despite this one being a Spanish-Italian co-production, it's certainly fair to say that it's primarily an Iberian film. Like other examples of this type, it's of a bit lower quality than its average Italian counterpart, while still essentially being decent overall. As is so often the way in this particular sub-genre, it sports a plot-line that is somewhat convoluted. Set in London, events kick off with the murder of a man in an airport restroom for possession of an enigmatic briefcase. At the same time, a young woman thinks she has spotted her boyfriend driving around in the city, a man who has hitherto gone missing. The girl also has taken in a new tenant to share her home with, a very odd man who wears shades indoors at all times. He soon turns up dead after an apparent suicide. Making matters even worse, an attempt is made on the girl's life by an unknown assassin and this is followed by a bunch of other inter-related murders.

It's a fairly complicated story full of the usual gaggle of red herrings and oddball side characters that typify films from this genre. The murder set-pieces themselves involve a variety of weaponry and there is a modicum of suspense generated. The on location London settings were fine, while Gillian Hills made for a good enough heroine. It is, however, not an especially stylish effort by this genre's usual standards and it's really a fairly middling example of this type of movie on the whole. But, that said, if you are a fan of the genre I know that one thing is for sure and that is that more of the same is never exactly a bad thing. And this entry, while basically unremarkable, still has the good sense to deliver the bread and butter elements of the genre. At the end of the day though, for giallo connoisseurs, I think that overall the most interesting feature in this one is its Spanish origins.

Strange and largely forgotten version of the famous book, 24 January 2016
6/10

This is the famous tale of a man called Gulliver who is shipwrecked on an island inhabited by tiny people from a land called Lilliput. Before long he finds himself caught between two warring kingdoms.

This version of Gulliver's Travels has to count as being something of a curious obscurity. It was obviously a film that came and went quite quickly at the time and has consequently become largely forgotten. It stars Richard Harris pretty much on his own, owing to the fact that this is one of the earliest films to attempt a live-action/animation hybrid, with Harris playing the part of Gulliver and all the Lilliputians being cartoon characters. I think for this reason it remains quite interesting. The animation is pretty basic, although quite a lot of 70's cartoons were generally, so it isn't alone in this. But it's pleasingly unusual to see Harris interacting with these animated characters and towering over the models of the little city. It's certainly a film aimed squarely at kids though, with the people of Lilliput coming across like creations from a Hanna-Barbera cartoon. There were also a few songs as well, which only added further to the genre mash-up that this movie constitutes. It's a pretty ropey effort to be absolutely honest but it also has a charm and earnest endeavour about it which ensured that it was quite an enjoyable watch.

Somewhat pleasant early Greenaway experiment, 22 January 2016
6/10

H is for House is another of Peter Greenaway's early pre feature film experimental works. Set in an idyllic location in the English countryside, a mother and her young daughter relax by an old cottage. It is an exercise in editing as much as anything, with many static shots of various things. It does have quite a nice atmosphere about it and is a far warmer film that is usual for Greenaway, probably on account of the tranquil set-up and characters. Aside from the visuals, there is much unusual narration and one of the ideas explored is the artificiality of how we categorise things alphabetically. Many disparate things begin with the letter H for example, and the film considers this absurdity. This kind of obsession is precisely the kind of thing you would expect of Greenaway in fairness, as he has delved into such specific topics on various other occasions. I actually found this to be one of his more enjoyable short avant-garde works though. I suppose the reason for this is that I tend to respond to his visual ideas more favourably than his intellectual ones and in this case the words didn't engulf the imagery as much as usual. So, on the whole, I found this to be an interesting and relaxing left-field short.

City Killer (1984) (TV)
Early 80's Heather Locklear vehicle, 22 January 2016
5/10

I remember actually watching this television movie when it was broadcast back in the day. I didn't particularly watch a lot of movies back then, so this was something of an exception. The reason I did so was that I knew that it starred Heather Locklear who was a rising star at the time due to her appearances in the cop show 'T.J Hooker' and the super-soap 'Dynasty'. As a young teen I recall quite clearly that Heather was one of the first women to generate some new interesting thoughts in my head. So of course I was going to sit with the family and watch this movie called City Killer.

A deranged demolition expert blackmails his ex-lover into getting back with him by systematically blowing up a series of high-rise buildings in the middle of a city.

When I saw it back in the day, I thought it was pretty good but nothing special. Having seen it again, all these years later, I still think that original assessment isn't too far off the mark. It obviously feels a little bit ropier now than it did back then though but for what it is, it's okay. It's a film that benefits from TV movie charm and is on the whole reliable without ever moving very far outside the box. One scene that did impress me a bit, however, was the part where we see a building basically fall apart only to see a helicopter immediately rise out and above it – this was a pretty convincing, dangerous looking and well executed shot I thought. In the final analysis though, this is middling stuff on the whole but certainly worth a viewing.

One of Hitchcock's best in my opinion, 22 January 2016
8/10

A man hires a shady character from his past with a criminal record to murder his wealthy wife who he suspects of having an affair with another associate. The plan is worked out in fine detail but it goes wrong on the night when the would-be murderer is killed by his intended victim.

Dial M for Murder is another film which perfectly showcases the variety of styles Alfred Hitchcock was able to turn his hand to in order to tell a suspenseful tale. In this case, he adopts a smaller scale approach, with the film being pretty stage-bound. It's a dialogue-driven piece where the action happens almost exclusively within the confines of one house. Interestingly though, I never really noticed this when watching it, which I think has to be a testament to Hitchcock's mastery of the medium, in which he can make a stagey set-up feel pretty dynamic and involving. Despite its intimate nature the studio insisted it was shot 3D to ride the wave of popularity the format experienced briefly in the early 50's. Hitchcock obliged although he refused to pander to the gimmicks of the format and used it in a more subtle manner, although it is admittedly used quite strikingly in the attempted murder scene where a hand reaches out to the audience somewhat memorably.

This seems to be a Hitchcock which generates quite mixed responses. But for me, it's definitely an upper level entry. Its plot about the execution of the perfect murder is one where we sort of know where it's ultimately going to go, what we don't know is how we're going to get there and I thought the story was masterfully paced and plotted. Its character-driven nature means it's a film set-up perfectly for actors to stand out. And the one who rises to the top is Ray Milland, who stars in the central role of as the villainous husband. It's a very dastardly character and Milland plays him with some relish. Grace Kelly, as his wife, once again has effortless screen presence, while Robert Cummings as her lover has a pretty cardboard role but he does okay with it. All-in-all, very entertaining stuff.

Pretty good sequel to The Hustler, 19 January 2016
8/10

This sequel to The Hustler (1961) was directed by Martin Scorsese. It's not necessarily the most typical type of film you may expect from him. It was in fact one that he did for the studio and was not one of his more personal efforts. By working on a commercial project like this, Scorsese then had leeway to make his next film, the ultra-personal and controversial The Last Temptation of Christ (1988). Consequently, because this wasn't material he was fully passionate about, it's not so surprising that this isn't amongst his best work. That said it is still a good film. Scorsese still manages to employ much of his typical energetic style into the flow of things, making even the game of pool pretty dynamic to watch.

The film is maybe even better known for its acting though, with Paul Newman returning to play an older version of the character Fast Eddie Felson who last appeared in The Hustler twenty-five years previously. His character now manages young hustlers like he once was and, in doing so, takes a huge slice of their winnings. It's a role-reversal for the character and Newman is once again very good, although despite the Oscar win, he was even better in The Hustler. Tom Cruise plays off him as the cocky youngster in a type of role that we've seen him perform many times in fairness. He is good enough though and the two actors do work off each other well. The dynamic between them is reasonably predictable to an extent with a plot arc where their relationship starts off shaky, gets worse then finally clicks. But, off course, success breeds complications. Events do ultimately reach an unusual and ambiguous conclusion, which I wasn't too sure about personally but at least it ended things on a less obvious note.


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