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Street Trash (1987)
No Bums Allowed
Can anybody seriously dislike a movie starring R. L. Ryan of The Toxic Avenger, Class of Nuke'Em High and Eat and Run? Can anyone dislike a movie featuring Tony Darrow of Who Do I Gotta Kill? and Goodfellas? Can anybody refrain from busting his (or her) gut during the final song of the film, the cover version of Frankie Boy's all time favorite entitled We do Things My Way? Does anybody know about any other film featuring an overweight necrophiliac salvage yard owner, a homosexual dog, crazed Vietnam vets, melting bums, mobsters, hit men, toxic booze, and a killer soundtrack? A few years ago, I fell in love with this movie. I purchased the first edition of the DVD from Synapse, with two original stickers enclosed that I used to create my own two bottles of Tenafly Viper. I have watched Street Trash a zillion times since then, and, boy, it never gets old.
What could possibly make Andrew Prine appear in this?
It is really difficult to write a spoiler when referring to such movies as Wolf Ridge. What is there to spoil? The plot is an incomprehensible mess, the adventure almost non existent, the action scenes shoddy, the dialogs are laughable or downright bizarre... Of course, then there are Andrew Prine and Wes Studi. It is hard to believe these fine actors turned up in this cinematic atrocity. The cover of my old VHS which was released in The Czech Republic back in 1994 uses the names of these two stars and the picture of Wes Studi to make a good impression. No wonder, The Last of the Mohicans was a big hit at that time. Wes Studi really appears in what amounts to nothing more than a cameo. He plays the part of Tom, a native American, a mystic and a good man who is shot while working on his farm. At first, the culprit of this murder is not apprehended. The main protagonists of the events which ensue are Tom's daughter, Andrew Prine as the main villain and a couple of local hicks including the sheriff- an overweight guy who seems to spend a considerable portion of his screen time at the local barber shop. As I already said, the plot is a mess, but one thing is sure- according to an Indian legend, when somebody dies violently, his spirit takes the form of a wolf, hence the title. Tom becomes one of these restless spirits and in the finale, he claims the life of his killer. Before this happens, the audience is exposed to scenes of people talking, a barber giving the sheriff a close shave, a lot of voice-over narration, some stock footage of genuine wolves, some shooting, and one really bad special effect involving morphing. I also noticed that Michael Berryman,one of my all time favorites, appears in a minor role and fires a rifle a couple of times. I doubt he would be upset about not having this one on his resume. What is even more surprising than the appearances of several big names in this mess is the fact the DVD version of Wolf Ridge was recently released in Germany. I guess the thing must have some bizarre charm. After all, I still have my old VHS of Wolf Ridge in my collection (true, partly due to the fact I was not able to sell it) and I wasted ten minutes of my time writing this review, although I don't know what made me do it. Perhaps it was the same unknown force which made Andrew Prine appear on the set of Wolf Ridge one day.
What a weird movie
Renato Pozzetto, the co-star of Paolo Villaggio from the Italian comedy Le Comiche and its two sequels, plays the role of Burro, a country boy and a simpleton, in this weird and extremely hard-to-categorize movie. Although there are several comedic scenes concerning various acts of Burro's tomfoolery, this flick is as far from the likes of Le Comiche, a film paying homage to slapstick comedies, as it can be. Burro, despite being a grown up, still lives with his mother. He's somewhat slower than the others, but certainly not retarded. Burro has a predilection for cinema and goes to the movies every evening, dressed as if he was going to the Sunday services. He has a crush on an actress and he keeps collecting her photos and images until his relationship with the woman from the silver screen results in a bitter disappointment-the actress eventually shows affection for another man in her latest movie. Burro has also some serious psychological issues stemming from his childhood. The husband of Burro's mother was a police officer who became the laughing stock of the whole village after falling asleep next to a dead body he was supposed to guard on a cold night. Burro's dad was deemed a disgrace to the village after being found curled up under one blanket with a corpse. It is revealed later that Burro's mother had an affair with a butcher and one unfortunate episode of Burro's childhood involving an unsuccessful slaughtering of a pig left a mark on the boy. The whole movie is in fact a series of Burro's encounters with various townspeople leading to the recollections of Burro's past. The movie contains several totally confusing scenes, for instance, one night ,Burro participates in a stage show of a magician and hypnotist who convinces Burro to imitate animals in front of the audience. Early on in the movie, a saucer is smashed into pieces- it is one of the saucers with the images of popes that Burro's mother uses in the kitchen. When Burro and his mother try to find out which pope was portrayed on the broken saucer, to their surprise they arrive at the conclusion that the set of saucers is still complete and that a miracle must have occurred. Burro encounters several women, all resembling the actress he is fond of, and the promise of a sexual intercourse is hinted at. Unfortunately, Burro is finally ripped off by a gypsy girl and the only true friend he seems to have is the dog he accidentally ran into during his less than spectacular adventures... This is a weird movie, but also an unpredictable one. Some parts may or may not be more easily deciphered by the Italian audience. The acting is generally good, Renato Pozzetto gives a strong performance as Burro and some heavy emotions are put on display.
Blood Hands (1990)
Hands of justice are always Blood Hands
Blood Hands is a Filipino action flick that one can easily poke fun at. Still, there is certain sense of sincerity in the actions of characters and in the dialogs, even if some of the lines pronounced in the movie are funny as hell. Steve, a young talented kickboxer (played by Sean Donahue) is on his way home to celebrate his birthday. Meanwhile, a bunch of villains, who happen to be (along with every secondary character in this movie) trained kickboxers, cause a disturbance in a grocery store, kill the owner during a fight and then stop by at the house of Steve's parents. The leader of the bunch used to date Steve's mother and this good woman, unaware of any kind of danger, lets the villains in when they ask for some water for the overheated motor of their car. As soon as the scoundrels enter the house, their leader starts to make advances to Steve's mother, who naturally rejects him, saying she's a married woman now. This leads to a violent confrontation, and when Steve's father returns home with a birthday cake, another kickbox fight ensues. Although Steve's old man knows a lot about martial arts, he is outnumbered, severely beaten and thrown through a glass door. His wife receives similar treatment for her lack of cooperation with the thugs. Steve arrives at the scene a few minutes later. First, he discovers his birthday cake splattered on the ground, then the bodies of his parents. Steve is quite understandably embittered and angry. The matters are further complicated by the fact that one of the thugs left a golden medallion from a kickbox championship at the scene of crime. Since it could serve as an important piece of evidence, the owner of the medallion has to go back to the house of Steve's parents with one of his pals. During this expedition, the thugs encounter a detective investigating the case, beat the hell out of him a finally smash his cranium in the swimming pool by the house. After the police proved to be inefficient, Steve decides to take justice in his hands and he starts his own investigation. Thanks to the medallion that was found by his girlfriend, he is able to track down the murderers of his parents and make them pay for their crime, one by one... Apart from plentiful action scenes, often taking place in various industrial settings, there are many amusing moments in this movie, especially when the leader of the gang of kickboxing thugs explains to his cronies why it was necessary to finish off someone every time they kick the living soul out of some unfortunate individual. The dialog between Steve and his girlfriend, who tries to prevent Steve from taking revenge on the culprits and "getting blood on his hands", is highly amusing as well. The famous speech of Bruce,who happens to be the son of one of the villains and who wishes to give up his kickboxing career (because he always gets his butt kicked by Steve), was already mentioned in the previous comment. Blood Hands is a simple movie with enough displays of martial arts to keep the fans of Filipino action flicks, especially those from the distinguished production company Silver Star, entertained.
Brutal Glory (1989)
A quest for glory
This is one of the most entertaining boxing movies I've ever watched. It probably doesn't adhere to The True Story of Kid McCoy as much as the title might lead you to believe, but who cares when the imaginary Kid McCoy punches, cheats and swindles his way through the movie in such a charming fashion. Brutal Glory begins in New York where a kid, presumably a petty thief, gets involved in a street quarrel. Despite his rather feminine appearance, he manages to reshape the faces of his opponents quite well. One of the onlookers watching the fight is a manager taking care of talented boxers. This gentleman called Max Owen (played by Robert Vaughn) encourages the kid to stop by at the gym and try to fight in the ring, as a professional. The kid is not too keen on pursuing a boxing career at first, but then he comes home to find his old man loaded again, and after some paternal abuse (junior hasn't shown up at school for months and the old man calls him a whore and attempts to strip off his pants), the kid decides to leave home for good. He pays a call on the manager, tries his luck in the ring, and commences his quest for glory. As this movie shows, the glory of Kid McCoy was not achieved only through his boxing skills but also through his cunningness enabling him to double-cross and cheat. After winning a series of matches, Kid McCoy gets a job as a sparring partner of the current U. S. boxing champion. Since he temporarily dwells in the champion's villa, Kid manages to make out with his employer's girlfriend and later, he sets up a great swindle. He makes a deal with the champion and some Italian mafia guys, he promises to play the role of a punching bag in a staged match between him and the champion, but then, of course, he breaks his promise, beats the heck out of his opponent and makes the mafia guys lose a lot of money. The mob don't take it too kindly, they want their money back and start to negotiate with Kid's manager by breaking his fingers, one at a time. Kid and Max know when it's time to leave. Kid devises another great plan- to relocate to South Africa. He plans on fighting there under a different name, but his true identity is accidentally revealed shortly after his arrival. It's only a matter of time when Kid and the champion of South Africa face each other in the ring. This time, Kid tricks the newspapers into thinking the South African climate wrecked his health. Everybody is fooled by his charade and Kid is given the label of an outsider by the press. Kid makes another smart move by persuading a tycoon to invest a large sum in the upcoming match and to bet it all against him. In the first several rounds, Kid pretends to be on his last legs, but once all bets are closed, he comes up with a surprise and smashes the champion's face. But that's not all Brutal Glory has to offer. There is also a love story involving Kid and a ballerina who succumbs to McCoy's charisma. After the final scam that allows Kid to pay his debt to the mob, Kid, his girl, his manager, the former South African champion and Kid's sponsor all go on vacation. Since this is a South African movie, they go on a safari. An amazing adventure ensues. Kid has to fight with the most courageous warrior of a native tribe, he earns a respect of the tribe's chief (who has some hilarious lines, such as: "A man has to clean his loins often."), and finally attempts to outrun a bushman. This youthful indiscretion almost costs him a life since he gets stranded in the desert without water. There is also a dash of mysticism added by the creators near the end of this movie, but there's no need to give everything away. Find out for yourself what Brutal Glory is all about. Of course, if you happen to come across this highly entertaining movie anywhere.
Deadly Weapon (1994)
Italian action flick with little action
John Savage in one of his finer roles, music by Carlo Maria Cordio, exploding bullets and a whole lotta talk. This Italian movie concerns a CIA agent and a gun specialist who developed a new kind of deadly weapon. He invented a special type of bullets functioning as hand-grenades and blasting whatever the target may be into tiny pieces. When one of these bullets with chemical filling finds you, even a bullet-proof anorak can't save you. Of course, you also need a special pistol to use this kind of ammunition. No wonder the inventor of the deadly weapon is afraid that it might cause carnage when used improperly by thugs and crooks, and he keeps a close watch on his invention, taking it with him everywhere he goes. On his way home, carrying his deadly weapon in a small suitcase, he witnesses a street robber threatening and shooting a woman. After one of the weirdest chases I ever witnessed in an action flick, the agent is forced to put to use the deadly weapon. This is the first time the exploding bullets are used in the movie. The mugger is blown to pieces, the newspapers make a scandal out of the unfortunate accident, and the agent is held responsible. His boss, played by John Savage, recommends him to leave The States for some time, until everything settles down and people forget about the whole affair. The agent is told that one wealthy businessman in South America could use his professional advice and help. In other words, he is supposed to work as a kind of bodyguard for Mr. Gonzales. The agent doesn't have much of a choice, so he packs his shirt, swim-trunks and the deadly weapon, and takes a trip to South America. He is unaware of the fact that his pal from CIA made a deal with Mr. Gonzales, who is a big time crook. Gonzales is well informed about the exploding ammunition and is determined to get it, with or without the inventor's consent.... The main problem of this movie is that, despite the title, the deadly weapon is used only twice in the whole movie. In the beginning, when the mugger bursts, and near the end of the flick, when the agent settles the score with the mafia. There is also a subplot involving a band of rebels who attempt to organize a revolt against Gonzales. A girl named Florinda, whose mother used to work for CIA, participates in a revolutionary movement, and she and the agent inevitably become partners. Deadly Weapon might be worth checking out for those who are willing to suffer through some melodramatic dialogs in order to witness the death of Mr. Gonzales. Despite being shot with an explosive bullet, one of Gonzales' goons decides to cling to the leg of his master, and we get to see two dummies blown up in a neat display of pyrotechnics.
A Seattle Vampire in Salt Lake City
What we have here is an extremely low budget SOV vampire flick. This opus begins with two detectives, Jack Talbot and his new buddy Brian (who looks like Talbot's son) being summoned to a site where two young people were reportedly assaulted and where a girl was abducted last night. The missing girl's boyfriend maintains that he was knocked unconscious by an incredibly strong assailant. The cops find the body of the unfortunate girl minutes later. It is the tenth victim of a mysterious serial killer terrorizing Seattle, and that's not the worst part. There is something strange about this case. Talbot remarks there are no tracks in the sand around the corpse. Brian starts to feel queasy since there is some kind of unpleasant odor in the air, and he has to leave. When he arrives home, Brian has a conversation with his wife. He admits this murder case got to him and he mentions an encounter with a palm-reader who foretold Brian's terrible end with her tarot cards. Since Brian believes in the occult, he arranges an appointment with a lady capable of seeing into the future. This lady (her name in the movie is Ann Vorhees) tells the two detectives the killer they are after is not a human being. Talbot is skeptical, to say the least. The clairvoyant gives Brian the address of a place where, according to her,the killer dwells. Brian pays a visit to the killer,on his own, finds a basement full of dead bodies with pale faces and trickles of blood coming out of their mouths, and falls victim to a long haired vampire resembling a heavy metal fan. Talbot is warned by the clairvoyant that his partner might be in peril. When Talbot enters the killer's house with the help of a special police squad, he finds Brian's dead body, with a pale face and a trickle of blood coming out of his mouth. The psychic provides a valuable piece of information by stating the vampire is not in Seattle anymore. Why is that? The vampire moved to Salt Lake City. A coffin containing the vampire's body appears at the airport and one of the guys manipulating the luggage is immediately killed. The victim is turned into a vampire, comes back to life in the morgue, throws the mortician in the incinerator and then walks out the morgue's door into direct sunlight. The guy's face is instantly dissolved as well as the rest of his body (the only gory effect in the whole movie involves the vampire's face melting and generating smoke). Salt Lake City cops are baffled when they find a burnt corpse outside the morgue and the dead mortician's cremated remains inside. The intervention of Jack Talbot seems to be inevitable. Meanwhile, the vampire kills a couple of drunk kids in their car. The situation starts to get out of hand. Talbot enlists the help of a lady working in the library, he reads a pile of books and, armed with the newly acquired knowledge, he sets out to locate and finish off the supernatural killer... The vampire is destroyed in the finale, he ends up in the incinerator where he belongs. Before this happens, one shower scene takes place, and I can positively say that this particular shower scene frightened me more than any of the vampire killer's evil deeds. The reason behind this may have something to do with the fact that all killings perpetrated by the vampire in Nightfall are completely bloodless, of course, if we exclude the scene where a peculiar reddish substance is splattered all over a glass door.
Evil Altar (1988)
Not as bad as some people may suggest
True, Evil Altar has its share of imperfections and flaws. Some viewers may be turned off by the lack of originality or by a few technical problems, but I certainly wasn't bothered by these imperfections during the screening of this movie. Evil Altar is a story of Reed Weller, a sorcerer, a warlock and Satan's faithful servant who likes to torture and sacrifice unfortunate kidnapped persons in his barn. In the beginning of the movie, even before the titles, Reed Weller assigns an unfortunate boy suspended from the ceiling to collect a hundred and three children that should serve as offerings. Then, the evil man cuts the boy in the chest and informs him that his soul may be taken away any time. Apart from kidnapping and sacrificing people, Reed Weller also likes to boast and he does so by stating his power is absolute. Self-confidence is what I especially liked about this bald-headed character... Thirty years later, the kidnapped boy still roams the countryside in order to collect one hundred and three children. He is known as The Collector and he's ugly as hell. One day, he hits a local kid across the head with a baseball bat, and that's where problems begin. Up to this point, The Collector was supplying Weller with kids from other towns since local kids were of no use to Weller. When a lawyer from the city stops in Weller's town, The Collector strikes again and abducts the lawyer's son. The plot thickens. The Collector is shot down by a local girl during a hunting accident. In his sack, a curious surprise is hidden. The girl's father calls the cops, the local sheriff appears, and the viewer immediately gets the impression something's not right here. Indeed, the sheriff is in a league with Weller, and so is about every man and woman in this town. . As it is revealed later, a number of townspeople made a pact with the devil in exchange for a little favor. These poor fools are now completely under Weller's power. When the sheriff notifies his master of the hunting accident, The Evil Man resurrects The Collector, and sends him out to haunt the girl who had the nerve to mess with Reed Weller. The girl, her brother, the brother's girlfriend and the lawyer searching for his son all have to face the powers of darkness in order to save their souls... Evil Altar offers not only this intriguing plot but also some blood, especially near the end of the movie. In one scene, The Collector visits the poor girl who shot him, pulls a bullet out of his guts a gives it to her as a souvenir. There is also a man with a hatchet embedded in his back, one throat slashing (not too convincing, I'm afraid) and one nice stunt involving The Collector being set afire and thrown into a swimming pool. One complaint about the ending: With regards to Reed Weller's assertions concerning his absolute power, it seems to me that The Evil Man was defeated too easily in the finale.
Lubie nietoperze (1986)
Hardly a horror movie
While watching this, one gets the impression that the director's intention was not to produce a vampire movie. Lubie Nietoperze seems to be a kind of artistic parable of the relationship between man and woman, utilizing some elements of the vampire genre. It is true that viewed as a horror flick, this would probably infuriate most fans of vampire movies. There is no blood, we don't get to see the fangs of the central character until near the end of the movie and there are no scares (at least there are some bats in the movie). But if you approach I like Bats without the anticipation of blood, shiny fangs and wooden stakes hammered in the hearts of hideous bloodsuckers, it can be rewarding. There is a colorful set of secondary characters in the movie, some of them pretty bizarre. The heroine's aunt has a predilection for the esoteric and in one scene, she levitates (at least it appeared to me as levitation, but the VHS I viewed was in a bad shape). A bald headed man, who has hots for the female vampire and is repeatedly refused by her, attempts to murder her out of desperation, unsuccessfully. He gets his just reward later. There is also a sexual deviate who jumps the heroine in the park but falls prey to her charms and is drained of blood. A bald headed, wig wearing joker selling novelty toys pays a visit to the heroine's aunt occasionally and makes one hell of a din. The main character herself has some interesting hobbies- she dresses as a hooker at night and searches for her new victims in joints populated with transvestites. When she falls in love with a psychiatrist named Jung (!), and she passes through the gates of a private sanitarium for the mentally unstable in order to get rid of her strange affliction, she encounters another herd of weirdos and is subjected to hypnosis and gamma-rays. All the shrinks of the world cannot help her, until she and Doctor Jung manage to make out. All of a sudden, the curse is broken and the heroine can see her reflection in the mirror.... One thing is for sure, Lubie Nietoperze is not a horror movie by any stretch of imagination.
Blood Ring 2 (1995)
Blood Ring 2
The last movie of Dale Apollo Cook starts with a bloody fight taking place in a ring decorated with barbed wire. In a scene from Blood Ring, Max Rivers gets even with a thug working for the mob by beating the hell out of him and wrapping a necklace of barbed wire around his neck. After this stylish introduction, the second part deals with ensuing adventures of Max who is charged with murder and sentenced to a pleasant stay in a Filipino penitentiary. He is on his own, The American Embassy won't interfere with the legal procedures of local prosecution. The future doesn't look too bright. Max's only hope is his charming lawyer Linda Conroy who firmly believes her client was falsely accused. Unfortunately, Collantes, the warden, decides to arrange a kickbox match involving Max and 2 million dollars. Max isn't enthusiastic about this plan, and refuses to fight for Collantes. Soon, Max learns that the warden's word is the law within the walls of this prison and that Collantes knows how to make an inmate's life a living hell. When Linda informs Max that in this corrupt system, there is no legal way for him to get out of the pen, the only possibility left is to escape. One sunny afternoon, Max manages to leave local stone-pit without even asking the warden's permission, and he and Linda form a lethal duo that shoots down several Collantes' goons during an explosive pursuit. They make their way to the town, but outside an old warehouse they are recaptured. Max Rivers has to fight for his own life and for the life of a damsel in distress once more... Blood Ring 2 has plenty of fights, sweaty prisoners, a foul-mouthed cook wielding a meat-cleaver, explosions and a pretty good theme song playing while the end credits roll. There's no reason why not recommend this movie to the fans of Filipino action flicks.