Sunday, 30 May 2010
Half a year ago I didn't know anything about blogging.
Six months on and I'm none the wiser, but I do feel I've been overspending time in front of my PC screen.
Summer is coming and I have chosen to take the time off and try enjoying the great outdoors a bit.
Thanks to all who've been following Trashfilmaddict up to now.
I really appreciate all your comments.
This blog is entering a state of suspended animation for the next three months.
Back in September.
Have a great summer, guys.
Sunday, 23 May 2010
Pressures of modern society upon an individual and the resulting dehumanizing effect are expertly captured in this low-key, little-known film.
Kurt(the excellent KURT RAAB) is a meek, withdrawn man. We witness his dull, soul-destroying office work and unfulfilling family life.
From successive scenes filled with brainless small talk and devoid of any sign of genuine emotional contact grows a sense of profound unease.
Kurt goes to see a doctor who declares there's nothing physically wrong with him, and merely advices him to quit smoking. Seemingly all is well, until...
When the final twist comes, the film-makers don't give any assessment of the events. They don't judge.
They're there merely to document the goings-on.
So the viewer is left to make out for himself, WHY DOES HERR R. RUN AMOK?
The style and performances aren't as formal or theatrical as in other Fassbinder works of the period.
In fact, WHY DOES HERR R. RUN AMOK?, doesn't feel much like a Fassbinder picture, despite having a lot of his regular cast. Actress Hanna Shygulla even claims Fassbinder had nothing to do with directing this film. That may well be. But it doesn't make WHY DOES HERR R. RUN AMOK? any less brilliant.
There's no extra-diegetic music and the camera-work is hand-held, documentary-style.
WHY DOES HERR R. RUN AMOK? is basically a Dogme-style film, but made nearly 30 years before the Dogme movement.
Fassbinder and Michael Fengler also co-authored the ambitious and uneven riff on Godard's WEEKEND, THE NIKLASHAUSEN JOURNEY.
Wednesday, 19 May 2010
EL CONDE DRACULA does not exactly grab the viewer's attention right from the get-go.
International stars Christopher Lee, Herbert Lom and Klaus Kinski are acting alongside Franco regulars of the period - Soledad Miranda, Jack Taylor and the excellent Paul Muller. Director himself has a tiny part as a creepy manservant. Apart from great cast and some odd stylistic choices there's nothing much to say about EL CONDE DRACULA. The best actors flit in and out, with most running time going to the bland "pretty boy" Fred Williams. The viewer is left to his own devices amidst a slurry of confusing scenes. Despite some undeniably effective visual touches, EL CONDE DRACULA is more of a missed opportunity than a forgotten gem.
Wednesday, 12 May 2010
DOOR TO SILENCE isn't going to win Fulci any new fans.
Plot in one sentence: On the way back home from a business trip, Melvin Devereux is desperately racing a hearse which seems to contain his own corpse.
Some neat, modestly effective scenes are lost among the endless filler driving footage.
John Savage drives, John Savage pulls over to fill up, John Savage drives on. Despite the continuous physical movement of the hero, story remains firmly clamped for most of the running time. Some may argue that was intentional. Either way, the film sure wears you out.
Reasonably slick technically, DOOR TO SILENCE does not feel like a totally impersonal hack-job, as ZOMBI 3 or GHOSTS OF SODOM did. Yet there's too little substance in DOOR TO SILENCE to make it worthwhile for anyone but the most dedicated enthusiasts.
Friday, 7 May 2010
Plot in one sentence:
Your basic plot of Kurosawa’s “Yojimbo”/Leone’s “For a fistful of dollars” with a cyborg twist.
-Tony Riparetti music.
It lends this modest production some great atmosphere and suggests a Spaghetti Western vibe at times.
-Roaming Steadicam camerawork.
Lots of flawlessly beautiful gliding camera shots keep the viewer visually stimulated, giving the film a bigger feel.
What doesn’t work:
-Some rather appalling blue screen effects.
Pyun obviously wasn’t in total control of post-production. I doubt he would have allowed the horrendous shot of Rutger Hauer’s lighter producing dodgy CGI “flame” to make it into the final edit.
Half the fun with watching Albert Pyun films comes from seeing how he’s working around the restrictions set by inadequately low budgets. Just like Jess Franco – another prolific trash auteur, Pyun often turns limitations into advantages. By employing a deliberately minimalist aesthetic he’d created such low-key yet impressively stylish pictures as the serial killer thriller “Postmortem”, or mellow crime drama “Crazy Six”. Pyun takes on a similar tactic with “Omega Doom” – yet another futuristic cyborg epic.
Directing this tale of Rutger Hauer playing two gangs of robots off each other Pyun only has one location to play with: a bombed out Eastern European city square(apparently filmed in Bratislava, Slovakia)
I really could do without “The Bartender” character with her helpless wining. She did give the whole film a slight depressing undertone. She’d have been better off killed in the opening scene.
Jahi Zuri is a lot of fun(and does a great “robot walk”) as demented violent Droid “Marko”. His over-the-top tough manner of delivery reminded me somewhat of Bobby Rhodes of Lamberto Bava’s “Demons 1&2” fame.
My favourite character has got to be “The Head” –a bodiless robot, played by Pyun veteran Norbert Weisser (and an obvious rubber head in some shots). His performance is lively and impressive, even the primitive blue screen effects cannot hamper it. Some of the editing (notably during the fights) is very choppy which once again makes an impression that “Omega Doom” was either finished in a hurry or without Pyun’s supervision.
I must have seen “Omega Doom” three-four times now, and it still doesn’t bore me. It’s not the fast-paced action film like “Nemesis”, of course. Yet it contains a lot of great touches which make it essential Pyun viewing.
Monday, 3 May 2010
La montagna del dio cannibale
Plot in one sentence: Stacey Keach and Ursula Andress go to the jungle in search of her missing husband and land in a cave populated by pig-fucking cannibals.
Rare cannibal film goes without a hero giving his girl a slap at least once. THE MOUNTAIN OF THE CANNIBAL GOD is extraordinary in this respect. There are two instances of unintentionally hilarious "fights", greatly amusing stuff.
What doesn't work: THE MOUNTAIN OF THE CANNIBAL GOD is boring.
Martino gets good mileage out of the available locations but cannot inject the primitive script with the necessary drive.
Giancarlo Ferrando's compositions are perfect, but his classic way of lighting ruins some of the natural charm the wilderness possesses. I mean, people walk around the supposed jungle and they have 4-5 shadows - come on! As a result, THE MOUNTAIN OF THE CANNIBAL GOD cannot boast the same kind of gritty realism that Deodato achieved with his equally boring ULTIMO MONDO CANNIBALE.
A warm, emotional and dignified performance by Stacey Keach helps one sit through all the requisite spider attacks, snake attacks, booby traps and what not.
As usual with Martino, THE MOUNTAIN OF THE CANNIBAL GOD has high production values and is rather faceless.
Sound is surprisingly good - some of it seems to be live on-set recording, which was pretty extraordinary for Italian productions in those days. Or it could be dubbing, but more carefully done than usual, with the entire principal cast doing their own voices.
The simply isn't enough going on in THE MOUNTAIN OF THE CANNIBAL GOD to recommend it to anyone.
What good stuff there is happens in the last ten minutes, when the heroes are trapped in the cannibal cave. Finally some red stuff begins to flow. But it doesn't justify the slow build-up, no matter how well-photographed.
Pulsating score by De Angelis brothers would suggest a more savage, intense picture than the one Martino put together.
My favourite cannibal trash remains Lenzi's EATEN ALIVE.
Sunday, 2 May 2010
- the pacing;
DAGON doesn't let up for one second. As soon as the boat crashes near Spanish shores, it's chase-chase-chase with lots of weird and wonderful stuff going on. There are all the awesome monsters, great deaths and thick atmosphere. A very fun film indeed!
it's all very dynamic and makes the film feel a lot bigger.
What doesn't work:
- the score is frankly, shite. It's boring and doesn't help things one bit.
DAGON does follow the original story "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" reasonably close, but as usual, they still had to change stuff.
-action shifted to present day - sort of inevitable, since budget wasn't unlimited
-action is set in Spain, not New England - again, has to do with where the production company is based.
However, the biggest and hardest to bear deviation from the source has to be the "comic relief" protagonist. Now Lovecraft was strongly opposed to anyone editing his texts once he was done with them. Had he still been with us, can you imagine his indignation at seeing actor Ezra Godden's behaviour as Paul Marsh?
Why on Earth they made the main hero such a clown?
Most of the time he looks like a whimpering, bespectacled rodent wearing a vile orange jumper(yes, I did notice that it says MISCATONIC UNVERSITY on it).
I don't think Godden's performance is bad, it could be considered successful in some other kind of film. But in the rainy, forlorn universe of H.P. Lovecraft his deliberate clowning about just doesn't cut it. It feels weird and out-of-place.
A square-jawed, no-nonsense hero could have been a lot more appropriate.
Hell, even wooden "tough guy" shit Hugo Stiglitz delivered on NIGHTMARE CITY would be a lot more a lot more suitable here than Godden's bitching and grimacing. Yes, he does kick some minor fishman ass towards the finale, but by then it's too little, too late.
It's a bit shocking to see how legendary actor Francisco Rabal (Antonioni's L'ECLISSE, Lenzi's NIGHTMARE CITY) let go of himself. The guy looks like hell, and they still gave him a topless scene! However, Rabal is never less than convincing as a demented alcoholic tramp.
The movie is dedicated to his memory.
Apparently, the original script for DAGON was ready as far back as 1985, but something held it back from being filmed. It would have been shot in the US and without CGI back then.
But hey, there's not a terrible amount of CGI in DAGON, and it's tolerable.
The film is damn entertaining, one of Gordon's very best
...but the book's still better:)))