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Real name: Joe Wawrzyniak
Hair: Rapidly receding, but what's still left is dirty blonde & often uncombed
Eyes: Piercing blue. Not exactly Meg Fosterish, but leaning in that striking direction
Favorite hat: Fedora, a man's hat
Favorite shirt: loud Hawaiian shirts, the uglier the better
Favorite pants: Khaki, usually rumpled
Date of birth: June 1st, 1972
Homestate: New Jersey, where both myself and the drive-in were born
Height: 6 feet, 4 inches, very tall
Weight: 215 pounds, really thin
Nicknames: The Woodman, The Woodster,
The Woodmeister, Awesome Anders
Mr. Wood, Woody A, Good Ol' WA, Woods,
Woody Baby (ladies only, please)
Persona: Film nerd and damn proud of it
Voice: Deep, oily, soothing pus ooze late night disc jockey tenor
Favorite song: "Una Paloma Blanca" 2005 remix by George Baker
Motto: "If you wanna be the s**t, you gotta know your s**t. Otherwise, you ain't s**t."
Religion: Godless heathen atheist and proud of it, too
I'm especially fond of horror and exploitation movies. I think the 70's was the best-ever decade for film. Watch a lot of cult movies and drive-in films; the sleazier and/or weirder they are, the more I dig 'em. Enjoy out of the mainstream independent films, rock pics, sci-fi end-of-the-world items and made-for-TV movies as well.
Just to stop my life from being too dull I have a little sideline hobby singing downhome Southern-fried country and western music. I'm the lead singer/songwriter in a funky band called Hillbilly Joe and the Jersey Bumpkins. We're a bunch of s**t-kickin', fiddle-pickin', banjo-pluckin' rowdy rednecks who love to spit, chew, screw and drink Mountain Dew (and I ain't talkin' 'bout the soda). We perform at truckstops, greasy spoons, swap meets, flea markets, seedy honkytonk dives, trailer parks, weddings, bar mitzvahs, and especially church social gatherings every Sunday afternoon. Songs we perform include such good, clean, wholesome family numbers as "Thank God I'm A Country *beep* "On the Floor Again," "I *beep* Your Sister and She's A Lousy Lay," and "The Wife Beating Song." The latter charming ditty I wrote in fifteen minutes at the tail end of a severe weekend whiskey bender. The lyrics are as follows:
I punch the dawg
I kick the cat
I beat the wife
With a bat
She called the cops
I'm in jail
Spendin' the night
Can't pay bail
While I'm here
I really hope
My hairy cellmate Bubba
Don't drop the soap
Now, isn't that a truly special song just ripe to bursting with wit, warmth, tasteful humor and a teeming surplus of poignant heartfelt humanity? Your darn totin' it sure is. Keep watching "American Idol" because I'm gonna be on it any day now.
I also act in hard-core porno films under the alias IGiveYouMyWood. Among the hard-core movies I've starred in are "Layin' the Ladies," "Stickin' It to Your Sister," "Lovin' My Cousin" (a Hillbilly Joe favorite), and the sentimental yuletide classic "Santa's Special Sausage." All these films and many more can be ordered from the following website: www.getmywood.com.
Moreover, I'm a shameless hack writer who does numerous film reviews and articles for such underground publications as "Vex," "Cult Movies" (my article on Bigfoot films was nominated for a Rondo Award in 2003, but alas I didn't win), "The Exploitation Journal," "Screem," and "Shock Cinema." I also write album reviews for a local Garden State rock zine called "Jersey Beat."
I average at one film comment a day on the IMDb and even write snappy little bios on such lesser known actors and actresses as Vic Diaz, Victor Israel, Joy Bang, Michael Ironside, Michelle Stacy, James Whitworth, Frances Raines, Roberta Collins, Rick Dean, Candice Rialson, Monica Gayle, Harley Cross, Bill Thurman, Michael Sopkiw, Nicholas Worth, Jennifer Ashley, Sondra Currie, Bruno VeSota, Sharon Kelly, Tim Thomerson, Tony Musante, Lina Romay, Pamela Franklin, Kelli Maroney, Jewel Shepard, Starr Andreeff, and Patty Shepard. I've also written bios for such directors as Richard Compton (R.I.P.), my good friend Keith Crocker, William Lustig, Jeff Lieberman, Jeff Burr, Fred Dekker, Kevin S. Tenney, Lewis Teague, Jack Arnold, Lee Frost, Don Edmonds, and Gary Sherman. In a pitiful attempt at displaying range and versatility, I've whipped up bios for longtime favorite singer/songwriters Kim Carnes, Carol Connors, Jackie DeShannon, John Prine, Joe South and Tony Joe White, country singers Dave Dudley and Eddie Rabbitt, blues singer/guitarist T-Model Ford, rock'n'roll guitarists Davie Allan and Link Wray, and crime novelist Charles Willeford. In fact, I have over 1,000 mini-bios posted all over the IMDb and am currently listed as #3 in the IMDb statistics top twenty list of writers on mini-bios. Plus I add pieces of trivia and quotes for folks all over the IMDb (one of the folks I've added several quotes for is none other than Fred Astaire!). Hell, I even add magazine interviews, pictorials and cover photos, too. And TV commercials, too. I'm not a prolific writer; I'm just a guy who writes a lot.
I would love to hear from film fans the world over. I hope you enjoy my writing and comments.
I own more DVDs than I care to list and have seen more movies than I would care to admit to. I average three or fours DVDs a week, so my collection gets bigger and bigger all the time. Before you ask, I store my DVDs in a very large basement. I also store the bodies of stray drifters I pick on the way home from work in my basement as well. Wait a minute; forget that last sentence. I actually eat as much of the bodies as I can (thus saving money on food so I can buy more DVDs) and burn what I can't eat in my incinerator (thus saving money on heating as well). When in Jersey be sure to stop by my house. I'd be glad to have you over for diner. However, you wouldn't be a guest in my house; you would be the main course instead. Cheers!
The need and desire to escape
Meek and hapless working class average guy Sam Lowry (a superb and sympathetic performance by Jonathan Pryce) yearns to escape via dreams from the oppressive totalitarian society that he feels trapped and confined in.
Director Terry Gilliam, who also co-wrote the biting script with Tom Stoppard and Charles McKeown, pokes savagely mocking fun at the pettiness, ineptitude, and stifling conformist nature of bureaucracy, maintains a deliciously dark'n'droll tone throughout, and presents a vivid and ingeniously designed alternative world that's both retro and futuristic in equal measure (in an especially inspired touch, the advanced technology in this world keeps on either malfunctioning or breaking down). Moreover, Gilliam further offers a touching and rousing ode to the triumph of the human spirit against extremely grim and daunting odds.
The sterling acting from the top-rate cast keeps this film humming: Robert De Niro as jolly domestic terrorist Harry Tuttle, Katherine Helmond as Sam's vain mother Ida, Ian Holm as uptight superior Mr. Kurtzmann, Bob Hoskins as vengeful repairman Spoor, Michael Palin as merry torturer Jack Lint, Kim Griest as feisty truck driver Jill Layton, Peter Vaughan as the doddery Mr. Helpman, and Jim Broadbent as proud plastic surgeon Dr. Jaffe. Roger Pratt's striking cinematography and Michael Kamen's jaunty score both score complete bull's eyes. But it's the quirky way this movie caters to the imagination and depicts man's capacity to dream with such bracing wit and joy that in turn gives this picture a tremendous surplus of pure heart and appeal. An offbeat treat.
Hard Times (1975)
Charles Bronson doesn't talk much, but he sure hits hard!
1933. Rugged drifter and loner Chaney (Charles Bronson in top tough and laconic form) joins forces with slick hustler Speed (smoothly played with tremendous panache by James Coburn) and his fidgety partner Poe (a marvelous portrayal by Strother Martin) in New Orleans so he can participate in rough'n'ready bare knuckle matches in order to scrounge up enough cash to get by.
Director Walter Hill, who also co-wrote the terse and to the point script with Bryan Gindoff and Bruce Henstall, relates the spare, yet still gripping story at a steady pace, offers a flavorsome evocation of the seedy Big Easy setting, astutely nails the raw desperation that was rife in the culture during the Great Depression, and stages several brutal fight scenes with trademark muscular brio. Better still, the narrative has a wonderfully stark stripped-down simplicity to it, with a refreshing dearth of needless pretense, lots of choice pithy dialogue, and a welcome emphasis on revealing insight into the characters more through what they do than with anything they say.
Bronson excels as a strong silent type that's perfectly suited to his stoic persona and expressive physical acting prowess. Moreover, there are commendable supporting contributions from Jill Ireland as the forlorn Lucy Simpson, Margaret Blythe as Speed's sassy gal pal Gayleen Schoonover, Michael McGuire as slippery wealthy high roller Gandil, Felice Orlandi as the slimy Le Beau, Edward Walsh as mean swindler Pettibon, and Bruce Glover as wormy loan shark Doty. In addition, Bronson takes on two worthy opponents: Robert Tessier as the fearsome Jim Henry and Nick Dimitri as the quietly intimidating Street, who in a nice touch turns out to have a code of honor. Both Barry De Vorzon's harmonic score and Philip H. Lathrop's sharp widescreen cinematography are up to par as well. An on the money winner.
Cool Hand Luke (1967)
Cool Hand Luke just can't follow the rules, boss
Rebellious loner and nonconformist Cool Hand Luke (Paul Newman at his most amiable and charismatic) runs afoul of a repressive penal system after he's sentenced to serve time on a chain gang in the Deep South.
Director Stuart Rosenberg astutely captures the sweltering heat and oppressive nature of the prison farm, relates the absorbing story at a constant pace, and keeps the Christ allegory aspect front and center without ever getting too heavy-handed about it. The sinewy script by Don Pearce and Frank Pierson not only offers plenty of sharp dialogue and bracing wit (the egg-eating contest is an absolute hoot!), but also provides a profound and provocative parable on mainstream society's gross intolerance of anybody who dares to march to the beat of their own drum instead of toeing the line and following the herd.
The terrific acting by the bang-up cast warrants praise for sure: George Kennedy totally deserved his Oscar for his wonderfully robust portrayal of hearty top con Dragline, Strother Martin delivers a deliciously despicable turn as the serenely wicked warden, and Jo Van Fleet shines in a touching cameo as Luke's sickly mother Arletta. The inmates are vividly filled out by such familiar faces as Clifton James, J.D. Cannon, Anthony Zerbe (fine film debut as slimy trustee Dog Boy), Wayne Rogers, Harry Dean Stanton (who gets to sing several songs), a young and goofy Dennis Hopper, Ralph "Pa Walton" Waite, Robert Drivas, and Joe Don Baker. The guys portraying the guards are likewise excellent: Luke Askew (genuinely chilling), Robert Donner, and Charles Tyner amongst them, although it's Morgan Woodward who makes the strongest impression as the fearsome and reticent man with no eyes. Joy Harmon has a memorably sexy bit as a tasty blonde tease. Kudos are also in order for both Conrad Hall's crisp widescreen cinematography and Lalo Schifrin's harmonic score. Worthy of its classic status.
The Shining (1980)
An extended stay at the Overlook Hotel could cost you your sanity
Aspiring writer and recovering alcoholic Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson giving one of his most zestful and inspired full-tilt nutso performances) takes a job as caretaker of the large posh Overlook Hotel while it's closed for the winter off season. However, a maleficent supernatural presence in the hotel eventually drives Torrance dangerously around the bend.
Director Stanley Kubrick relates the absorbing story at a leisurely, yet still hypnotic pace, makes excellent extensive use of the sprawling main location, says something profound and disturbing about the horrors of narcissism in which people are too self-absorbed to see the insanity going on in others around them until it's too late, further spruces things up with a wickedly funny sense of pitch-black humor, and adroitly crafts a powerfully intense, oppressive, and unsettling gloom-doom atmosphere that really gets under the viewer's skin.
While Nicholson has been fiercely criticized for going way over the top as Torrance from the get go, Wacky Jack nonetheless deserves praise for totally throwing himself into the juicy role and provides a hugely entertaining spectacle when he completely flips his wig in the delirious last third. (It's also the key grim point of the picture that Torrance clearly isn't stable even at the beginning, but everyone else in his immediate proximity is too caught up in their own little worlds to realize the obvious about him.) Moreover, there are sterling contributions from Shelley Duvall as the mousy Wendy, Danny Lloyd as sensitive little boy Danny, Scatman Crothers as easygoing psychic cook Hallorann, Barry Nelson as polite manager Ullman, Philp Stone as the serenely pernicious Grady, and Joe Turkel as friendly bartender Lloyd. John Alcott's sumptuous cinematography boasts plenty of exquisitely fluid and elongated tracking shots. The rattling and majestic orchestral score by Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind hits the spine-tingling spot. Essential viewing.
13 game sayawng (2006)
Jumping down the rabbit hole out of dire necessity
Destitute and down on his luck Puchit (a sound and sympathetic performance by Krissada Sukosol) agrees to participate in a mysterious clandestine reality show in which he must complete thirteen challenges of increasing difficulty and severity in order to win a substantial amount of prize money.
Director Chookiat Sakveerakal, who also co-wrote the smart script with Eakasit Thairaat, keeps the clever and gripping story moving along at a fitful pace, grounds the ingenious premise in a thoroughly plausible workaday reality, generates a tremendous amount of nerve-rattling tension, ably crafts a tone that starts out fairly light and playful, but becomes more dark and unsettling as the bleak narrative unfolds towards a genuinely startling surprise grim ending, makes a profound point about the desperate measures some people will resort to in order to get out of a dismal rut that they feel trapped in, and tops everything off with a wickedly funny sense of pitch-black humor, with an excrement eating scene set in a restaurant rating as a definite hilariously disgusting highlight. Sukosol does an ace job of carrying the whole film on his likeable shoulders. Achita Sikamana lends sturdy support as the concerned Tong. The final explanation at the end is quite sad and heartbreaking. An excellent film.
A very tedious haunted house clunker
Newlywed couple Carol and Johnathan purchase a house that turns out to be haunted by the unrestful ghosts of a previous married pair who committed suicide in said abode.
Writer/director Andy Milligan not only lets the dull and hackneyed story plod along at a painfully lethargic pace, but also crucially fails to generate any essential tension or spooky atmosphere. Moreover, the uneven acting is decidedly hit or miss, although Michael Chiodo and Leslie Van Dooven are likeable enough as our imperiled protagonists. The shoddy (less than) special effects are a really sorry sight to behold, with moving objects often manipulated onscreen by obvious clearly seen wires. The gore f/x are likewise extremely hokey and unconvincing. Some fairly exciting last reel action proves to be a case of too little too late. A total snorefest.
Playboy Plus (2009)
Lots of hot nude women from all around the world
Playboy Plus is a great website to check out if you like tastefully done videos and photo shoots of hot naked women from all around the world. Blondes, redheads, and brunettes are all present and accounted for in all shapes, colors, and sizes (breasts and body types alike). Naturally, a majority of the luscious unclad ladies featured on Playboy Plus hail from America, but fortunately there are also yummy honeys from such places as England, Australia, and especially the Ukraine who are more than willing to bare their delectable wares in the name of art. Best of all, the gals often show the whole package, but do so in a manner that's almost never sleazy or pornographic. Overall, an excellent website for all you avid girl watchers out there.
Empire of the Ants (1977)
A fun piece of 70's drive-in horror junk
Slick and conniving scam artist real estate agent Margaret Fraser (a respectable performance by the ever-classy Joan Collins) tries to sell some bogus property to a motley assortment of folks on an island that's been overrun by lethal giant ants.
Boy, does this gloriously ghastly low-budget atrocity possess all the right wrong stuff to qualify as a real four-star stinkeroonie: Ham-fisted (mis)direction by Bert I. Gordon, a laughably ludicrous premise that's played ridiculously straight, hilariously horrendous (far from) special effects, clumsily staged ant attack scenes, and even a heavy-handed pro-ecology message on the dangers of illegally dumped radioactive waste all ensure that this honey rates as a choice tasty slice of prime cinematic Velveeta. The able cast do their proverbial best with the absurd material: Robert Lansing as tough two-fisted boat captain Dan Stokely, John David Carson as dashing deadbeat Joe Morrison, Albert Salmi as the brainwashed Sheriff Art Kincade, Pamela Susan Shoop as the foxy Coreen Bradford, Jacqueline Scott as the poised Margaret Ellis, Robert Pine as sniveling coward Larry Graham, and Edward Power as the shifty Charlie Pearson. A total schlocky hoot and a half.
Ewoks: The Battle for Endor (1985)
An army of nasty marauders led by the evil Terak (hulking Carol Struycken) and assisted by wicked witch Charal (a pleasingly sinister performance by Sian Phillips) threaten the peaceful existence of the Ewoks. Noble Ewok warrior Wicket (endearing Warwick Davis) and sweet Cindel (adorable Aubree Miller) seek the aide of cantankerous old hermit Noa (Wilford Brimley in fine crusty form) to make a stand against 'em.
Writers/directors Jim and Ken Wheat keep the gripping and thrilling story moving at a constant pace, maintain a surprisingly pretty dark and serious tone throughout, present a nifty array of gnarly creatures, and stage the stirring action sequences with skill and aplomb. Moreover, Wicket and the other Ewoks are not only cuddly and lovable, but also impress as genuinely brave, smart, and resourceful fighters. Moreover, impish and speedy woodland sprite Teek almost steals the whole show from the Ewoks. The funky old school practical f/x possess a certain rough'n'ready organic appeal. Isidore Mankofsky's polished cinematography makes cool occasional use of wipes. Peter Bernstein's robust score hits the rousing spot. A super fun and enjoyable affair.
A prime piece of 70's drive-in hicksploitation trash
Wily and charismatic con man preacher Amos T. Huxley (smoothly played by Albert T. Viola, who also directed and co-wrote the bold script) runs a number on his congregation by pocketing all their donations for himself, sets up a successful moonshine operation, and even makes moves on enticing blonde tramp Mary Lou (essayed with sass and spunk by the yummy Ilene Kristen).
Viola keeps the enjoyably racy story racing along at a brisk pace, offers a tasty evocation of the downhome country setting complete with broad, but affectionately drawn hick caricatures, maintains a delightfully cheeky tone throughout, and sprinkles in a satisfying smattering of delicious bare female flesh. Moreover, Viola has a field day with his juicy lead role; Huxley's fiery sermon on lust and temptation in particular is a hysterical gem. The supporting cast are likewise quite lively and entertaining: Adam Hesse as no-count troublemaker Clyde, Esty F. Davis Jr. as Mary Lou's peppery poppa Judd, Bill Sampson as the hard-nosed Sheriff Zero Bull, and Garland Atkins as the eager, but inept Deputy Leon. The luscious Colleen McGee has a memorably sexy bit as the delectable Lady in Red. The sprightly score by W. Henry Smith and Roland Pope hits the spirited spot. An absolute hoot and a half.
The Ewok Adventure (1984)
A nice little sci-fi family adventure romp
The Ewoks befriend and come to the aid of human children Mace (likeable Eric Walker) and Cindel (adorable Aubree Miller), who have to rescue their parents from a ferocious behemoth monster known as the Gorax.
Director John Korty relates the simple and engrossing tale of love, loyalty, strength, and courage at a steady pace, maintains a warm and pleasant tone throughout, and presents a neat array of gnarly creatures. The Ewoks prove to be not only cuddly and endearing teddy bears, but also very brave, smart, and resourceful warriors, with Warwick Davis as the endearing Wickett and Kevin Thompson as the valiant Chukha-Trok rating as particular stand-outs. Guy Boyd and Fionnula Flanagan do solid work as the imperiled adults. The folksy narration by Burl Ives and the funky old school practical effects further enhance this movie's considerable charm. Both Korty's bright cinematography and Peter Bernstein's gentle harmonic score are up to par. A fun film.
Jeff Wilson (a solid and engaging performance by Don Jones), who's a big city cop with country roots, goes undercover in a sleepy small podunk town to get the goods on a moonshine operation run by a feisty woman with three hot young daughters.
Director Will Zens offers a flavorsome evocation of the downhome backwoods setting complete with a neat array of colorful redneck characters, maintains a likeable lighthearted tone throughout, keeps the slight, but enjoyable story moving along at a fitful pace, and stages a few lively car chases with aplomb. Moreover, the presence of several hot hillbilly gals certainly doesn't hurt matters in the least. Charles Elledge contributes an amusing turn as the bumbling fat sheriff. W. Henry Smith's jaunty banjo score hits the sprightly spot. Pretty insubstantial stuff, but a pleasant enough diversion just the same.
Hilarious slasher spoof
A psycho called The Lawnmower Killer who wears a pumpkin over his head and kills folks with a you-know-what terrorizes a small town. It's up to dogged and disheveled detective Dick Harbinger (robustly played by Joe Don Baker) to stop him.
Director Greydon Clark keeps the enjoyably inane story moving along at a brisk pace, maintains an amiable tongue-in-cheek tone throughout, and pokes merry madcap fun at everything from "Psycho" to "Halloween" to "The Exorcist." Moreover, it's acted with zest by an enthusiastic cast: George Kennedy as leering voyeur Mr. Doctor Graves (he loves to peep on his daughter), Stella Stevens as the ditsy Mrs. Doctor Graves, Julia Duffy as the sweet Mary, Anthony James as freaky gardener Zeke, Elizabeth Daily as the bubbly Bambi, Sonny Carl Davis as an annoying weirdo, David Drucker as a raving bald looney, Charles Napier as the huffy Chief O'Hara, and, in his film debut, Andrew Dice Clay as super cool dude Tony Schlongini. Sure, this flick is extremely dopey and the humor is anything but subtle, but it's often funny and has a certain zany spirit to it that's impossible to either resist or dislike. An absolute hoot.
Teresa Graves shines in this fun TV movie
Brash policewoman Christie Love (a delightfully sassy and spirited performance by
Teresa Graves) goes undercover to get the good on a nefarious heroin drug ring.
Director William A. Graham keeps the enjoyable and engrossing story moving along at a snappy pace, maintains a reasonably tough tone throughout, stages the exciting action set pieces with aplomb and competence, and tops everything off with an amusing sense of saucy humor. Graves brings a winning blend of spunk, sharp wit, and seriously smoldering sexiness to her juicy lead role; she receives sturdy support from Harry Guardino as gruff disapproving superior Captain Casey Reardon, Louise Sorel as the haughty Helena Varga, Paul Stevens as smooth ringleader Enzo Cortino, Lynne Holmes as pathetic junkie snitch Celia Jackson, and Tito Vandis as the antsy Spiliolis. The groovy score by Jack Elliott and Allyn Ferguson hits the swinging spot. A nifty teleflick.
Angel Unchained (1970)
An on the money biker film
Disaffected biker Angel (well played with brooding intensity by Don Stroud) decides to quit the motorcycle club he's a member of. Angel decides to join a hippie commune. Complications ensue when the local rednecks start putting serious heat on the hippies for being different.
Director Lee Madden relates the engrossing story at a brisk pace, maintains a generally serious tone throughout, and stages the exciting rough'n'ready action set pieces with flair and skill (a lively rumble between two biker gangs set in an amusement park rates as a definite stirring highlight). Jeffrey Irving Fiskan's thoughtful script offers strong themes about finding yourself, mainstream society's gross intolerance of anyone who defies the status quo, and how sometimes certain circumstances necessitate fighting fire with fire. The sound acting by the capable cast holds this picture together: Luke Askew as peaceful commune leader Jonathan Tremaine, Larry Bishop as loyal biker buddy Pilot, a pre-"Cagney & Lacey" Tyne Daly as the sweet Marilee, Bill McKinney as the belligerent Shotgun, and T. Max Graham as amiable goofball Magician. Aldo Ray has an amusing small role as a laidback sheriff. Irving Lippman's sunny cinematography and the melodic score by Randy Sparks are both up to par, too. A satisfying little flick.
Chtoby vyzhit (1992)
A movie so masculine, it will make you grow hair in places you thought hair couldn't grow
Rough'n'tumble Afghan war veteran Oleg (rugged Vladimir Menshov) agrees to drive a caravan smuggling drugs and guns across the desert after his son gets abducted by some no-count scumbags.
This supremely tough and sinewy action opus has a lot going for it: Lots of stuff blows up real good (according to the trailer, 17 helicopters and 42 automobiles were destroyed during the making of this film), gloriously excessive bloody violence, laughably atrocious English dubbing that's on the same endearingly lousy level as an 80's Italian action outing, loads of folks are killed left and right, and the whole shebang positively drips with testosterone from every last brawny frame, with a cool assortment of mighty macho men busting mad booty like nobody's business and women relegated to minor nonspeaking roles. On the debit side, the insufferable whiny son character is really hard to stomach and the pace drags in spots due to the bloated 112 minute running time. But overall this movie hits the spot like a strong shot of prime vodka.
Hit Lady (1974)
Cool 70's TV movie
Artist Angela de Vries (well played by the stunning Yvette Mimieux, who also wrote the succinct script) works as a mob assassin on the side. Complications ensure when Angela starts having second thoughts about what she does for a living.
Capably directed by Tracy Keenan Wynn, with an absorbing story that unfolds at a steady pace, a somber tone, an exciting car chase that's staged with skill and flair, and a real zinger of a surprise downbeat ending, this vintage 70's Aaron Spelling TV production makes for an enjoyable watch. The sound acting by the sturdy cast helps a lot: Joseph Campanella as amiable tycoon Jeffrey Baine, Clu Gulager as pushy and smarmy jerk contractor Roarke, Dack Rambo as dashing hunk boyfriend Doug Reynolds, Keenan Wynn as hearty rancher Buddy McCormack, Roy Jenson as tough bodyguard Eddie, and Paul Genge as the hard-nosed Webb. Better still, the lovely Mrs. Mimieux looks like a million bucks in fancy designer threads and even shows off a very impressive right'n'tight slender figure while parading about in a bikini. An entertaining teleflick.
The Driller Killer (1979)
Raw sleaze that positively oozes blood and despair
Struggling artist Reno (an intense performance by Abel Ferrara, who also directed) gets driven around the end and embarks on a grisly murderous spree because of the nightmarish urban hell he feels inescapably trapped in.
Ferrara relates the meandering, but still engrossing story at a deliberate pace, offers a vivid evocation of the harsh and unsparing inner city cesspool environment, makes nice use of the grungy locations, and delivers a satisfying smattering of graphic gore along with some tasty gratuitous female nudity. Galvanized by a raucous punk soundtrack, with a strong feeling of urban angst and an underlying abject fear of both poverty and homosexuality (Reno kills his strictly male victims with a phallic portable drill -- draw you own conclusion on that one), this choice chunk of celluloid rotgut has the pungent stench of ugly reality emanating from every last filthy frame.
Chrome and Hot Leather (1971)
An on the money 70's biker opus
Green Beret Mitch (a sturdy portrayal by Tony Young) goes after a gang of bikers led by the redoubtable T.J. (the almighty Big Bill Smith in peak fearsome and imposing form) who are responsible for the murder of his fiancé Kathy (a pre-Charlie's Angels" Cheryl Ladd in her film debut).
Tightly directed by ace exploitation maestro Lee Frost (who also did the sharp cinematography), with an absorbing story that unfolds at a constant pace, a reasonably gritty tone, a credibly mangy bunch of Harley hounds, and a couple of exciting action set pieces that are staged with skill and flair, this B-flick makes for an entertaining watch. Moreover, it's cool to see several Vietnam veterans take on an outlaw biker gang. The rock-solid cast rates as another substantial asset: Marvin Gaye contributes an engaging low-key turn as the laid-back Jim, Larry Bishop does his usual commendable work as easygoing pinball addict Gabe, Kathrine Baumann cuts a foxy figure as sexy motorcycle mama Susan, Bobby Pickett provides amusing comic relief as amiable goofball Sweet William, and underrated character actor Robert Ridgely has a neat small role as helpful weapons expert Sgt. Mack. Right-on groovy soundtrack, too. A worthy entry in the chopper genre.
The Cycle Savages (1969)
Neat piece of prime biker trash
Sketch artist Romko (a solid and likeable performance by Charles Robinson) runs afoul of a gang of vicious bikers led by the deranged and dangerous Keeg (Bruce Dern in top-rate intense freaky form) who don't like it when they catch him drawing pictures of them.
Writer/director Bill Brame relates the enjoyably sordid story at a constant pace, maintains a pretty harsh tone throughout, and stages the rough'n'ready fisticuffs with aplomb. Moreover, Dern attacks his trademark grungy hairball psycho role with characteristic lip-smacking gusto, the luscious Melody Patterson of "F Troop" fame contributes an appealing portrayal of the sweet Lea (and almost, but not quite bares her delectable wares while posing nude for Romko), famous disc jockey Casey Kasem has a cool cameo as Keeg's smarmy flesh-peddler brother, Maray Ayres smolders as foxy motorcycle mama Sandy, and Scott Brady pops up in an uncredited minor role as a gruff detective. Jerry Styner's groovy score hits the right-on funky-grinding spot. Cinematographer Frank Ruttencutter makes occasional exciting use of a hand-held camera. A fun drive-in flick.
Excellent making of doc
This 31-minute retrospective documentary covers a lot of interesting and informative ground on the making of the British giant monster opus "Gorgo." Among the things we learn are that director Eugene Lourie was born in Russia and began his film career as a production designer, both Tokyo, Japan and Paris, France were initially considered as locations to set the story in, hydraulics were used to animate the monsters, the camera was over-cranked for the scenes of mass destruction, and this picture had its premiere in Tokyo, where it was a big hit. Moreover, several people in uncredited bit roles are also pointed out. Recommended viewing for fans of the film.
The Mini-Skirt Mob (1968)
Fun distaff biker romp
Shayne (sharply played by Diane McBain) is the ruthless leader of the motorcycle gang the Mini-Skirt Mob. Angry and jealous that her ex-lover Jeff Logan (a likeable Ross Hagen) has dumped her in favor of Connie (an appealing portrayal by the insanely foxy Sherry Jackson), Shayne decides to terrorize said couple.
Director Maury Dexter keeps the enjoyable story moving along at a constant pace, maintains a pretty serious tone throughout, and stages the rough'n'ready action in a competent manner. Harry Dean Stanton lends sturdy support as goofball Spook, who towards the end turns out to be nowhere near as dim-witted as he outwardly appears to be. Patty McCormack as the sweet Edie likewise does a respectable job with her role and suffers an especially nasty fiery demise. Jeremy Slate as the antagonistic Lon also makes a favorable impression. Moreover, it's a kick to see a biker flick with a pronounced female slant to it instead of the usual male macho-o-rama. Catchy theme song, too. A neat little B-movie.
Final Chapter: Walking Tall (1977)
Good return to form
Rough'n'tumble maverick sheriff Buford Pusser (a fine and credible performance by Bo Svenson) finds himself falling out of favor with the people in the small town he enforces the law in and faces an uncertain future after he's voted out of office. Moreover, the local mob plot to take him out.
Directed with trademark muscular aplomb by Jack Starrett, with a strong script by Howard B. Kreitsek and Samuel A. Peoples, an engrossing story that unfolds at a constant pace, a few potent moments of bloody'n'brutal violence, a tough serious tone, an interesting subtext concerning changing social mores and victims of progress, and several exciting and well-staged action set pieces, this film packs essentially the same fierce punch as the excellent original. Furthermore, it's compelling to see Pusser try to do something else with his life besides being a lawman and eventually cutting a deal with Hollywood types who want to make a movie about his exploits because he desperately needs the money.
Svenson gets to show a greater range of emotion this time out and rises well to that particular challenge. In addition, there are sound supporting contributions from Forrest Tucker as Buford's hearty dad, Sandy McPeak as helpful lawyer buddy Lloyd Tatum, Logan Ramsey as slimy toad John Witter, Dawn Lynn as Buford's spunky daughter Dwana, Margaret Blythe as the sultry Luan, Libby Boone as smitten secretary Joan, H. B. Haggerty as the brutish Bulo, and Morgan Woodward as fearsome bigwig the Boss. Robert B. Hauser's polished cinematography boasts the occasional snazzy visual flourish. A worthy closer.
The Wicker Man (1973)
An outstanding and unsettling film
Uptight and puritanical devout Christian cop Sgt. Howie (superbly played to the rigid hilt by Edward Woodward) goes to a remote Scottish village to search for a missing girl. Howie encounters a peculiar, yet seemingly peaceful pagan cult led by the charismatic Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee at his most personable and persuasive). However, said cult may not be nearly as benign as they outwardly appear to be.
Director Robin Hardy relates the absorbing story at a steady pace, handles the strong and provocative subject matter about radically opposing religious principles and perspectives with care and intelligence, astutely pegs a happy and charming quality that slowly, but surely becomes more increasingly grim and upsetting as the narrative progresses towards a shocking downbeat conclusion, and tops everything off with a wickedly playful sense of merry perverse humor.
Anthony Shaffer's sharp and literate script brilliantly subverts the old standard cornball notion about the enduring strength of faith: Howie's staunch adherence to his deeply felt Christian beliefs enables him to die instead of giving him the ability to survive and live to see another day. Another ingenious and inspired touch is that horrible and disturbing things happen in the bright daylight rather than at night like in more generic horror fare. Moreover, this film further benefits from fine acting by Diane Cilento as sweet school teacher Miss Rose, Britt Ekland as the enticing Willow, Ingrid Pitt as a foxy librarian, Lindsey Kemp as easygoing innkeeper Alder MacGregor, Aubrey Morris as a creepy gravedigger, and Ian Campbell as hulking brute Oak. Kudos are also in order for Harry Waxman's lovely cinematography and Paul Giovanni's jaunty score. Totally deserving of its sterling reputation.
Excellent making of documentary
This 43-minute retrospective documentary covers a lot of interesting and illuminating ground on the making of "Cujo." Director Lewis Teague calls the film his greatest work and goes into fascinating detail on how particular moments in the movie were done using various different elements. Stephen King expert Douglas Winter identifies "Cujo" as one of King's darkest and most claustrophobic books as well as reveals that King preferred the film's upbeat ending to the downbeat ending in his novel. Dee Wallace describes her part as a tour-de-force role for a woman. Danny Pintauro admits that be bit Wallace's fingers for real during the seizure scene. Composer Charles Bernstein points out that about 80% of his score is warm type of music. Cinematographer Jan de Bont talks at length about the difficulties of shooting inside the car. In addition, no one is able to correctly remember exactly how many different dogs were used to play Cujo. Recommended viewing for fans of the film.