Monday, April 30, 2012

Exploitation & B-Movie Challenge - Final Days & Wrap Up

The last week or so of this challenge was a struggle. Watching all of these movies this month was a blast but I was starting to feel a little burnt out over the last few days so the number of movies watched wasn't as high as I'd like it to be to finish things out. But there was some fun to be had...

Salon Kitty... what can I say about this other than it's Tinto Brass being as trashy and ridiculous as he could be. A whole bunch of naked women and Nazis. The plot is based on true events of the Gestapo taking over a brothel and placing trained agents to do the work of the prostitutes in order to spy and gain information. It's a pretty out there film filled with show tunes and weird sex. It's actually not half bad though and was definitely entertaining.

Next up was a movie from a director I'm a big fan of... Suspected Death Of A Minor (or Suspicious...) directed by Sergio Martino. This is a poliziotteschi filled with goofball humor. This isn't the best or most exciting  example of Euro-crime but it's well made and acted and is worth a watch if you're a fan of the genre or Martino. Solid.

Then came Schoolgirl Report #8: What Parents Must Never Know. I reviewed the DVD in my last entry and if you haven't read it, you can do so HERE

I watched 4 documentaries this month on various sorts of exploitation films and I think this one might be my favorite. Not Quite Hollywood focuses on Ozploitation films that you may or may not know about. It definitely opened my eyes to some new stuff I will be checking out in the future. If you haven't seen it and don't know too much about the Aussie exports of B-Movie goodness go find this and watch it. Extremely informative and entertaining. It's also the first time I've seen Quentin Tarantino do an interview and think he didn't do the WHOLE bag of cocaine, ha!

A few beers later I threw on Death Wish 4: The Crackdown. This is the 2nd to last entry in the series and I have to say, my least favorite of the first 4. It wasn't bad, but the quality certainly took a dive, largely in part due to this being the first entry that Michael Winner didn't direct. It had enough Bronson badassery but felt cheaper and blander.

And the month gets finished off with another film from Norifumi Suzuki (School of the Holy Beast). I really wanted to make sure I got to watch this during the month, and I'm pretty pleased with it being my last viewing of the challenge. Sex & Fury stars Reiko Ike and co-stars the incredibly gorgeous Christina Lindberg. This is a twisting tale of criminals and spies and sex and murder. The story is a bit slow through the middle but Suzuki's great direction and the sex and fury more than make up for it. There are some more incredible shots here that rival some of those in School of the Holy Beast. Entertaining and well made.

The Wrap Up 
April is a rather blah month most of the time. Allergies begin to wreck lives, the weather is all over the place, nothing exciting happens, taxes taxes taxes and you are just close enough to summer vacations and beach beers to get bummed when you realize they're still a couple of months away. This challenge which is organized and run through is now wrapping up it's 3rd year and this is my first actively participating. It is a full 6 months away from their horror challenge so that they don't interfere with each other and it is a welcome event in a nerd such as I's schedule. While the end of this challenge and I didn't have the best time together with getting burnt out on movie watching, this was a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to next year. 

The Stats
Challenge Length: 31 days
Total Films Watched: 65- No goal set but a respectable total I think. I'd like to try and not get burned out towards the end next year.
1st Time Viewings: 61 - About 94% new viewings, success!
Best Movie Watched: Lone Wolf And Cub 4: Baby Cart In Peril - Just pure greatness. I'm taking a short break from the series until I finish it so I don't water them down with each other.
Worst Movie Watched: Slaughter Party - Not only the worst of this challenge but on of the worst I've ever seen. How does Troma release so much bullshit?
Biggest Surprise: Bells Of Death - This was a total cheapie blind buy about a week before the challenge began. I got it to use in the challenge and hoped for the best. It was a big surprise how much I liked it.
Biggest Disappointment: Between God, The Devil, And A Winchester - I think I mentioned how long I'd been wanting to see this one and how much I love the title. It was such a bummer when it wasn't great, or even very good.
Average Rating: I totally forgot to keep track of my scores for each film and it wouldn't work trying to give them a score now. Whoops.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Schoolgirl Report # 8: What Parents Must Never Know DVD Review

Directed By: Ernst Hofbauer
Written By: Gunther Heller
Starring: Wolf Ackva, Puppa Armbruster, Sandra Atia, Astrid Boner
Color/87 Minutes/Not Rated

The Film
The 1970s were a beautiful time for all sorts of cinema. It seems that every type of movie you could think of was able to make money and get played in theaters. There were countless theaters that carried adult films of both the XXX and softcore varieties. You'll be hard pressed to find a theater like that today. During that decade a series of films came out of Germany called Schoolgirl Report. These films were based on a book featuring interviews with girls about their sex lives. These films had traces of elements of more "legitimate" sex-education films but audiences flocked to the theaters for their essentially purely exploitative nature.

An all girls class is on a bus heading for a rural farm for a field trip to learn about Biology. These girls, who are almost all very promiscuous, share their various romps with each other that we get to see through glorious flashbacks. From a girl seducing her family's gardener and a girl hiding her pregnancy from her powerful father to girls losing their clothes while skinny dipping and another having to sleep with her father's boss to help him keep his job. There is little left to the imagination with the girls who are gorgeous. SCHOOLGIRL REPORT #8 has a hefty dose of comedy as well that works well with the stories and can be genuinely funny at times. If you're among the crowd that can be entertained by softcore porn and appreciate a good story with your naked ladies than you will find plenty to enjoy here.

The Picture
SCHOOLGIRL REPORT #8 is presented in an anamorphic widescreen 1.66:1 ratio and looks good. There are times, mostly early on in the film where there is speckling or dirt and debris however it doesn't distract from the film. The healthy grain level transports us back to the days when this would be playing in a theater with a real film print and a real projectionist. The dirt and debris actually serves to remind us of those days and aren't a problem. The Impulse Pictures line from Synapse Films has done a nice job with this release.

The Audio
The audio track is clear and free of any annoying hiss or crackling. A single track in the film's native German is offered up with removable English subtitles. A very suitable track for the film.

The Extras
The disc is rather bare bones with no actual extra features to speak of. The subtitles are newly translated and read quite well.

The Bottom Line
Impulse Pictures continues their release of this German sexploitation series with another stand up release that exploitation nuts will enjoy. While it would be nice to have some extra features on this disc we must ask ourselves- Are we really watching SCHOOLGIRL REPORT for the extra features? No, we're not. It's great to have someone as loving and capable as Impulse Pictures to bless us with these movies.


Disc Overview 
Film - 8/10
Picture - 7/10
Audio - 8/10

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Exploitation/B-Movie Challenge Day 22-24

Day 22 was spent totally out of the house hanging out with friends. It was a much needed day off from the murder, rape, cowboys and samurai that have filled the month.

Over the next 2 days I got back on track with 4 movies. The first of which was something I felt was necessary for the challenge and one I hadn't visited in a while. Fight For Your Life is a true piece of exploitation culture. Racism and violence run rampant and even the protagonists have a little bit of hatred in them. No one is free of hate's grip. This film will sit with you long after you're finished watching it. A truly great film, with a fantastic performance from William Sanderson.

I'd never seen a Death Wish sequel prior to this challenge. I actually haven't seen the first one in a long time either and I don't own it... I need to get on that. The triple pack with DW 2-4 had been awaiting me to bust in to it and I finally did. Death Wish 2 was just a pure tale of revenge. You fuck with Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) and he'll fuck you harder. A few familiar faces among the crowd too. As violent and vengeful as you'd expect.

Death Wish 3 was a bit more over the top with Bronson's Kersey character being a vigilante for an entire slum neighborhood. I love movies about "protectin ya hood" from the crime and grime that the cops will have no part of controlling. This is never dull and full of the same violence and bloodshed (though a bit cheesier in it's delivery). A few more familiar faces among the crowd here that are fun to pick out.

Finally I needed a change from watching Charles Bronson and needed something more attractive so I went with Private Duty Nurses from the Corman Nurses Collection DVD. It was a time waster before bed. There are attractive ladies but other than that it was fairly boring for the most part. Typical of the other 2 movies I've watched this month from the DVD set it involves a few young nurses getting involved in various situations inside and outside of the hospital. This is my least favorite of the set so far.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Exploitation/B-Movie Challenge Day 20-21

The twentieth day of the challenge was reserved for a pair of Spaghetti Westerns I've wanted to see for a long time but never got around to them. They are both considered classics in the genre and are voted in the top 20 of the genre on the SW Database website.

First up is The Big Gundown. To put it simply this is great stuff, and deserving of it's place among the likes of The Man With No Name Trilogy and Django. Starring a couple staples of the genre in Lee Van Cleef and Tomas Milian in a great game of cat and mouse. Violence and a dash of comedy are handled with precision by writers Sergio Donatio and Sergio Sollima (who directed as well). The last 20 minutes of this are brilliant. Any fan of the genre will appreciate this one.

Run Man, Run was next and is a sequel to TBG. This one focuses on Tomas Milian's character and is a bit more heavy handed with the comedy bits which I feel doesn't work quite as well. That said, this one is also deserving of it's spot on the SWDB spot as the 20th best film in the genre, which is no joke. Directed again by Sergio Sollima the story flows fine and there is plenty of gunplay and fun. More good stuff.

The next day was 4/20. I didn't get in anything related to smoking weed, I did get in something to go along with Hitler's birthday. Ilsa, Harem Keeper Of The Oil Sheiks. While technically not a nazisploitation film, Ilsa was a Nazi and is now working with middle eastern baddies. This movie is ridiculous. It's a little longer than need be but there is some incredibly over the top stuff going on. A big man being held prisoner has to fight two women who proceed to each grab a nut and rip it off. Ilsa tortures a woman with a vibrator weapon until her stomach explodes... CLIMAX! If you're into trashy, over the top sex and violence than this is for you.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Exploitation/B-Movie Challenge Day 18-19

Head over to the Facebook page for info on the latest DVD giveaway! Contest ends Sunday 4/22

I needed some Shaw Brothers in my life to start day 18. I had planned for a double feature but only got to one. It's okay because the one I did get to was great.

Killer Clans has tons of weapon and kung-fu action, cool sets, good acting and stylish directing. And surprisingly no white power, ha! This can be held among the more popular top tier titles from Shaw Bros and it would be able to hold it's own.

Between God, The Devil, And A Winchester was a spaghetti western I'd been longing to see solely based on the title for a few years now. I love the title. The mental images I dreamed up from it were great. The movie itself... not so much. It wasn't terrible per se but it was a very bland western take on Treasure Island. The characters were boring, the story was boring, the gun play was almost non existent. The best part towards the end only last a few seconds and ends up not being noteworthy. Just like the rest of the film. Shame.

I'm catching up on some documentaries that I've been meaning to see about exploitation films. Machete Maidens Unleashed focuses on the films made in the Philippines in the 60s-80s, with a main focus on the 70s. This was well made and entertaining with contributions from many of the directors and actors that took part in those films, and the girls the girls that were so often naked in these treasures of the film world. Not to mention Roger Corman himself. Highly recommended.

The Warrior And The Sorceress started was the first movie of the next day. John Carradine starts in this rather unremarkable film. There is some crappy sword fighting and some not so crappy ladies running around topless (it just doesn't get old) and a couple little monster things. Yea... that's about it.

And then came what has to be the most fun I've had watching a movie for the first time in all of 2012 so far... at least. Lone Wolf And Cub 4: Baby Cart In Peril.... fuck this was good. Damn good. I liked 3, which I watched earlier this month but it's my least favorite of the 4 I've seen. That said I still enjoyed it quite a bit. This one just completely kicks the shit out of it. The story is great, the characters, new and old are all great. There is FANFUCKINGTASTIC fight scenes almost non stop with more arterial sprays than you'd believe. I'm so excited for parts 5 and 6. Yes! Yes! Yes!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Exploitation/B-Movie Challenge Day 15-17

The midway point of the challenge has arrived and it started out with Baba Yaga. This is a Euro-sleaze title basically about some lesbianism and an old witch. For every positive it had a negative and every step forward it took a step back. Not awful, but it would have been better had it decided what it wanted to be.

Later that night I went to see Cabin In The Woods with a friend. I've been trying to stay away from any sort of horror for this challenge but I couldn't pass up seeing this. The audio was really fucked up in the theater so there were points of dialogue where I have no idea what they said (free passes for a future movie though!) but the movie was fun. It embraced every horror cliche it threw at you and it worked. The batshit insane last 20 minutes is hilarious.

Day 16 started off in after getting home from a party and I threw on a title from Troma's On Demand channel... Video Vixens. Let me tell you this was the 2nd title I watched from there this month and it will be the last. Ugh.

During the day of being hungover I threw on a double feature of Class of 1984 and Class of 1999. Both were entertaining but 1984 was the clear winner with a more realistic sense of relevancy and being simply better made. 1999 is a solid follow up and really amps up the cheese factor. 2 different beasts that somehow fit together. If you've never seen them I definitely suggest you at least check out Class of 1984.

The 3 day stretch was rounded out with only 1 movie on the last day... I just wasn't feeling it. Crime Zone. A moderately entertaining movie about a guy and a girl who are living in an oppressive post-apoc society and want to move up a class but find out they've been screwed by the cops when they got their chance. It wasn't awful but my love for Sherilynn Fenn of Twin Peaks fame definitely made me like it more than I would have had she not been present.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Exploitation/B-Movie Challenge Day 13-14

Days 13 and 14, April 12th and 13th were solid ones.

First up was Jackson County Jail, which was on a double feature with the previous days' Caged Heat. This wasn't the greatest thing in the world. Basically a jailbreak type movie and trying to escape the law because they screwed you. Stars a young Tommy Lee Jones.

After that I needed a break from all the Women In Prison and rape/revenge type movies I had been watching so I threw on pure B-Movie gold with Jason And The Argonauts. Classic adventure story with timeless effects by Ray Harryhausen. This was a big change of pace from anything I had been watching and it really help rejuvenate me.

This day ended with Lone Wolf And Cub 3: Baby Cart To Hades. I spent the first 30 minutes of this movie trying to decide if I had seen it or not. It felt really familiar but if I had seen it I was too drunk to remember what happened so it was another first time viewing. Of the first 3 movies in the series this will be my least favorite. Not that it isn't good or entertaining, which it is, it is just lacking the flare of the previous entries which make them special. I still cannot wait to finish the series.

The next day started with an early morning viewing of Godzilla: Final Wars. What screams B-Movie more than guys in rubber suits, right? I love Godzilla endlessly so it was essential that I get at least one of the big guy's movie in the month somewhere. I had seen parts of this but never the whole thing in one sitting. It was cheesy at times but the Kaiju action made up for it. I think there is more 'Zilla on tap later this month.

Then I decided it was time to bust out the Russ Meyer films. Oh yes. First up was Cherry, Harry and Raquel. Gorgeous women and a lame story. I'm okay with that. Let's be honest, we aren't really watching Russ Meyer films for his abilities as a writer.

Double feature CHandR with Common Law Cabin. This was a better movie, with 2 incredibly hot women and 1 that wasn't so bad but was a much bigger cocktease than the first. Solid movie and a fun double feature.

The night ended with my first viewing of Ilsa: She Wolf Of The SS. If you knew of my early ventures into the nazisploitation genre you'd know why it took me so long to see "the" nazisploitation film. This is definitely the best of the genre that I've seen, which isn't saying too much. That said, it is cruel and deplorable and sexy and all the things we want from our nazis. An entertaining way to end the night.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Exploitation/B-Movie Challenge Day 11-12

What better way to start off day 11 than with some Bruno Mattei cheese? The man behind such cinematic gold as Hell Of The Living Dead and Rats: Night Of Terror has made some incredible fun movies. Violence In A Women's Prison was no different. This WIP flick doubles as an entry in the Emanuelle series. The beautiful Laura Gemser is once again on display in this over the top violent, sexy, piece of wonderful trash.

Later I watched Schoolgirl Hitchhikers aka High School Hitchhikers. This movie is part of the Grindhouse Experience set that I was reviewing throughout the last 15 months and more or less gave up on... sorry about that. This one was directed by Jean Rollin who is definitely more famous for his vampire films. The one thing this has in common with those more popular and better films is the hot women getting undressed. Rollin had no shortage of women willing to drop their clothes for his movies, that much is for sure. This movie is pretty hokey and not very good but there are a few laughs and those boobies.

Many of you know that I love Dario Argento. He's my favorite director and I can find something redeeming in even his worst films. I have no shame for my endless love of the Italian director. This movie evaded me for a while since it was never released over here, and was basically made for Italians only. The Five Days is a period comedic history film about the Italian Revolution. I don't know much about the history of the movie but this was actually not bad. A huge departure from his other films that isn't highly regarded by anyone, it had quite a few laughs throughout and some trademark Argento violence. Not something I'll revisit often but I'm glad I have seen it and have a copy and happier that it wasn't bad.

Next up was another Last House On The Left ripoff... The Last House On The Beach. There isn't much to say other than it's not up to snuff with LHOTL or my preferred Night Train Murders. It drags on too long and the baddies never seem to be as nasty and cruel as they should be in a movie like this. Even when they're performing their dirty deeds it just doesn't have the same impact of the better films. It does pick up steam towards the end, and isn't an awful piece of exploitation but it's certainly nothing better than a 2nd rate knockoff.

Day 12 wrapped up with Caged Heat. This was director Jonathan Demme's debut. Another WIP flick that had its ups and downs. It was rather jumpy and went from one thing to the next without much reason why but it eventually comes together. Enough sex and violence to satisfy. Look for gothic horror queen Barbara Steele as the warden in this.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Exploitation/B-Movie Challenge Day 9-10

Already 10 days into the month? Hard to believe. Day 9 had my first re-watches of the challenge. I'm trying to keep them to a minimum and so far I'm doing okay.

First was a re-watch of a movie some would call a guilty pleasure but I love this thing shamelessly and have since I was about 9 years old. Congo isn't good, but it's funny and has some okay action. Tim Curry and Ernie Hudson make the movie for me. It certainly isn't what director Frank Marshall wanted it to be but it never ceases to entertain me in all of it's cheesy glory.

Charles Bronson made his first appearance of the challenge in The Mechanic. I didn't know much about it before the remake other than the fact that it existed. I didn't really know much more after the remake came out, which I never saw... so I was pretty blank coming in. It was decent. Without Bronson I don't think it would have been as good as it was. It was a fairly thin movie, thinner than it needed to be. There was some good action and an awesome ending though.

Next was my 2nd viewing of School Of The Holy Beast. The first time I saw this movie I liked it but I don't think I truly appreciated it. It is a nunsploitation movie from Japan... but it is so much more than that. With a top notch director in Norifumi Suzuki this movie rises way above any normal exploitation fare and is in a league with the best.

I had a case of yellow fever... Giallo fever that is. Death Laid An Egg is a title I've had sitting around a while and never watched it. If writing has ever failed a movie with cool direction and attractive women it was this one. The actors are all competent, and Guilio Questi lends some wild and interesting work from the director's chair. The problem with the movie is how the script goes from nothing happening to a random twist or major event all of a sudden. It not only feels rushed but like there are major parts that were removed.

One of my biggest surprises so far this challenge has been Trip With The Teacher. While this is certainly no masterpiece I was expecting much less than what I got in this piece of pure exploitation. High school girls and their teacher are kidnapped by a pair of crazy bikers and we we get all the good stuff that the 70s had to offer- chase scenes, murder, rape, Zalman King (who was a big part of the challenge the last couple of days without me even knowing it!). Not the best, but much better than expected and something I'll certainly revisit.

Finally these 2 days ended with Night Call Nurses. The 2nd title from the Roger Corman Nurses DVD collection. This one was a lot of fucking fun. 3 attractive nurses get in to wild situations with black revolutionaries, a drug addled trucker and a weird hippie 70s doctor who only really wants sex. Hot nurses + crazy situations + regularly dropping your clothes = a recipe for success.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Exploitation/B-Movie Challenge Day 7-8

Day 7 didn't get started until late but I was still able to squeeze in 3 movies.

I was in the mood for some Shaw Bros. martial arts action to start things off and I went with Bells Of Death. I recently bought this dvd for $3 used at MovieStop that is more than likely a bootleg. The quality of the disc, aside from the awful looking menu, was good though. The movie itself was also good. A tale of revenge with plenty of action to keep the basic plot moving along. This had a very strong Spaghetti Western feeling to it. To the point where if you told me the director wasn't influenced by the genre I'd probably say someone was lying. Entertaining stuff.

Next up I decided that it was time to take the level of sobriety down a few notches and beers began to flow a bit more freely and the perfect companion was Sorority Babes In The Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama. This is a piece of 80s gold. A few girls and a couple of nerdy guys break in to a bowling alley inside a mall to steal a trophy to help the girls complete their pledge to a sorority. While doing so they open up a trophy that contains an evil imp, who proceeds to create demons and all hell breaks loose. The imp is reminded me of that Triumph The Insult Comic Dog puppet and it was hilarious. Plenty of fun and boobs and Linnea Quigley being a fucking babe. I was in the perfect mood for this and it was great.

Day 7 came to a close with Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver. If the title doesn't tip you off to what this is going to be than the fact that it's a Full Moon title should. Was it good? No. It was fucking stupid and the series had basically run it's course after the first film. I'll be Goddamned if these movies don't get me to laugh and have a bit of fun though. The beer is totally necessary for this, but if you're willing to turn your brain off for a couple of hours you can find some easy entertainment here. The opening is also a big "what the fuck is happening" moment.

Day 8 comes and goes with only 2 movies but they were good ones. First was a movie I've wanted to see for a long time, and by the time I got around to buying the DVD it was out of print. Thankfully Code Red who just switched to selling directly from it's website had 1 last copy laying around and I was able to buy it.

This would be the post-apocalyptic sci-fi/action trash movie Exterminators Of The Year 3000, directed by Guiliano Carnimeo who has had success in the SW genre (Sartana series) and giallo (Case Of The Bloody Iris). This isn't anything special or different from any other Road Warrior rip-off you may encounter but love these movies, and this one didn't disappoint.

The day ended with Blue Sunshine. If you've never seen it, you should. A well made low budget piece of horror and exploitation centering around people going mad and murdering other people from a drug they did a decade earlier. This reminded me an awful lot of Cronenberg and that isn't a bad thing at all.