SANTO EL ENMASCARDO DE PLATA VS LA INVASION DE LOS MARCIANOS!!
Monday, July 31, 2006
Friday, July 28, 2006
Killing in Style - an extremely thoughtful and sharp site meditating on the appeal and context of the Giallo, one of our favorite genres. Here's a taste:
Institutions falling apart - an underlying topic of Italian genre cinema, especially in Giallo and Poliziesco.
In Giallo, the police is either non-existent, like in Martino/Gastaldi's movies (The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh, Case of the Scorpion Tail, Your vice is a locked room...), or ridiculously incompetent, like in the caricatural Strip Nude for Your Killer (A. Bianchi - 1975), or even evil and corrupted, like in Aldo Lado's Short Night of the Glass Dolls (1971).
In the best case scenario, it is so inefficient that it needs an outsider's help to do most of the job (like in Dario Argento's animal trilogy).
The figure of the stranger who happens to take the biggest part in the plot's resolution - the "hero by accident", which is already present in the very first giallo La Ragazza che sapeva troppo by Mario Bava - is so recurring that it's like an acknowledgement of a society which has completely lost faith in itself:
Good things can only come from outside of a deeply corrupted community.
Poptique - Our friend and ally Matt Richardson has a palpable love and respect for some of the most gloriously ridiculous of world pop culture. And he writes about it with wit and style.
Caught the end of a documentary concerning my favourite Indian actor Shammi Kapoor on TV last night - inspiring me to briefly wax lyrical about the guy unofficially known as the Bollywood Elvis.
Shammi is part of Indian Cinema's Royal Family - the son of Prithviraj Kapoor, and brother of Raj and Shashi Kapoor. At the height of the swinging 60s he took on the mantle of Bollywood's premiere rebel movie star - a combination of James Dean and Elvis Presley mixed in with some Cary Grant schmooze. Most of his leading man career was spent romancing such Bollywood Beauties as Padmini, Helen, and Asha Parekh, although I'm not 100% certain who the girl marvelling at Shammi's Mop Top is in this clip. You heard Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammad Rafi on playback duty.
The Janwar (or Beast) of the title is played by Shammi's real-life father, who no doubt disapproves of his son's wayward lifestyle and flouting of Apple Corps. copyright.
Janwar is a new one on me, so I'm indebted to Raymondo for the introducion. It only seems to be available on VCD from UltraIndia - worth mentioning they've a nasty habit of sticking nasty great copyright warnings all over the musical numbers. I can appreciate why they're doing it, but it's a complete arse for law abiding citizens like you and me.
I'm in a Jess Franco State of Mind - A recent fave. Robert Monell and his cohorts map the endless and oft confusing terrain surrounding this most visionary and yet disreputable of Euro-cult autuers. From a fascinating entry on some Frano films that aren't actually Franco films, take heed:
THE HOUSE OF THE LOST DOLLS (1974): Pierre Chevalier actually "directed" this Eurocine composite under the name Peter Knight. This used to be listed by VSOM as a "Jess Franco" film in their old 1990s era catalogues. I fell for it and purchased one to discover footage from a 1967 Italian spy film featuring Jack Taylor AGENTE SIGMA 3: MISSIONE GOLDWATHER mixed in with footage from a French film about white slavers operating in Paris and Marsielles, presumably a Chevalier directed effort, title as yet unknown. BOTH of these feature Sylvia Solar as a femme fatale! So, it all gets very confusing. Sandra Julien also appears as an undercover agent. There also appears to be footage from a third unknown film in here of agents raiding a cargo ship. It all adds up to a supersleazefest with music by Daniel J. White and uncredited cues from Bruno Nicolai's great score for EUGENIE DE SADE (1970). Footage from this composite was later mixed with scenes from an actual JF film, OPALO DE FUEGEO (1978) and was rereleased with newly shot footage by "John O'Hara" as OASE DER GEFANGENEN FRAUEN, at least that's the title of the German language version which was released on DVD a few years ago by KULT DVD. The French version is L'OASIS DES FILLES PERDUES. The new footage features Francoise Blanchard, probably best know as the title character in Rollin's LA MORTE VIVANTE (1982).
I'm sure they're are more out there, this is just a taste. Did you enjoy these? Then why not start your own?
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Here's the skinny on CasaNegra:
Yes, it is a division of Panik House.
Yes, we are doing extensive restoration work (on the latest DaVinci system).
Yes, we are going to continue to release both the Asian and Mexican lines.
We launched a separate label to distinguish (and preserve) the differences between the Asian line and this new line of Mexican classics. We've done our best to cater to the Latin community by including Spanish language menus and extras on our Panik House DVDs (whenever contractually possible), but wanted to give these films their own identity. There's even an extra fancy fan-site to which we've been supplying content called Haunted Hacienda dedicated to the classic films of the Alameda film library, and we've been approached by some pretty big organizations to help organize festival and revival screenings.
The support and media coverage we've gotten already on CasaNegra is just about double what the initial press was for Panik House*, which should prove to everyone that the previous void for these films is anxious to be filled.
In addition to the already released Curse Of The Crying Woman and The Witches Mirror, our schedule for 2006 will include:
Braniac (aka El baron Del Terror)
The Black Pit of Dr. M (aka Myserios De Ultratumba)
El Vampiro (in a special 2 Disc collection including The Vampire's Coffin)
...and a set of three Pepito films that we will be producing exclusively for the Latin market.
We've included some Loteria game cards in the first few CasaNegra titles, which ties into the theme of this year's Los Angeles Latin International Film Festival by coincidence.
*Panik House has also had some pretty amazing developments lately.
I had to re-press (re-manufacture) Sex & Fury to handle the constant reordering on this title. As promised, this time it's a standard package: rewarding the early consumers with the transparent editions for buying early.
We were also just given a half page of editorial space in the October issue of Hustler (on stands now) for the Pinky Violence Collection. It seems that every week we gain more and more momentum on the Pinky Violence tip, which is pretty incredible considering that it's a one hundred dollar item and about 8 months old by now.
It all gives credence to my credo: if you supply them with naked Japanese girls, they will come...
And here's the nifty new covers for the single DVD releases of two movies from last year's amazing PINKY VIOLENCE box set. Hot!
Check the links at the right to visit the respective webpages of these DVD Giants!
Monday, July 24, 2006
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
THE DEVIL’S SWORD is a very weird movie. We say that a lot around here, but this time – boy, do we mean it. Indonesian exploitation and genre movies are often acclaimed or declaimed as being some of the oddest and most alien films you could see, and with such delirious examples as MYSTICS IN BALI or LADY TERMINATOR abounding it’s hard to argue with that. But this is really one of the absolute strangest though, something I guarantee you have not ever even come close to seeing before. Mondo Macabro has established themselves as the go-to company for Indonesian cinema and this is probably their best release from that country since the astonishing R2 DVD of MYSTICS. With terrific extras and a sparkling picture presentation, MM has done world cinema a great service in letting loose this unhinged fantasy spectacle.
It’s hard to describe certain aspects of THE DEVIL’S SWORD. It has a supercharged surrealism that hardly ever abates, with a succession of visual events that almost seem randomly placed, like a Burroughsian cut-up of a more linear epic fantasy sliced to reveal an occult transmission from an alien dimension. The story involves an evil crocodile queen and her efforts to both secure an ancient and powerful magick sword and as many young studly dudes as she can get into her greedy vulvic clutches. Indonesian superstar Barry Prima plays Mandala, a pure hearted sort who tries to circumvent the evil bitch’s plans by getting to the sword first and aiding a young maiden (herself a fine ass-kicker) whose husband has been shanghaied, along the way confronting wild crocodile men, a stone Cyclops with a headlight for an eye, dastardly warriors with similar mystical powers also out to get the sword and perhaps most diabolically, an overall décor scheme that would’ve made even Liberace blush. The story makes some sense if you’re really paying attention, but I don’t think that matters all that much. The film burns with an uncanny and hallucinatory quality that will eventually break down all attempts at rational analysis. Better to just give in, and let the images roll through your eyes into your reeling brain. Entertainment has never been this cosmically grotesque.
But it isn’t just the parade of weird images and unreal action that makes THE DEVIL’S SWORD such a thoroughly odd movie-viewing experience. It has a strangely static ambience, there seemingly is no forward momentum. Scenes coalesce from the previous scene with little or no logical progression. The film unfolds like a dream, or a fairy tale, feeling like a yarn that has grown organically out of the unconscious, more like a myth than a typical fantasy flick. SWORD grips you in this odd way, but it almost doesn’t work. We’re so accustomed to the epic sweep of western fantasy that it almost feels detached at times, alienated from our typical sensibilities. The musical score might have something to do with this peculiar texture, it’s an almost avant-garde electronic buzzing that carries no emotional cues that typify western soundtracks. Some moments have no score at all, circumventing entirely our sense of expectations of cinematic importance and the signals they usually bear. The movie feels really, really foreign. Truly something that originates from a mindset in large part different from our own. While watching SWORD I felt a little lost in my emotional expectations, and sometimes, when not slack-jawed at the awesome imagery, a little bored. Upon reflection, however, I found myself meditating on the film’s oblique power, it’s truly unusual mis-en-scene and the pull towards its entertainments became overwhelming. The movie exists now as much in my brain as it did on my TV screen, occupying an idiosyncratic and individual place in my cinematic memory. Trust me, you have never, ever seen anything even remotely like this. Really. EVER.
Mondo Macabro’s stellar DVD of this weirdfilm classick really kicks the experience into high gear. The beautiful anamorphic widescreen transfer is damn near perfect showing a care and understanding for this sort of unique cinema that to my mind is exceedingly rare even in this digital disc heavy era. Obviously MM got it hands on unimpaired elements and have given it the kind of t.l.c. usually reserved for Criterion-esque “classics” of world art-film, the kind recognized in the sort of pointless film appreciation classes I used to take in order to assure an easy ‘A’ when I was in college. Gods bless Macabro honchos Pete Tombs and Andy Starke and all their henchmen (and henchwomen) for doing this. If not them, then who?
If the movie itself and its wonderful presentation weren’t enough, then the extras will melt what’s left of your still-unyielding mind. A trio of typically outstanding essays from Tombs lead off the special features, an “about the film”, a Barry Prima bio and an article concerning the history and mythical importance of magical swords respectively, are all extremely entertaining, well-written and most importantly very informative. The ‘sword’ essay in particular is fascinating, detailing the symbolism and history of the Magic Sword throughout many cultures with of course special attention to the Indonesian variant. The topper, the extra among extras is the video interview with Barry Prima. It might just be my favorite video interview extra ever. Questioned for the UK teledocumentary series MONDO MACABRO by Tombs and Starke, Prima comes across as wholly uninterested, distracted, incredulous, and not-at-all taking it seriously. It reminded quite a bit of how weirdo singer-songwriter Will Oldham used to treat interviewers early in his career meeting their questions with a bemused indifference; only in Prima’s case this is no intellectual affect, no self-conscious attempt at myth-making. Prima just really has no concept of himself as someone that anyone would ever want to interview, he really seems genuinely surprised that anyone has even heard of his films outside Indonesia, much less actually be interested in them. Add to this, the language barrier and Prima’s odd sense of humor and you have the making for the most uncomfortable and entertaining interview session possible. Unbelievable. A trailer for the film is also included, as well as the ubiquitous Mondo Macabro promo reel, which I seemingly never get tired of viewing.
You might have qualms about picking this oddball bit of deranged celluloid up, especially if you have an aversion to foreign weirdness. My recommendation to you then would be maybe rent it first, try it out, maybe even over two successive nights or something. But those with a taste for something truly out of this world, those looking for something that is really, really different, consider it imperative that you must get THE DEVIL’S SWORD. It will leech its way onto your brain in way that will cause as much joy and it does incomprehension.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Here we go!
DEATH WARRIOR (Ölüm Savasçisi), 1984
If anime or manga has ever left you scratching your head, then hang on to your hernias, folks 'cause we're about to get serious.
The usual adjectives, which accompany most of Turkey's notorious offerings of genre cinema, such as "insane" "crazy" "mind-blowing" "unfuckingbeliveable" apply here, but detailing the plot would be a waste. Like a Q&A session with God, any attempt in capsulating the experience in human words would do it no justice.
DEATH WARRIOR certainly has a middle, it has a definite end, but it's beginning feels more like a pre-middle, as it wastes no time in completely raping the hell out of you from the get-go.
In the first 5 minutes:
* an army of up-to-no-goods at their compound in a martial arts training exercise during which their evil leader (who possesses the power of TELEKINESIS) impales a tree with a matchstick from 50 feet away
* a group of assassins, each of whom look like an amalgam of a Ku Klux Klansman, a ninja, and a member of the Taliban, skulking around parking lots, and appearing/disappearing in/out of various people's homes, eventually claiming the lives of three with their plywood scimitars
* a mysterious pair of hairy beast-hands, which abruptly appear from out of a fireplace, terrorizing some poor man in his home who tried to relax with some evening music until his LP spontaneously EXPLODED on the turntable
* our shirtless hero, who goes instantly from lounging at water's edge with his lady, to preparing for one of the coolest fights I've ever seen (a flashback?), the kind ambitious teenagers film/edit with a video camera in an abandoned lot or field after school.
Directed by and starring that hunka hunka Turkish love, Cüneyt Arkin, this film is an action-filled madhouse of entertainment, full of bizarre kinetic editing in a story that goes back and forth from Arkin (a police inspector) either lounging by the water with his bikini-clad girl-toy or fighting a circle of Tali-Klan ninjas, to the bad guy training exercises without rhyme and very little reason.
Hardly a few minutes go by without a fight sequence, or a clutch of assassins suddenly rising from under the water, bursting out from under the ground, or just simply charging out of nowhere in particular. And sometimes, they're on dirt bikes.
Oh, and if you've ever dreamed of seeing a life-sized ragdoll set on fire and then get the holy fuck beat out of it until it stays dead, your life is now complete.
Like Jeff Chandler, Burt Lancaster and James Coburn poured into one pair of leather pants, Cüneyt Arkin, M.D. was about 47 when he made this film, and he looks pretty damn good. His martial arts skills are above average, and he utilizes them with gusto in sequences that are deliriously choreographed and outrageously satisfying.
In the book Mondo Macabro: Weird and Wonderful Cinema Around the World, Pete Tombs wrote of Arkin: "Always ready with a damning sneer, routing gangs of villains with his ready fists, he straddled the low-budget action movie like a colossus." And like a colossus, DEATH WARRIOR thunders through your sensibilities with a juggernaut's determination, despite it's budget limitations.
Speaking of limitations, there are, in true Turkish cinematic fashion, bits and pieces of foreign films inserted into DEATH WARRIOR-- fight sound FX from the first three Bruce Lee movies; portions of the opening credit themes from both PSYCHO & ENTER THE DRAGON; and even a few seconds of Florinda Balkan from Fulci's LIZARD IN A WOMAN'S SKIN. The great thing is, they all make sense in the film!
A perfect double feature companion piece to Robert Tai's equally insane Ninja: The Final Duel, DEATH WARRIOR is also a perfect gift idea for that snobby film friend with a Blockbuster or NetFlix account who thinks they've seen everything. I challenge anyone to show me another film that has the hero become airborne via trampoline in order to get a better, more lethal shot with his bow & fucking arrow.
Third World films such as this do not deserve to be critiqued, but simply enjoyed for what they offer. I mean, one wouldn't go to a hot dog stand looking for steak, right? But if hot dogs are your steak, then this slice of no holds barred sensory overload is for you.
And, as with most of America's exploitation films from the Golden Age, its technical limitations are just a necessary part of the film's embraceable personality.
And I wouldn't change it for anything.
Monday, July 17, 2006
Stayed tuned for our review of Mondo Macabro's terrific special edition DVD of this utterly strange fantasy flick later this week!
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Take it away, Bill!
Although I avoid participating in chats and forums and blogs etc this time I feel I MUST add this small comment.
First, I really don't know how to thank this blogger here, Jared, perhaps the most dedicated and passionate friend of my releases! I have thought of quitting everything, many times...but just because of Jared and a few other friends here and there I will try to persist till the day I end up sleeping in the streets in some big tv carton box.
I see many people asking about my future releases, so here's my plan:
September: A double-bill with 2 70's horror films: ASKA SUSAYANLAR SEKS VE CINAYET( THIRSTY FOR LOVE SEX AND MURDER) & OLULER KONUSMAZ KI( THE DEAD DON'T TALK). You can see their trailers on the 3 Dev Adam disc. The first one is an imaginative and innovative ripoff of a few italian giallos, with lots of blood and nudity. It was released on vhs in Greece 20 years ago but was presented as a... drama/romance film! Thank God I'm aware of these tricks and I regularly check tons of turkish films in search of good surprises like this one.
The other one is a gothic horror with a haunted house, a zombie-like guy and many other things. I have only seen it without subs so I'm not really sure what's going on. I bet there is some exorcism too! I'm really proud of this film as it was admittedly never seen anywhere before. No vcd, no vhs, no tv, nothing. It kind of fell from the sky. So, due to non-existent prior use, my print was found in very good condition and the picture and sound quality will be the best you've ever seen in all my releases.
I really hope it will be out in September.
Right after this, probably in October, another double-bill:
SUPERMEN DONUYOR( SUPERMAN RETURNS(REALLY!), TURKISH SUPERMAN) & DEMIR YUMRUK DEVLER GELIYOR( IRON FIST THE GIANTS ARE COMING).
You can see trailers for both on the 3 Dev Adam disc. My dream was to release it worldwide the same day that the Hollywood Superman Returns opened! But my turkish friends who are trying to get some interviews for me and the subs had better things to do and I missed this opportunity. I'd like to add a slogan on the cover like "THIS SUPERMAN RETURNED LOOONG TIME AGO!".
Demir Yumruk is an extremely obscure superhero film featuring a Superman guy too. It's a really crazy film with one of the weirdest villains I've ever seen. A guy with a woman's wig, dressed like an old woman and speaking like a lady, sitting on a wheelchair with some uncanny abilities etc. Also, some wild villains are there to support him. I still have no subs for this either but I think one of the villains must be called Fu Manchu or something... Let's see..
Later on, maybe at Christmans, another double-bill:
TARZAN ISTANBUL'DA & TARZAN KORKUSUZ ADAM. The first one is from the early 50's and the other early 70's.
I felt I HAD to let a bunch of people see 2 versions of Tarzan a-la-Turca.
I bow to the Turks because 55 years ago they dared produce their own Tarzan, lacking everything...and above all budget. They always proved they were great and true lovers of cult films. It wasn't enough for them to just go to the cinema and see them. They NEEDED to make their own versions on them.
I shared the same mentality. It wasn't enough for me to watch a bunch of awful bootlegs. Let alone the other titles that I knew I could never find even on bootlegs. So, I decided to do it my way. Set up my own cheap little company and go ahead. I know I will never be compared with other major companies. But for me, it is an honour and a vast pleasure to know that I release films that NOONE ELSE WANTS TO RELEASE!
If I find a lost film I will release it no matter if half of it is missing and no matter if the picture looks like shit.I want to believe that there will still be a few romantic people who will still love to see what was left from a lost treasure.
Well, early next year another double-bill with 2 more superhero films:
CASUS KIRAN & DEMIR PENCE KORSAN ADAM.
And then more superhero like MASKELI SEYTAN, maybe ORUMCEK, and some ZORRO films too. I've also secured the oldest historical turkish film, from the early 50's, KIZIL TUG GENGHINS HAN.
Many people ask about TURKISH STAR WARS. Sadly, I'm really hesitant on this one. The world and the internet stinks with bootlegs of it. Some bootleggers have also added english subs too. I don't think there's still buyers left who will supprot my release.
As for TURKISH EXORCIST(SEYTAN) the same problem. Plus, so far it's impossible to strike a deal with its producers. But I will sure do my best for it.
Among my plans for next year are a couple of double-bills with Cuneyt Arkin films. Stuff like DEATH WARRIOR etc.
And to cut a long story short here is my promise. AS LONG AS I GET MY MONEY BACK I WILL RELEASE ALL TURKISH FILMS THAT HAVE TO DO WITH SUPERHEROES, HEROES, HORROR, CULT, TRASH AND YOU KNOW WHAT...!
But if my sales keep on sucking I will soon be forced to quit this story and return to my former fan status, searching for bootlegs from bootleggers.
Another crazy thought is this: Instead of 1200 pieces, I will issue only 300-400. I will sell them only through my web site, leaving all merchants out. Thus I will secure an affordable price on them, like 25 euro and the few real fans will be able to get what they want. You must know that merchants buy at 50% off from me so, if I sell my 300-400 pcs alone, I will be able to offer them at 25 eur each.
My first, crazier, thought was to release only 100 pcs per title! I would sell them alone, at 70-80 eur to the craziest fans and that would be all. The others would have to make do with bootlegs.
Finally, before the end of the month I will try to put up trailers for more future releases. You will be able to check them at my site, motiontv, myspace, yutube etc.
Thanks for standing by me!
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Onar Films announced its presence to the world a year or so ago with the first of its two remarkable DVDs which unleashed the master criminal Kilink back onto the world after years of ratty bootlegs, sub-standard VCDs or simple nonexistence. Of course like all Turkish films from its commercial height during the late 1960s through the 1970s, there are no surviving negatives and complete prints are incredibly rare as well, so Onar did what it could with what did survive, and what they came up with is pretty damned astonishing. All the films look quite ragged, but vastly better than anything cult film fans have laid their greedy hands on before they went through all this trouble. So yeah it's cool that these obscure little masked-man/crime/fantasy films have made into your (all-region, yes?) DVD player, but are they any good? In a word: holy-fucking-shit-hell-yes-they-are!
The first DVD is made up only of the first film KILINK ISTANDBUL'DA or KILINK IN INSTANBUL, and it's a wild one. Kilink is rip off of an Italian photonovel supercriminal called Killing. Who in turn is a rip off of an Italian supercriminal character from comics and films called Kriminal. Essentially, he (all of them) is a ruthless criminal genius decked out head to toe in a skeletal Halloween costume that he never, ever takes off. Ever. Not even when he 'gets it on' with any number of totally hot Turkish babes he encounters throughout all the flicks. His dastardly plot in this first installment concerns getting a secret formula from some upstanding elderly scientists so that he can rule the world with a 'ray of death' as the subtitles put it. Standing in his way is none other than, wait for it, ... Superman!! Well, sort of. Like most Turkish pop films that use American superheroes, they really just get it all wrong, which honestly, is one of the things that makes these things so oddly thrilling. He's more of a Captain Marvel, with a bearded old Mystic-dude giving the secret word that will transform him into Supes - "Shazam!". Yeah so he's basically Captain Marvel, though he has an S on his chest. But he also wears a mask unlike either Captain Marvel or Superman. And in the subtitles he's called Superhero in the first and Flying Man in the second, so who knows what they were thinking. Anyway, he's out to stop Kilink's nefarious plans by doing that leaping attack thing that all Turkish superheroes do. He's really not all that successful as Kilink keeps getting away and succeeds in kidnapping his loved ones (who also happen to be the people who have the formula that he needs for his ray of death).
But this is a 'Kilink' film not a 'Superhero' film. And it's in all the scenes with him that the movie finds its greatness. His presence gives a macabre, almost gothic feeling to the film, especially in the opening moments, when he is revived from a coffin while wrapped in cloth like a mummy. It's actually kind of creepy. And for all his devious and downright genocidal plotting, Kilink is really a lover, not a fighter. Women seem to melt at his very presence, at first in fear, then in pure unadulterated lust. Like many Turkish movies from this period, the sexiness comes to the fore, with several love scenes with sexy dames in revealing get-ups. While there isn't anything too risqué, these scenes are quite amazing if you think about them coming from a Muslim country, even one as westernized as
KILINK IN ISTANBUL races along at a wonderful pace. It never lags, never lets up on the action or the sleaze. Its meager budget and time-ravaged print help to give the film an almost psychedelic, deranged quality that burns in your eyes and scrambles your mind. You never really notice that it doesn't make any sense, because it becomes a total sensory experience and not just a simple story. All the b-movie and comic book elements meld together in the singularly Turkish perspective, becoming, for us non-Turks anyway, a unique and wonderfully fun affair, full of weirdness, sex, and adventure galore.
The story picks up right where it left off in ISTANBUL'DA in the next installment KILINK VS SUPERMAN! Actually it picks up a bit before where the last one left off, since the first 15 or so minutes are actually a re-edit of the first film leading straight into the action of the second. But that's OK since in many ways the print quality is much better than the first AND Onar acquired a much better subtitler (is that even a word?) for this second DVD. So, OK, we pick up with Superman (or Flying Man, whatever) on the trail of Kilink who has kidnapped his girl and her father, the scientist responsible for the formula Kilink needs to conquer the world. Along the way, we pick up some comedy relief in the form of a gimpy, cowardly fisherman who takes Supes’ alter-ego to Kilink's island HQ (why didn't he just fly there, being a 'Flying Man'?), here on the island the series picks up its sleaze quotient quite a bit since each of Kilink's henchmen seems to have his own bikinied babe in tow! There's even a belly-dancing scene! And a rather tame orgy scene! This of course gives Superman the chance to get the jump on the bad guys, as they are more concerned with hot chick hip moves than keeping Kilink’s lair in a secure position. Lots of crappy special effects and balls-to-the-wall fights ensue, as Kilink's plans unravel. The final act of the film concerns Kilink's revenge; something to do with a rich Austrian heiress and some fancy jewels, but unfortunately this part of the movie is now lost to time, only a few stills exist which are shown with narration to fill you in on the missing bits. This is unfortunate since this second film really seems to up the ante in the action and sex and was really starting to cook when it drops off. BUT it's pretty damned amazing that we have even this much as this was considered a lost film until recently. Oh well, at least we have what we do and it's highly entertaining.
The last one KILINK:STRIP AND KILL is not nearly as sleazy as its English translated title might imply. It's also the least fantastic of the three, with no Superman to speak of, leaving us only with Kilink and his best gal, Suzy. But really, what more do you need? It's a kind of RED HARVEST-YOJIMBO story with Kilink playing two bloodthirsty gangs against each other in order to get his hands on some gold and a microfilm with Turkish security secrets encoded on it (or something). The plot is kind of confusing at times, even more so than the first, and often feels more like a 60s spy thriller than a superhero or crime film. But still, Kilink is Kilink, and he spends a lot of time seducing (and subsequently, killing) a bevy of attractive ladies, using his impressive imitative skills to get what he wants, and constantly keeping like, 8 or 9 steps ahead of his rivals and the police. But something's different this time. Has Kilink acquired a *gasp* conscience? It would appear so, at one point he saves the life of some broad and her young son and later even praises the efficiency and integrity of the Turkish police! What gives?!? But still, like I said, Kilink is Kilink, and he still displays a viscous sadistic streak towards the other ruthless gangs and their even more ruthless molls. All in all, despite it being in many ways a more tame film, STRIP AND KILL is an incredibly fun and entertaining little movie, even more fast paced and energetic than its predecessors. And it benefits from the exclusion of Superman, giving almost it's entire running time over to our favorite supercriminal, who has now become one of my favorite all-time film characters.
The presentation of STRIP AND KILL is really incredible. Though, again, no negatives exist, it has one of the cleanest, debris-free picture quality of any Turkish film I've seen. Onar really deserves credit for finding this amazing-looking print and doing such a fine transfer. Overall, all the Kilink films on these two DVDs look relatively great. Onar is committed to giving us the best possible viewing experience for these amazing Turkish motion pictures and so far they've done a remarkable job. They seem to have, somewhat masochistically, chosen movies which time and circumstance have not been at all kind to. But in doing so they have given us something no one else really would even dare to do. And they saved these films from either total obscurity or being damned forever to bootleg hell. The UN should really give Onar Films a medal for preserving such an overlooked and almost forgotten part of the world's pop culture.
And I've not even gotten to the extras! The VS SUPERMAN and STRIP AND KILL DVD gives us two video interviews with director Yilmaz Atadeniz and actor Irfan Atasoy respectively which are very informative and interesting if you care at all about the history of the Turkish film industry. There's also a print interview with Atadeniz concerning his older brother who was an early guiding light for the nascent Turkeywood scene, in it he relates his experiences on the set of TARZAN IN ISTANBUL (to be released on DVD later this year from Onar) in the really early days of '52. Fascinating. There's also a detailed filmography for Atasoy which list dozens of obscure films that sound absolutely amazing. As you can tell I'm a sucker for this stuff. A photo gallery and batch of Onar trailers round out the package. The same trailers can be found on the ISTANBUL'DA DVD, which boasts less extras than the other. Certainly the most interesting extra would have to be a detailed Kilink filmography, with mouthwatering descriptions of other films in the series which are now seemingly completely lost. For you, my beloved reader, I present the most intriguing of these, transcribed directly from the DVD:
CANGO OLUM SUVARISI (DJANGO, RIDER OF DEATH)
D: Remzi Conturk
The Turkish Django movie has the relentless gunfighter struggling to bring law and order to a small village in the wild west. In order to exact his bloody vengeance he must unmask the main villain, none other than Kilink, the death rider!
KILINK FRANKENSTAYN'A KARSI (KILINK VS. FRANKENSTEIN)
D: Nuri Akinci
The masked criminal Kilink returns to confront the Frankenstein monster in this great, hilarious, over-the-top episode, upping the horror theme in these unique, imaginative B-grade treasures.
KILINK OLULER KONUSMAZ (KILINK, CORPSES DO NOT TALK)
D: Vavuz Figenli
Aided by his sexy lover and secretary, the mini-skirted Suzie, Kilink is once again busy planning a series of hard-hitting robberies and of course, killings - in this rival 'Kilink' production.
DISI KILLING (SHE KILLING)
D: Aram Galyuz
A woman swears to kill every loving couple in sight after she is ruthlessly disfigured by her jealous husband. She becomes the She Killing, donning the mask of the infamous underworld criminal. A detective is hot on her trail to restrain her. An extraordinary offering from the prolific B-grade film industry of 60s
I must see these. Gods willing, copies will be uncovered somewhere, and I'm sure Onar will be all over them.
Consider these DVDs mandatory purchases, people. The Turks created some weird, amazing, violent, sexy and fun movies during 60s and 70s into the early 80s and Onar has done an amazing job in getting these artifacts to us. You can all of Onar's releases directly from the source at the Onar Films website, or from Onar's eBay alter ego Deathland.
To tide you over here's a couple of links to reviews by other intelligent people who have seen the light concerning the wonderfully weird world of Turkish pulp cinema.
See ya soon, ye Weird Movie Faithful!
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
- Bleeding Skull
Perhaps the most improbable DVD release of the year, 3 DEV ADAM is also the most fun, the most weird and aparantly, the most underseen among cult fans. As detailed yesterday Onar Films has had trouble selling copies of this little masterpiece, which is just a crime. So, gathered here for the first time, is every review I could find online for 3 DEV. If these written testimonials (as well as the above trailer) don't convince you that you NEED to buy this disc, then, well let's just say you're probably no fun at parties and more than likely just like to stay home playing checkers and watching reruns of FULL HOUSE. But true Cult Film Fans will find a treasure of bizarre, no-budget action, sadism and sexiness that you will find hard to resist and easy to revisit time and time again.
We'll start, humbly enough, with our own review posted originally about three weeks ago.
Secondly, we're proud to present a guest review from our friend The Undead Film Critic! Here it is in it's complete glory!
3 Dev Adam (1973)
I remember when I first read Pete Tombs fascinating book Mondo Macabro. I made a mental list of movies mentioned that I HAD to see. 3 Dev Adam was at the top of that list.
I was an avid film fan and I knew a thing or two about foreign cinema, but I was about to be schooled. As I read about Turkey and their blatant disregard for copyright laws and fascination with America pop culture, I wanted to see it for myself. I was in disbelief that a movie even existed where Captain America & Santo would battle Spider-Man. I had to see it.
All that was currently available were bootleg VHS copies, of a copy, of a copy. Poor quality and in my opinion hardly worth the dough. I just couldn't bring myself to fork over $20 buck plus shipping and handling for a VHS copy, I knew would be washed out and edited beyond recognition. It just wouldn't be the same movie I had read about and so anxiously wanted to see.
Well, we should all thank the cinema gods. Thanks to ONAR FILMS, you can now own 3 Dev Adam in what I am sure has to be the best presentation since it played Istanbul.
If the idea of Captain America and El Santo throwing down with Spider-Man is not enough to peak your interest, just watch the first 5 minutes and you will undoubtedly get hooked. Spider (man), who has eyebrows like Tammy Faye Baker, and his gang have buried a woman up to her neck in sand on the beach. What did she do? Did she make fun of Spiders beer gut? Did she steal his mascara? What ever she did, it must have pissed Spidey off good, because he & his henchmen plow a roaring motorboat blade into her face. This all happens before the opening credits roll!
El Santo and Captain America are called in to help capture Spider and his men, as Spider has been breaking into peoples houses and apartments. He is stealing priceless knickknacks and other things that look like the kind of crap my grandmother has displayed in her living room for no good reason. I hope it's worth something because it smells like mothballs grandma.
Anyway, I really like the way Captain America is played as a smooth son of a bitch. There was one scene where Cap and Santo are enjoying a drink at a burlesque show, they are in plain clothes mind you, and some bodyguard types approach the Captain. One of the men taps him on the shoulder, motioning for him to follow and Cap just looks up at him like "I'm trying to finish my drink and see some boobies, do you mind?"
And I love how the filmmakers clue us in to who El Santo is, by having him wear what looks like a Navaho Jacket with an eagle on the back. Just in case you weren't sure if he was Mexican or just tan. And El Santo must be hard up for cash, because he steals money from every person he beats up. He's like Robin Hood, but with better tights.
If sounds like I'm making fun, it's only because the film itself is so much fun. It is by far one of the craziest damn things I have ever seen & worth every minute. What I found most fascinating was seeing another culture's take on American & Mexican icons and how they twist them to suit their own regional taste.
ONAR FILMS has gone above and beyond to bring 3 Dev Adam to DVD. Presented in the best possible picture quality that has ever previously been available, this is a must buy. Featuring interviews, a photo gallery & filmographies, if your DVD player will support the PAL region 0 format, you owe it to yourself to seek this title out. But don't drag your feet. There are only 1,200 out there. I myself, am the proud owner of ..138. I'm a sucker for limited editions.
Now that I have seen 3 Dev Adam, I must check out ONAR FILMS other titles and pray for the day that Turkish Exorcist or, dare I say, Turkish Star Wars reach american soil.
6 FEET DEEP
Fantastic! And now, just follow the links below for more outstanding reviews! You'll notice that it's pretty unanimous, Onar's DVD of 3 DEV ADAM is one for the ages!
Unbelievable that it hasn't gotten more press than this, but that seem to be the very problem, not enough people are buying this DVD,not enough people are seeing this film, NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE CARE AS MUCH AS WE DO!!!
Hopefully we can change that a little here this week.
I leave you with some more quotes from Bill made during the production of the DVD. This is what he goes through to bring you the pure joy that is Turkish Pop Cinema. I think we all owe him a present come Xmas.
"Whatever can go wrong, WILL go wrong", says one of Murphy's laws. I always thought I was a jinx and bad luck was not only after me but also after the people I like and love. To start with, this project looked cursed from the beginning. In December, I had a great friend in Istanbul who was helping me find producers, movies, materials, connections, etc. You must know that no producer there speaks english. Suddenly, my friend disappeared. And after 3 months I found out he was attacked and injured by some criminals and was hiding away from Istanbul!
Now, I found a turkish guy who would do the subtitling for the movie and the 3 interviews. He already sent me the movie subs and they were EXCELLENT! And he was about to do the interviews which were supposed to be ready over a week ago. But ALAS! He has disappeared too! For the last 10 days he doesn't reply to my e-mails and his phone is out of service. And he wasn't even paid for the movie subs. I fear that he may be dead or something, maybe a coma in the best case. Now, unless he miraculously pops up with some good news and a simple explanation, I will have to search for another subtitler. And this would mean at least 2 more weeks delay. So, let's forget April 10th. Late April looks more likely under these circumstances. SORRY!! Oh, in a couple of days the cover will be ready and it will be up here for you to check.
I forgot to add what happened to my very first turkish connection last year. He got divorced all of a sudden and, obviously, quit helping me! Now, some MORE BAD NEWS! The guy who was going to do the subs and disappeared for 12 days rang me up today! He said he had a terrible accident. He took a dive with the lift he was in, from the 4th floor, and was in hospital in critical condition for over a week! Now, am I a bloody jinx or these movies are cursed? Whatever it is I WILL NEVER GIVE UP! WHAT DOESN''T DESTROY ME MAKES ME STRONGER!
Now, the DVD had to stay behind once more. Oh, did I tell you that the assistant of the guy who's building the menus and etc broke his leg, and now he has to do two people's work and finally let my DVD move even slower? So, the new estimation says that the BLOODY DVD will be ready round May 5th. Next week I believe I'll take the master to the factory and then I will have a very precise release date.
Whew! And you thought your life was tough.
NEXT: Our brand new review of Onar's previous two releases KILINK IN INSTANBUL and KILINK VS SUPERMAN/KILINK STRIP AND KILL!!!
Monday, July 10, 2006
"If you want to waste cash, see your hair grow grey, and feel like shit then all you have to do is release Turkish films. I mean, if I released DVDs with paint getting dry or my mother-in-law washing dishes, sales would be much better. Now, sales simply suck. Each new release is doing worse than the previous one. Most of the wholesale dealers that used to buy from me now dumped me for some reason. Nobody gives me a chance. Only XPLOITED CINEMA (www.xploitedcinema.com) in the States proved to be a great friend who has been supporting me steadily. All the others - so far - have decided to pass or just order 5-10 DVD’s just to prove their buyers they carry something special."
This sad quote, from an interview with Bill Barounis, President and CEO of the fabulous Onar Films Co. in Greece, has really struck me hard. I love what Bill does and admire his tenacity and of course his great taste in movies and so it saddens me deeply that he has had such trouble in moving his astounding product. We here at Worldweird Cinema are indebted to people such as Bill who who spend money, sweat and tears to get these amazing, official DVDs of wild foriegn pop cinema out to the general public, so we feel as though we have to give something back. In that spirit and to help Bill out in promoting his wares, we are dedicating the next week to the DVD releases of Onar Films, past, present and future. New reviews, old reviews, trailers, interviews, previews, links galore, and hopefully a few surprises as well. I urge all who read this who haven't yet purchased them to order all of Onar's fine releases, you won't be disapointed. And anyone who has already got them, I urge you to show them to your friends, review them on your blogs, do whatever you can do to ensure that Bill can continue to put out these astonishing Turkish pulp films, some of the craziest, most cartoonish and amateurish (in the true sense of the word) cinema the world has ever offered. We owe Bill a great deal for what he does. We got his back. Do you?
For more immediate info, visit the Onar Films website here.
The late, great Walerian Borowczyk's long unavailable follow up to his erotic classic IMMORAL TALES has been acquired by Severin Films. IMMORAL WOMEN aka HEROINES DU MAL is a collection of four films from the master exploring the forbidden desires of a quartet of feisty femmes (including one who has a rather inappropriate relationship with her pet bunny). Expect a beautiful new transfer from the original negative.
In 1979 legendary French new wave producer Pierre Braunberger (SHOOT THE PIANIST; VIVRE SA VIE) gathered together three of the world's finest erotic filmmakers to produce a landmark feature. Just Jaeckin (EMMANUELLE), Walerian Borowczyk (THE BEAST) and Shuji Terayama (FRUITS OF PASSION) direct a triptych of shorts based on their fantasies. The formidable Laura Gemser toplines an international cast. This is the first time this film has been released in the US and will be newly transferred from the original negative.
We here at Worldweird just love us some foreign smut. Therefore we love us some Severin Films. You should too, if you know what's good for ya.
Friday, July 07, 2006
Here are the kinda cool covers (I always prefer it when they use old ad art for the cover designs, but oh well) for NIGHT OF THE WEREWOLF and VENGEANCE OF THE ZOMBIES:
No info concerning technical details or extras seems to be available yet, but stayed tuned! We'll keep you in the know!!
Info via the fine folk at DVD Drive-In and The Mark of Naschy
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
The big news, however, would have to be the pending release of Mariano Baino's 90s Italian Horror DARK WATERS. They will be two 2-disc editions, one a limited, typically NoShame decked-out set with a 40-page book and a stone amulet replica. Far out! The other edition is just the regular 2-disc deal that I assume is somewhat unlimited.
I haven't seen this movie, and have heard/read decidedly mixed opinions about it, but that is a really cool package and the NoShame description on the site sounds kind of mouthwatering actually ...
A remote, storm-swept island… a population of evolutionary throwbacks… a forbidding Medieval monastery… a strange religious order… ancient, undying evil.
After the death of her father, a beautiful Londoner travels to a desolate island to investigate the dead man's bequest of a large sum of money to be paid annually to the reclusive nuns of a local convent. Given little
information from the secretive sisterhood or their blind Mother Superior, Elizabeth strikes out on her own with the aid of a helpful novice… and discovers the convent serves as a prison for an ancient aquatic demon… whose awful wrath is held at bay only so long as the fragments of a stone amulet bearing the monster’s horrific likeness are kept separated.
The first and only feature film by Mariano Baino is an unabashed love letter to the strange stories of H. P. Lovecraft and the color (and blood) drenched films of Mario Bava and Dario Argento. Filmed on location in Ukraine and making atmospheric use of the famed Odessa catacombs, DARK WATERS is an undeniably audacious debut … a sumptuously unsettling smorgasbord of disconcerting visuals and unnerving sounds that must be seen to be believed.
DARK WATERS stars British actress Louise Salter (INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE) and Soviet performer Mariya Kapnist (Naina the Witch from Aleksandr Ptushko’s RUSLAN AND LYUDMILLA) in her last film role.
NoShame Films proudly presents DARK WATERS, complete and uncut, in its original aspect ratio, along with the short films of Mariano Baino… for the first time ever on DVD.
The entire DVD was created under the exclusive supervision of the director.
This drops September 26th, yo. So pick it up.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
To prove my point, here's a nice clip from the christploitation/anti-communist classick film IF FOOTMAN TIRE YOU, WHAT WILL HORSES DO?
It doesn't get any more American than this.