They’re Coming To Get You

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So, are you tired of the zombpocalypse’s zombnopoly on pop culture? No? Well then, check out Umberto Lenzi’s Nightmare City aka City Of The Walking Dead. It adheres to a couple of the Romero rules: Get ’em in the head. Get bit, you’re zombified…but Lenzi said screw the rest of the rules. His zombies are fast, agile, smart…and carry weapons. Like machetes.They don’t spend much time feeding on their victims…sometimes it looks like they just enjoy killing, ala The Crazies. The zombie makeup is pretty different as well. They look kinda like the Toxic Avenger…or burgers that slipped through the bars of a grill. It doesn’t have the great characters or humor (well, intentional humor anyway) of Romero’s zombie flicks but it’s got plenty of gore and mayhem…

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Military intervention has failed, so Mel Ferrer decides to kill ’em with karaoke. Zombies hate “Margaritaville”

We Are Born With A Chance

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Do you like movies about gladiators? Well The Big Fight is sort of a Kung Fu Spartacus…Set during the Japanese occupation of China in WWII, innocent locals are bullied by the invading regime and anyone who dares to stand up to them is forced to fight to the death in the arena for their amusement. And there are some absolutely jaw-dropping fights…the kind that elicit a vocal reaction from the viewer. Especially the fights involving the sumo dude…

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He’s one badass behemoth…and his fights are crazy, impressive and hilarious…but he’s not the hero of the picture (the giant dude never is in gladiator movies…he’s like a human dragon to be slain)…Like alot of the greatest Kung Fu movies, the best of the best is a woman…

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Waiting For The Hammer To Fall

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Blood And Lace…This little flick right here is the sleaziest, sickest, most twisted film ever rated PG…Now, hopefully most of you sickies are old enough to remember those days when a PG was the rating to shoot for if you wanted to reach a mass audience…and it was often staggering what filmmakers could get away with in a PG film…perhaps because back then they gave kids a little bit more credit for being able to handle harsh realities…These days, just smoking gets you a PG-13…

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Anyway, Blood And Lace is the story of Ellie (Melody Patterson, Wrangler Jane on F-Troop) a sweet, headstrong teenage girl who seems to have been cursed from birth. In the opening scene, her parents are bludgeoned to death in their sleep with a hammer and their house set on fire…Ellie survives, and is placed in an orphanage run by the creepy Mrs. Deere (noir vamp Gloria Grahame) and her slimy henchman Kredge (Len Lesser, Uncle Leo on Seinfeld). Strangely, all the orphans are teens…probably because showing smaller children enduring abuse (and murder) would’ve jeopardized that PG. Ellie wants to escape even before she finds out what a house of horrors the place is, because she wants to find her real father (see, her mother was a hooker and her stepdaddy was a pimp. Toldja she was cursed from birth.) Meanwhile, a detective (Vic Tayback, Mel from Alice) with a less than professional interest in Ellie is investigating her parents’ murder…and Ellie begins to think that maybe the hammer killer is back to finish the job…

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That Funky Monkey

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Nabonga is the epitome of the 40’s jungle picture…It’s got the obligatory “great white hunter” asshole (Buster Crabbe) out to exploit the “uncivilized” local tribe…the orphaned white jungle girl (Julie London) with the very jungly name of…Doreen. And there’s also one very big, very volatile gorilla. My one real beef with this movie is that Julie doesn’t get to sing…She’s one of the all-time greatest torch singers…What kind of exploitation picture wouldn’t cash in on that? There’s plenty of snappy dialogue though, and Crabbe is so convincing that you’ll be itching for the gorilla to crush the skull of that Bwana dick…

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Master Of Kong Fu

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Mighty Peking Man aka Goliathon is a riff on King Kong by the masters of martial arts cinema, the Shaw Brothers…Sadly, there’s no Kung Fu in it. Not even a little Drunken Monkey…but there’s plenty of mayhem and even a little blood…It’s rated PG-13 today, for those reasons…and for the very sexy Sheena-like blonde jungle girl Samantha (Evelyne Kraft)…

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‘Cause, y’know, it’s just not a true Kong flick without a beautiful blonde in constant danger…of losing her top. Asian cinema has always had a love affair with Kong…Toho made King Kong Escapes and King Kong Vs Godzilla…and he was the inspiration for Godzilla…and the entire Kaiju genre…

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Peking Man is mighty proud of his Tonka collection

Lovely Ugly Brutal World

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Savage Weekend is an unabashedly atavistic Southern Gothic potboiler rife with violence, lust, betrayal and murder. Though the film itself is not well-known, there are quite a few recognizable faces in it…the most recognizable being William Sanderson (Blade Runner, Newhart, Fight For Your Life) as the perpetually sweaty, vengeful  Otis…

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Not pictured: Darryl, other brother Darryl

And Re-Animator fans will recoginize David Gale as the rugged woodsman Mac…

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Plus there’s a couple of drop-dead sexy brunettes:

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Marilyn Hamlin (Shaft, Shaft’s Big Score)

And…

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Caitlin O’Heaney (He Know’s You’re Alone, Wolfen)

There are so many vivid characters and so much drama going on (writer-director David Paulsen is, after all, better known for soap operas)  that this would’ve been a great film even without the masked killer mystery element, which almost seems like a subplot at times… There are some satisfyingly nasty murders in it and the killer’s mask is unique and grisly. There’s also some bizarre, just-for-jolly moments such as Caitlin’s Cabaret-esque dance…and a farm-chore-as-seduction scene straight out of the Russ Meyer playbook. Made in ’76 and released 3 years later, Savage Weekend bridges the gap between giallo-influenced thrillers and the slasher classics of the 80’s with a gusto that is, well, savage… 

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Hardly A Sound ‘Til Tomorrow

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Enigma Rosso (aka Trauma, aka Red Rings Of Fear) is a relentlessly grim, voyeuristic and nasty giallo with pretty much the same plot as What Have They Done To Solange? (star Fabio Testi even appears in both). A detective investigating the murders of students in a girl’s school by a viciously misogynistic killer discovers that the victims weren’t so innocent as they appeared, keeping a seriously seedy secret that lies at the heart of the mystery…but where Enigma differs from Solange is its ending…an absolutely psychotically improbable ending…but one that you certainly won’t be expecting…

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