Look, Ma…No Head!

master_of_the_flying_guillotine_poster_01

In Master Of The Flying Guillotine aka The One-Armed Boxer vs. The Flying Guillotine, Master Fung (Kam Kang) is out to avenge the murder of his two young proteges…He has no name to go on, no description (not that a description would help…did I mention Fung is blind?)…all he knows is the killer is missing an arm. So he sets out with his trusty flying guillotine (which looks like a beanie on a chain with a funeral veil and saw blades inside) to decapitate every one-armed man that crosses his path. Eventually he meets the One-Armed Boxer (Jimmy Wang Yu, who also directed) for the gravity-defying climactic battle (The boxer can run up walls). There’s also an Indian mystic with stretchable arms (the makers of the Street Fighter video game must have seen this)…a spinning head…a great opening theme song by Krautrock protopunks Neu!…It’s truly one of the most surreal Kung Fu movies of all time…

MASTER-OF-THE-FLYING-GUILLOTINE1

Advertisements

Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves

bonnieskids

Let me introduce you to Bonnie’s Kids…

bonnieskids3

Meet Ellie. (Tiffany Bolling). She’s tough as nails and willing to do anything (or anyone) to get what she wants. 

bonnieskids2

Meet Myra. (Robin Mattson). She’s a teenage tease who only pleases herself.

They’ve both just escaped the clutches of their lecherous stepdaddy, and they’re looking for a sugar daddy…so they look up their rich uncle Ben (Scott Brady)… and Ellie hooks up with a handsome patsy named Larry (Steven Sandor) who just happens to have his hands on $400,000 of mob money. Can they make off with the scratch before these two wiseguys get wise?

bonnieskids4

Alex Rocco and Timothy Brown as Eddy and Digger…prototypes for Jules and Vincent?

At times it’s really hard to know who to root for in this flick, since every single character in it is a stone-cold sociopath with the morals of an alley cat in heat…but I guess the fun of it is just watching the whole spectacle of double and triple crosses unfold…Writer-director Arthur Marks (Bucktown, Detroit 9000) obviously knew this…and he reveled in every sleazy minute of it…

It’s kinda bittersweet watching this today, since Alex Rocco has just passed away. He was a great character actor who seemed to be in everything when I was growing up, on television and on the big screen, in prestige pix like The Godfather (“I’m Moe Greene! I made my bones while you were going out with cheerleaders!”) or drive-in classics like this and Russ Meyer’s Motorpsycho. He wasn’t a household name but he was always engaging, funny and charming…and I’m sure I’m not the only one who, whenever he popped up in a movie or on t.v., thought “Oh, hey…it’s that guy. This is gonna be good…”

alexrocco2

This Monkey Wants A Word With You

robotmonster

The last family alive on Earth must battle an alien fiend determined to eradicate them and take over the world….all in 3-D. Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Well, either through budgetary necessity or eccentricity of director Phil Tucker, Robot Monster is one of the most deliciously absurd 50’s sci-fi films….The alien invader, Ro-Man, is a guy in a gorilla suit with a diving helmet. He communicates with his home planet via a bubble machine (does this mean Lawrence Welk was an alien too?) and he can command over-used stock footage of dinosaurs at will. It’s all played completely straight-faced and dramatic, and like Plan 9 From Outer Space, would have made a genius comedy if it were all done on purpose…

robotmonster1

Feats Of Clay

it

The title IT! makes it sound like a sci-fi monster movie but it’s actually about the Golem, the living statue of Jewish legend…who has now fallen into the hands of a lunatic wannabe museum curator (Roddy McDowall) who uses the Golem to smite his enemies and cover for his habit of “borrowing” relics for his mother. Roddy always gave good crazy, and he really gets to go over the top in this one…

it2

You Should Never Have Opened That Door

shutteredroom1

Susannah (Carol Lynley) returns to her childhood home, a mill on an island off the coast of New England, when her folks die and she inherits the mill. She must deal with family demons…talk of a family curse…and the ever-whispered-about shuttered room, in this adaptation of the H.P. Lovecraft story. In typical gothic fashion, she and her husband (Gig Young) are warned to leave as soon as they arrive. Actually, the most menacing threat they face is not from whom or whatever is in the shuttered room, but from (cousin?) Ethan (Oliver Reed in perfect sleaze/heavy form) who wants to take possession not only of the mill, but of Susannah. Lynley is compelling and sympathetic as Susannah, and Gig is the perfect doting, protective husband. There’s nothing very original about The Shuttered Room…it will remind you of alot of similar horror stories…and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s a solid thriller with some creepy and harrowing moments and certainly worth checking out…

shutteredroom2

Sorry Charlie

returnofthedragon1

What’s the first rule of exploitation cinema? Don’t let the title fool ya. Return Of The Dragon is not a sequel to the phenomenally successful Enter The Dragon. It was made first, originally titled Way Of The Dragon…then re-titled and re-released when Enter was such a smash. Bruce Lee is Tang Lung, a chef who goes to Rome to help his restauranteur friend who’s being leaned on by mobsters.  Lee plays a little against type here, as a socially awkward country mouse visiting not only a big city but a foreign country, which provides some good comic relief…but when it comes time to chop some socky, Lee is all business. The film is most notable for its climactic battle where he faces off against his real-life protege Chuck Norris. It’s a pretty even match, and interesting to see a future action hero like Norris playing a thug. And he is relentless…at times the fight reminded me of the Black Knight in Monty Python And The Holy Grail… 

Bruce Lee-vs-Chuck Norris