Don’t Bring Me Down Bruce

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The Chinese Connection aka Fist Of Fury just may be the ultimate, if-you-only-see-one-in-your-lifetime Kung Fu movie. The plot is bone simple: Bruce Lee is out to avenge the murder of his Kung Fu teacher, and no one will stand in his way. It’s pretty much wall-to-wall action and the fight scenes are impeccably choreographed, kinetic, inventive and sprinkled with humor…a combination that is deliciously satisfying. Lee is cool, centered, zen and completely unfuckwithable…His make-it-look-easy style of acting and fighting is something that all action stars aspire to…It’s easy to see why American kids in the 70’s (like me) went crazy for him, hanging his posters on their walls, trying to learn Kung Fu…or at least look like they knew Kung Fu…  

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Don’t You Be Terrorfied

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Y’know that feeling when you’re watching a movie late at night or on a lazy Sunday afternoon where you keep dozing off and missing little chunks…and eventually you wake up and it’s a completely different movie? Well, here’s the movie that gives you that feeling while you’re wide awake. Yep, it’s Roger Corman’s legendarily incomprehensible The Terror, written and shot in 3 days using leftover sets from The Raven and leftover Boris Karloff. Jack Nicholson (early in his career…so he was still serious and hadn’t yet perfected his cool screen persona) is Andre Duvalier, an errant Legionnaire who follows an ethereal (possibly dead?) woman (Sandra Knight) to Karloff’s castle. I know, it sounds simple enough…but you’ve gotta take into account that The Terror  wasn’t just directed by Corman…he farmed out scenes to Dennis Jacob, Jack Hill, Monte Hellman and Francis Ford Coppola…so it was bound to feel patchwork, even though they’re all excellent directors. It’s beautifully shot and spooky…and would’ve made a fine expressionistic silent film. Oh…and there’s a great melting face gag…a good 16 years before Raiders Of The Lost Ark

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Eaffin’ ‘n’ Schemin’

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Known as the Godfather Of Gore, Herschell Gordon Lewis cut a bloody swath through 60’s drive-in cinema…but he also made quite a few hicksploitation movies way down South (usually in Florida)…In This Stuff’ll Kill Ya, Lewis stock player Talky Blanc (who also played the gleefully homicidal mayor in 2000 Maniacs) is the Reverend Roscoe Boone, a sky grifter whose ministry is founded on the power of the holy spirit…100-proof spirits to be exact. If only the local revenuers viewed moonshine as a sacrament. That’s not Roscoe’s only trouble though…Somebody in his congregation is taking the scripture a bit too literally, and believes they have the right to cast the first stone…and the second…and the third…Will Reverend Boone be able to unmask the killer while he still has a congregation left? Will he still have a congregation if the revenuers shut down his still? Can I get an amen?

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Then it’s Mr. King goes to Washington in Lewis’ Capraesque (with a healthy shot of A Face In The Crowd cynicism) tale The Year Of The Yahoo, in which an altruistic Country singer (Claude King) is suckered into running for the Senate by 3 sleazebags who see him as the perfect pawn to help them secure the corn pone vote. Will King sell out…or stick it to the Man?

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Everything’s Bigger In Texas

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From deep in the heart of Texas comes this double dose of Dale Berry texploitation…In Hip, Hot And 21 lone star babe Diane is sold by her parents (two hillbillies straight out of Dogpatch) into an arranged marriage for $50. When that doesn’t pan out, Diane embarks on a seedy odyssey rife with dope dealers, junkies, hookers, mobsters…and girls who love girls. If all that sordid melodrama doesn’t git yer goat, perhaps this will float your boat: Luscious, lugubrious Lorna Maitland (Russ Meyer’s Lorna and Mudhoney) shows up to dance in a club, working her itsy bitsy teeny weeny striped bikini for all she’s worth…

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Then in Hot Thrills And Warm Chills a trio of buxom, bouffanted bombshells led by ex gun moll Toni (Rita Alexander) hatch a harebrained scheme to steal a diamond tiara during Mardi Gras… but even the best-laid plans are apt to gang aft agley…Don’t miss Rita’s seductive, gravity-defying dance to some great Latin jazz at the beginning. Hopped up hair…stacked racks…Joan Crawford eyebrows…gargantuan acting…as the title of this article says, everything’s bigger in Texas…

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Tales Of Extraordinary Madness

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It’s Psychopathia Sexualis meets psychedelia! First off, Ted V. Mikels (Astro Zombies, Corpse Grinders, The Doll Squad) brings us Dr Sex and his strange tales straight from the shrink’s couch: A window dresser whose mannequins spring to life…but only when he’s alone with them and they’re naked…A houseful of topless ghosts who do housework for some guy who looks like Don Knotts…And a man who feels that he was really meant to be born…a poodle! As weird as it sounds, it’s a “nudie cutie”, so it’s all just an excuse for women to get nekkid and men to react like they’re in a Tex Avery cartoon… 

Then in Wanda The Sadistic Hypnotist, Sylvester awakes after a car accident to find he’s been rescued by two swingin’ chicks named Wanda and Greta (which by the way, are two of the most often used names in sexploitation) who administer their TLC with a side of B&D…Now, Sylvester’s a staunch Republican, so he can’t go for that, no can do…but before you can say “Stockholm Syndrome” he’s diggin’ it…and it’s time to break out the acid…which of course can only lead to one thing…a body painting orgy! It’s far more wacky than dirty…especially Wanda’s acting style…but it’s all just good clean trippy fun…

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We Destroy The Family

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The Hills Have Eyes may not be the most famous Wes Craven movie but no one who’s seen it has ever forgotten it…Craven mixes elements of horror (campfire-tale lore, gore and cannibalism) the Western (desert setting, two battling families) and the fear of shattered middle-class safety and looking into an abyss that also looks into you, as felt in Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs and Craven’s own Last House On The Left…and weaves it all into the seemingly simple straightforward story of an average family on the way to California who get stranded in the desert…a lonely desert where a family of modern day savage cannibals prowls for food, swag to steal, and people to torment…The innocent family must fight hard to survive…even if it means resorting to savagery themselves….

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