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Mandinga (1976)
Exploitation SU-PREME!
12 March 2008
This was a mish mash of a film that started out going nowhere, got lost on the way then suddenly found a plot in the last 5 minutes when the title character is FINALLY introduced. There were so many ugly, mutton-chopped guys in this film, I lost track of who was the owner and who were the overseers. I have a theory about the casting though; all the bad guys were played by ugly actors (and one ugly actress) and all the good guys/victims were played by beautiful actors. Indeed the actors who played the ultimate victims, the slaves, were gorgeous as was the innocent priest's daughter, while the plantation owner, his minipulative mistress and his overseers were pretty hard on the eyes. On purpose? You make the call.

I hung in there till the end and some others might be able to make it as well. If you just want to look at bare breasts, there are plenty of them here and if you have a slave/master fetish then you'll love this film. Otherwise, watch it once, vomit, shower and never speak of it to anyone.
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Raw Force (1982)
Babes, blades, zombies & Cameron. Freaking. MITCHELL.
26 February 2008
I was going to give this one 9 out of 10 but had to knock it down because it quite simply wasted Jillian Kesner (RIP; you kicked my ass).

A nutty German who is apparently Hitler's younger brother, Chip, trades Philippine hookers for Jade to some weird monks ("Zey eat zem," Chip tells us) and uses a group of head-band-wearing Kung-fu thugs to protect the operation. If that sentence right there doesn't make you want to watch this film...

Zee chade mine must be kept a zeecret...sorry. Chip doesn't want anyone to know about the jade mine and when he finds out a low rent cruise ship is planning on making a tour of "Warrior Island" (dun dun duuun) he tells his thugs to take care of it. They fail of course, due to the First Commandment of Kung-fu: The good guy will always kick butt no matter how many bad guys attack him at once.

The thugs do manage to set the ship on fire and kill everyone on board except the plucky group of heroes. Their life raft beaches on the island and more Kung-fu ensues. The monks capture the group and tell them they may not leave until they have fought the monk's Kung-fu masters which is the queue for the Kung-fu ZOMBIES (!) to enter (I freaking love this film!).

The fight scenes were great, the over-acting was wonderful and the concept was so far out that it clicked like Fred Astaire in tap shoes. I can't end the review without a special shout out to Mitchell who was the ONLY man who could play the part of the captain. I laughed out loud every time he fired his pistol, especially when he tried to get the attention of a potential rescue plane by firing his pistol AT it! This film had it all and I can't do it justice here. Just see this film!

Things you didn't know: The South China Sea is loaded with piranha Asian chefs are ALWAYS Kung-fu masters Buddhist monks aren't always the peaceful guys they are rumored to be
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Beautiful girls, inept thieves and even more inept "heroes"
20 February 2008
It had been a bad Monday when I popped this one in to the 'ol DVD player. I just wanted to wind down and be entertained and this film delivered. Grindhouse veteran Jean-Jacques Renon was the cinematographer for this film (credited as Oscar Lapin) and gave the film the only hint of class it has. Honestly, great camera work and lighting here with some gutsy angles.

On to the film. We open with two Eurobabes walking through the French countryside when they come upon a stone wall. For reasons unknown to me, the director (Jean Rollin) decides we must watch every excruciating second of the girls' navigation of this wall but I digress. On the other side of the wall is a French Baroque manor that, in spite of its dilapidated looks outside, is surprisingly tidy inside. After a quick tryst, Joëlle Coeur (the characters names aren't mentioned I think) needs a ciggy and discovers a slimy Euroguy with a pornstache and a gun staying in one of the downstairs rooms. Not put off by either the stache or the gun, Joëlle dances in the sheets and when her friend discovers the two, she joins in! The next morning a "plot" ensues and we find out guys with mustaches and guns aren't always worth a roll in the hay. Somehow, this idiot and two other idiots managed to burgle some jewels, I assume from some more idiotic idiot. Those jewels wind up missing and the thieves assume it was our Eurobabes what done it. After some torture and some more torture we are introduced to a French PI and his Eurogirl (I believe she is actually wearing a cheerleading outfit) assistant. From here on the plot has more lead changes than a girls basketball game with the good guys getting the drop on the bad guys only to lose it again.

The film is mindless trash but an entertaining 70 minutes none the less. If your looking for polished soft-core, go elsewhere, but if you just want to vedge at the end of the day with a cold one, this is a good film to use.
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Feel the PAIN!
8 January 2008
I read reviews on this movie and decided to give it a shot. I'm an open minded guy after all and I’ve given good reviews to some pretty bad flicks. As the end credits rolled on this one I searched for meaning and something nice to say. Here goes: "This film was mercifully short." That's all I got.

Okay, Okay. The sets and visuals were well done and the music helped lend to the mood of asylum life but the film was painful to watch and the endless dialogue took away from the good bits. I did find myself laughing at this film but the way you laugh at your best friend who just embarrassed himself in front of a large crowd.

By the time of the "chicken dance" at the finale I had just decided to tuck and roll with the film and let the bodies fall where they fall. I don't know what could have salvaged this film. The acting was not bad and it looked like it had a budget but there just wasn't any way to make it watchable; not even the presence of beautiful bare breasts. Maybe I should have sparked a doobie or drank a LOT of beer to get the full experience of the film. Either way, I'm not watching this film again unless I'm really depressed. Then I can tell myself “At least I wasn’t in ‘Dr. Tarr's Torture Dungeon.’ I’m better than those guys."
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Big Bad Wolf (2006)
Terrible but I can't bring myself to hate it
31 December 2007
On the list of werewolf movies, "Big Bad Wolf" ranks pretty low but still manages to stay above "Arizona Werewolf." I encourage you to get to a Redbox and rent this movie but don't blow $3.50 at Hastings for it.

Richard Tyson brings a great presence to the film but overshadows the two leads (Trevor Duke & Kimberly Brown). Duke obviously couldn't hang with Tyson in their scenes together and looked genuinely intimidated but not in a good way. One wonders if Tyson didn't push him around off camera as well. Brown's character was just wrong, wrong and pointless and she and Duke didn't have anything between them chemistry wise. After the initial encounter with the beast I was in denial that Duke was the hero of the movie.

At any rate, the movie was entertaining and you gotta love the idea of a werewolf that rips your lungs out through your mouth and talks trash while he does it. The extras all made for great werewolf chow but I wish the finale had let us see a bit more kills. They loaded up the scenes with wolf fodder and we only got to see two gory deaths while the rest were implied. That's okay though, I laughed, I said "Ewwww" out loud and at the end of the film I didn't feel ripped off.

P.S. Kudos to the producers for the extras on the DVD. Films like this don't usually get that kind of treatment.
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A great film and a must see for Lugosi fans!
22 August 2006
In my opinion, outside of "Dracula" and "White Zombie," this is Lugosi at his best. Dr. Orloff (Lugosi) is a philanthropist who donates his medical expertise to a work-house for blind men. On the side he runs an insurance scam by loaning money to desperate individuals and holds their life insurance policy as collateral, then he has them killed so he can collect on the policies. But that's just the plot. There is so much more happening.

Lugosi is brilliant as the cold-hearted Dr. Orloff as he plays cat and mouse with the police and the daughter of one of his victims. He is able to move effortlessly from kind hearted doctor to calculating and greed driven murderer. The plot moves forward at a brisk pace with little down time and the build up to the climax was unexpected and absolutely chilling. Lugosi truly made me believe he was evil in this film and I quickly was involved with the plot. The supporting cast did exactly as they should; got out of the way and let Lugosi run with the film. See it. Buy it. Watch it.
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Sweet Georgia (1972)
I demand a remake!
22 August 2006
Novak had something here but just couldn't get it to click. Stag film regular Marsha Jordan plays Sweet Georgia, a manipulative Nymphomaniac that will have sex with just about anyone, except her fat, dumb, drunk husband.

The story surrounding these people would be interesting with a little better execution. Jordan is the star but is forced to carry the film farther then her star-power could handle. Barbara Mills as the step-daughter was just plain bad and the male supports, with the exception of Gene Drew as "Big T," were just reciting lines to the best of their ability. Had Novak just played this as a sexploitation project, they might have pulled it off. Jordan plays the manipulative woman very well but we don't care about her victims enough to root for her downfall. The ending is NEVER hinted at and seemed tacked on to make the audience reel-back in revulsion or hurl. Shorter (and better) sex scenes coupled with a bit more character development and this could be a gem of a direct-to-video sexploiter or 2:00 a.m. feature on Cinemax. But until then, leave this on the shelf and rent "Femalien" instead.
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Laugh out loud fun
13 February 2006
Rene Bond was the U.S.'s first legit porn star and the first to get breast implants! This is one of her first films. This film isn't hardcore porn so if that is what you want, skip this film.

The movie starts off innocently enough with two country music singers rolling into L.A. on fumes and their "last ten bucks," when they pick up two beautiful hitchhikers. The foursome quickly sneak off into the desert for a bit of afternoon delight (you know, one of those "it could happen" porn plots). It turns out there is more to these hitchhikers than meets the eyes and a well paced and interesting story actually follows.

There are great moments in this film, from the lame country songs to the turtle-neck wearing guy who lip-synchs them, to Rene Bond's breasts, you can' help but laugh at and enjoy this film. Don't look for any Oscar nods but Bond actually shows some chops as an actress. So if you don't mind nudity and bad country music, get this film!
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A doctor and the Devil battle for the soul of a beautiful woman
8 February 2006
I don't agree with those who say this film is just another sleaz-fest. Is it Exploitation cinema? Heck yes! But like many films of that sort, there is more to it than just showing a beautiful woman's bare bodkin. There is interesting cinematography and actual honest to goodness character development. I'm not saying there was a crime committed by shutting this film out of the Oscars, but I think it's a good film.

The lovely Rita Calderoni does a good job in her double role as Good Susan/Bad Evelyn and thank God we get to see her without being bludgeoned or maimed (al la Delerium). This is perhaps the best and most inspired work of director Batzella and is a must see for all fans of the genre.
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It's a good little time waster
7 February 2006
I paid a buck for this at Walgreen's (tm) and it was a bargain at 3 times the price. This film is nothing like the 2001 film of the same name and that's good. Ireland does a great job being the criminal in this one and Malone is good as the head-smart woman-in-a-man's-world. Ultimately, the ending of the film is ruined by "the Code" which at the time prohibited films from having criminals in sympathetic roles (that's right, Bonnie & Clyde would have been a grindhouse exploiter in 1954). While the film really does look like Corman found a group of racers and decided to build a film around them, this is definitely not a bad film. Spend a dollar and watch this one while your dusting the den.
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Suffers from lack of talent, not imagination.
15 August 2005
I can certainly see the point of people ripping on this film. Susanna Satta doesn't set herself up for future stardom but she certainly doesn't hurt her career. The writers had something in mind here and my guess is the director screwed it up. There are some ridiculous parts to the film, but taken in the context of a twelve-year-old girl's mind, they actually make sense.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to give too much credit to the filmmakers because a lot of the good elements of the film probably happened on accident.

I didn't feel like I wasted my money renting this, but I probably would rent it with a bunch of friends over.
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The Gorilla (1939)
I don't hate the film, in spite of the Ritz's
24 June 2004
I've heard that the Ritz Brothers refused to do this film unless both their contract and the script were re-worked. The Studio should have let them walk. I admit this is only the first Ritz Bros. film I have seen so they could come off as comic geniuses in "Hotel Anchovy" and I wouldn't know it. However in this film, all they do is suck the oxygen out of the room while fellow "comic," Patsy Kelly, chews the scenery with a knife and fork. All I could think while watching this film was "poor Bela Lugosi." Reduced here to being the-guy-who-we-think-did-it (and a butler to boot), you can almost see his disinterest as he sleepwalks through yet another "creepy foreign guy" role. With a bit different casting, this could have been a funny film.

In spite of the off-the-mark gags and dental drill like screaming of Kelly, this film is not horrible. It will entertain you in spite of its shortcomings. Make it a drinking game. Take a shot every time someone says "Take that down, Garrity." Take two shots every time Garrity says anything at all, and take a shot of water whenever the word "gorilla" is spoken. Poor Bela Lugosi.
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