Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Worldweird Top 7 of 2006!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, here's my (Jared, your editor-in-chief!) list for the top 7 "Worldweird" DVDs released during the calander year of 2006.
Let's get this shit out there!

7) BOXER’S OMEN (Celestial/Image) - One of the wildest films ever, this HK horror head-fuck is one of the most unlikely and welcome DVD releases of the year, and probably my favorite movie unleashed this year. So why isn’t higher? Despite informative and well-written liner notes by Steven Gladwin , this DVD is pretty bare bone’d and could’ve used a few more bells and whistles to send it into orbit. A Cantonese language soundtrack would’ve been nice as well. But it seemingly is fairly unaffected by the somewhat lackluster PAL-to-NTSC video transfers that have marred the previous Celestial/Image SB titles BLACK MAGIC and SUPER INFRA-MAN. The former there I think is also one of the year's more significant DVDs , being a great movie and an important one for understanding an entire strain of Asian Horror. But the picture quality is a little problematic on that one, so a bride’s maid it remains. Get BOXER’S though. It is an entirely awesome and unbelievable spectacle.

6) STREET LAW (Blue Underground) – Sawing through my eyes unlike any Italo-crime potboiler ever had before, SL is a masterpiece of gritty Roman celluloid madness. Castellari has crafted balls-out slug-fest that batters and surprises at every hook and angle. Franco Nero, DJANGO himself, tops that legendary performance in my mind with his astonishing portrayal of an ordinary man pushed to far. He makes that crap-movie cliché come to vivid existence like almost no actor before or since. Incredible soundtrack too, for those who care about such things (like me). Utterly essential, if you love Italian genre or 70s crime films. The other Castelleri BU DVS BIG RACKET and THE HEROIN BUSTERS are the tops too, but don’t quite leave the bruises that STREET LAW does. There were lots of great Italian pop-thrillers re-born this past year, from both BU and the stellar NO SHAME label. All in all, a fine year for the once lost or ignored cinematic treasures of our Italian friends. Let’s hope it keeps up, eh?

5) MANSION OF THE LIVING DEAD (Severin) – The biggest surprise of the year for me. I wasn’t expecting much from this one. Interested yes, of course. But I focused most of my pre-release enthusiasm on it’s sister Jess Franco release MACUMBA SEXUAL, which is indeed a bizarre and groovy psycho-sex flick, while only picking up MANSION when I found it used at a local musique shoppe. Imagine my surprise when it emerged from the screen a far more fascinating, odd and haunting film than MACUMBA, in fact it’s more fascinating, odd and haunting than almost any film I saw all year. MANSION builds from its obnoxious, frothy sex comedy beginning to a cheesy-but-uneasy horror movie cliché middle act and on to an utterly mind-rending finale, full of weird, ambient dread and kinky mindgames. Some have slogged this one as a minor, barely entertaining blip in director Jess Franco’s career, but we have to disagree most aggressively. MANSION OF THE LIVING DEAD is one of Franco’s most outré and arrestingly original films. Yeah, deal with it.
MACUMBA does rule too, however and both DVDs feature typically fantastic interviews with ole Jesus himself as well as his longtime companion and singular filth muse Lina Romay. You need both of these, trust me.

4) WITCH’S MIRROR (CasaNegra) – Uncanny. Otherworldly. These adjectives come most easily to mind when wanting to describe this Mexican horror oddity. But neither really comes close. A true cinematic poetry arises out of the cheesy hodge-podge of horror movie tropes and stock stories the make up the plot of WITCH’S MIRROR, unlikely as it may seem. It’s a spell-binding experience, a ‘pure’ cinema, full of searing images, which could awaken magick possibilities in the imagination of the viewer if he/she is in the right frame of mind. It’s fun too; those plot mechanics are handled with utter confidence and even perhaps knowing wink here and there. Outstanding cinema and an essential DVD. Close behind this masterpiece is more Latin Gothic weirdness in the form of BRAINIAC and CURSE OF THE CRYING WOMEN. Amazing surrealist fever-dreams dressed as silly b-movie monster mashes. Fucking Christ, so good it almost hurts.

3) DUST DEVIL (Subversive) - South African director Richard Stanley’s metaphysical serial killer opus is possibly the best single movie I saw all year (that I hadn’t seen before, anyway) and Subversive’s 5-disc (!!!) special edition is topping various “Best Of” lists for a very good reason: it’s one of the most comprehensive DVD releases in the history of the format. Every aspect of the film’s labored history is explored and well as other aspects of Stanley’s career via his startling and original documentaries. It’s an exhaustive and astounding set that every film fan needs to have in his collection. It’s limited; though so, pick it up while you still can!

2) 3 DEV ADAM (Onar Films) – Check our original review here. It says everything pretty much. But to summarize: Onar’s amazing and unlikely DVD is boon for all cult film fans and for obscure international pop culture awareness. The movie itself is 75 minutes of gonzo comic-book exhilaration and hysterical disbelief. Absolutely essential. As are the earlier KILINK discs we also reviewed here. Be on the lookout for the TURKISH HORROR DOUBLE FEATURE and the TURKISH SUPERMAN DVDs coming up soon enough. They promise to be even better, weirder, more obscure and are all guaranteed to bring a mischievous smile to every weird film fan’s relieved visage.

1) BOLLYWOOD HORROR COLLECTION VOL. 1 (Mondo Macabro) – The most fun I had in front of the TV screen all year. Absolutely joyous Curry-Gothic blockbusters of the most rare and delectable sort. PURANA MANDIR and BANDH DARWAZA take 50s and 60s Euro-Goth stories and apply them to the wild and wooly homegrown recipes for film madness that the Indians are famous (or infamous to some in the West) for. I don’t think there was a single moment in either film when I wasn’t overwhelmed with sheer good old fashioned movie-watching exhilaration. Mondo Macabro deserves a heapin’ helpin’ of good will for laying this doozy on us. But it was merely the peak in an overall outstanding year of DVD releases from our favorite label. SATAN’S BLOOD was my other fave, an outrageous and surreal Spanish horror that lingered in my mind unlike any other film I saw this year. Bizarre, sexy and totally fucking off-it’s-rocker, SATAN’S is the year’s most essential Eurohorror re-release. Although the Gallic shocker DON’T DELIVER US FROM EVIL comes damn close. It’s a downbeat and subtle yarn that possesses a unique and morbid vision, a true-crime film that flirts with a kind of existential-fantastical quality. MM also gave us two amazing Indonesian efforts this year. THE DEVIL’S SWORD you can read about here. VIRGINS FROM HELL, aside from being a completely nutty blast of celluloid cheesiness boasts the year’s single most entertaining special feature: an entire disc of Indonesian exploitation and fantasy trailers. Fun, fun, fun. I also was extremely pleased that the two titles I was somewhat ambivalent about, LIFESPAN and SNAKE DANCER turned out to be real winners as well. Both are terrific, odd little films with their own weird concerns and methods. Consider all these MM titles to be must-buys discs. If you want your collection to be sufficiently Worldweird you need to pick each one up and absorb them into you subconscious at your earliest convenience. Ah, fuck that, GO AND BUY THEM NOW! What are you waiting for?

And now, I (Jared, again) am proud to present a series of competing Top 7 lists from esteemed contibuters and friends!Firstly, here are two (!!) lists is the singular Scott Wallis!


The first domestic Shaw Bros. release from CELESTIAL FILMS. They have over 750 Shaw titles in their library, and have been making them available overseas since 2003. It's about time they spread the wealth. Fuck the Weinsteins and their Dragon Dynasty DVD!

3 DEV ADAM ('73)
My favorite of the ONAR FILMS releases. A reason to love being alive, and be of wage-earning age!

"George W. Bush in a Pink Film?" was the oft-accompanying tag of this low budget bizarre mindfuck overflowing with wall-to-wall nudity and softcore sex. My fave of the New Wave.

GANJA & HESS ('73)
Finally! This replaced the existing VHS print, BLOOD COUPLE, which was cut by 30 minutes! All Day Entertainment seems to be picking up steam with two releases this year.

MARJOE ('72)
Another much anticipated release in excellent quality! Infamous child evangelist Marjoe Gortner went out of the snake oil racket with a bang in this "how-to" documentary.

All six eps John K. made for Spike TV (back when it was still "The New TNN"), three of which were never aired in the original 2003 run. A genius recognized.

The second best game show ever (Gong Show is #1), this box set contains 30 uncut episodes and some very nice extras. A wonderful tribute!



Argento is finally completing the trilogy that began 30 yeras ago.

Timo Rose is back with a buzz that has me champing at the bit. As a result, German Splatter gets the well-deserved videohound spotlight.

Finally getting their shit together and getting their shit out the door.

The website was up for nearly two years before their first release, but the gears are finally turning to crank out their awesome catalog.

Mexican horror from the '60s, uncut and pristine. 'Nuff said.

13 films hand-picked and introduced by the Pope of Trash, for the PPV network HERE!. Some rare gems and tasty offerings added to my collection for cheap.

Creators of TOM GOES TO THE MAYOR had a hell of a year with new eps of TGTTM, a brand new series to debut in '07, and a two city interactive live show tour, which I was lucky enough to attend, that either confirmed their genius, or verified their mental deterioration.

That's grippa tight.
Now feast you eyes on the unrelenting Undead Film Critic's List of Lists! From the chilly area beyond the beyond ...

07. 3 DEV ADAM - Super Collectible Edition (1973) - Finally! Thanks to Onar Films, one of cult cinema's weirdest & wildest achievements received the tender loving care that it so richly deserved.

06. GOJIRA - Godzilla Classic Collector's Edition - Presenting both the original 98-minute Japanese horror film & the 79 minute "Raymond Burr" cut, this release was a long time coming. I was particular impressed by the packaging and presentation of the material. An essential addition to any DVD collection.

05. Severin Films - The Criterion of Smut! God Bless 'em. Bringing to the masses GWENDOLINE AND HER MANY ADVENTURES IN THE LAND OF THE YIK YAK was a steamy introduction to a company that understands the sweaty and sleazy appeal of the more carnal cult gems.

04. GIRL BOSS GUERILLA / TERRIFYING GIRLS HIGH SHCOOL: LYNCH LAW CLASSROOM - Panik House released two titles from their The Pinky Violence Collection (boxset) as stand alones, so those of you who don't already own the box set can finally bear witness to some of the GREATEST films ever made. If you don't already own the The Pinky Violence Collection (boxset), which was released last year, you owe it to yourself to seek it out. It has to be my favorite box set ever. If it had a little sexual hole on the side of it, I would take it to bed with me every night.

03. KAMIKAZEE GIRLS (2004) - I fell deeply in love with Kamikaze Girls this year. A kinetic & colorful film filled with Female Punk Rock Scooter gangs, 18th Century French fashion, Cabbage & Embroidery. Entertaining as all hell, Kamikaze Girls is like making out with Japanese Pop Culture. And yes, there is a happy ending.

02. OLDBOY - 3-Disc Collector's Edition - The second chapter of Park Chan-wook's Revenge Trilogy is a modern masterpiece. And this 3 disc set goes above and beyond in terms of presentation. A think tin case encloses 3 all encompassing discs, a film cell and a copy of the manga of which the film is based.

01. CasaNegra - A division of Panik House, CasaNegra has found a place for itself by filling a void. Latin cinema simply had not be properly presented in the US on DVD, until now. Treating each title with reverence and respect, CasaNegra has set it self up as THE label to watch in 2007. This year I was especially impressed with their release of BRAINIAC (Barón del terror, El) & THE VAMPIRE COLLECTION - 2-Disc Special Edition.

Honorable Mention - THE BOLLYWOOD HORROR COLLECTION (Volume 1) / DUST DEVIL - The Final Cut - Limited Collector's Edition / THE EMILIO MIRAGLIA KILLER QUEEN Box Set - Limited Collector's Edition / THE GREAT YOKAI WAR - Double-Disc Special Edition / STREET TRASH - Special Two-Disc Meltdown Edition

And here we have another outstanding list! This one from the gregarious Greg Goodsell!

The year 2006 saw the release of two of my favorite films on DVD! SINGAPORE SLING and THE DEVIL’S SWORD both joined the digital age at long last – and another wayward film from Thailand shocked, surprised and entertained me.

2. THE DEVIL’S SWORD (Indonesia)

Be sure to purchase DVD’s from Code Red DVD – THE FOREST and the upcoming SCHOOLGIRLS IN CHAINS and LOVE ME DEADLY! All three feature commentary tracks hosted by yours truly!

You heard the man! Check out them digs, kids!
And last but you better believe not least our Hero from Hellas, magik Miltos Kordas! Who of course is a.k.a. CINEHOUND.
Listen to him, he knows his stuff.

VAHSETIN ESIRLERI (Turkish gory western, 1971)
SALDIRGANLAR (Turkish mega-violent hardcore)
A HITMAN CALLED PAPAKO (Brazilian weird h/c Django western)
THE LADY OF THE BLACK MOONS (Egyptian erotic horror, 1971)
WOLVES DON'T EAT MEAT (Egyptian strong sleazy action/crime, 1973)
VENGEANCE (Hindi "woman's revenge for rape", 80s)
MAUT (Hindi Horror)

Thanks to all these Kings among Critics for lending us their thought and ops. And thanks to you for checking us out in 2006. And in 2007! Right? Right?
Happy New Year!
Worldweird Cinema loves you!!!

Friday, December 22, 2006


At long last: One of our most anticipated DVD releases of 2006 is arriving ... in 2007.
Better late than never! Needless to say, we are stoked.
The Low Down:

1) OLULER KONUSMAZ KI (THE DEAD DON’T TALK): Sometimes the dead DO talk
if ONAR gives them a chance, like this God-forgotten 1970 Turkish Gothic
Horror gem. A haunted house in the forest, a ghostly zombie-like
bogeyman, a curse, pretty ladies meeting horrible deaths, endless
macabre boo-ha-ha's, gloomy suffocating atmosphere, Aytekin Akkaya(3 DEV
ADAM'S Captain America), pretty ladies, stolen music from Space
Odyssey(well, Richard Strauss, that is) and giallos, exorcisms and other
goodies guarantee a hair-raising experience. This is another worldwide
premiere, never seen before on any kind of media. Luckily, the master
was found in satisfactory condition so the picture is close to great.

2) ASKA SUSAYANLAR SEKS VE CINAYET (THIRSTY FOR LOVE SEX AND MURDER): If you are thirsty for a genuine giallo with lots of blood, sleaze, mystery
and twists, this one is for you. It could be a Sergio Martino film, like
STRANGE VICE OF MRS WARDH, but it comes straight from Turkey! Here, a
maniac (or two?) with a sharp huge razor is after pretty girls. A woman
is suffering a youth trauma and is haunted by the nightmare of her past.
The only remaining master was found in good condition so the picture is
not great but good enough for a Turkish 70’s film.

Country: Turkey

Year: 1: 1970, 2: 1972

Director: 1: Yavuz Yalinkilic, 2: Mehmet Aslan

Actors: 1: Aytekin Akkaya, Dogan Tamer, Giray Alpan

2: Yildirim Gencer, Kadir Inanir, Meral Zeren, Eva Bender


1200 numbered copies

Turkish audio

English & Greek subtitles

B/W (1), Colour (2), 4:3, DVD9

3 Interviews with AYTEKIN AKKAYA , METIN DEMIRHAN (horror director and
author of the cult book TURKISH FANTASTIC CINEMA) and GIOVANNI
SCOGNAMILLO, actor and co-author of above book. Turkish audio with
English subs.


Filmographies OF DIRECTORS

Biographies OF DIRECTORS


Coming "Middle January"! Still not soon enough! We wants it now!!!!


Thursday, December 21, 2006


Directed by Saeed Ali Khan
Pakistan; 1990

HASEENA ATOM BOMB heaps on the insanity, never ceasing in its attempts to bury you under glitzy, near-psychedelic song-and-dance numbers and go-for-broke fisticuff scenes. It’s a pop-art extravaganza on the most limited budget imaginable. The movie does become something of an endurance test here and there at nearly three hours, like most South Asian films, but is so weird and overwhelming you can’t help but to watch, hypnotized by the z-grade skullduggery. And at times you might feel a little lost, if your copy like mine lacks English subs, at the subtle nuances of plot. Characters flow willy-nilly in and out of the story, which would seem to be balance at least two main plot-lines, if not more. It gets rather confusing. But let it ride. Give in to the uncanny and exotic kitsch on display, and it will reward you with exploitation riches of the most unusual kind.

ATOM BOMB is a sleaze fest from Pakistan. That’s right, Pakistan. In fact, the film originates in the Pashtun area, on the northwestern frontier which borders Afghanistan, which is the very cultural matrix that gave rise to the Taliban. And yet during the 1990s, this culture gave the world (or a small part of it anyway, these movies were not widely exported) an exploitation film industry that delivered astounding levels of sleaze and weirdness. ATOM BOMB is one such film, and according to critic Omar Khan, caused quite the sensation throughout greater Pakistan when it “blew up” on screens across that sun-baked, mountainous nation. He goes so far as to call it “a major work of art” and a “searing sociopolitical indictment” and while I agree that it totally rules, I don’t know if I’d go quite that far. But it certainly is an astonishing blast of gonzo world cinema at its most bewildering.

Compared with the graphic displays of naked flesh in American and European exploitation, you might think that this Pashto shocker would look kind of tame to us jaded westerners. But incredibly, it doesn’t. Sure there’s not a girl in the film that shows a bit of skin that’s not on her face or hands but the tone and technique of the movie thrusts sex and violence in your face at nearly every turn. The plot is (yet another) rape-revenge yarn, with an abundance of mustachioed bad-guys doing mustachioed bad things and getting their violent comeuppance. My favorite is the guy who punishes evil drug dealers by draining their blood with a giant syringe. It’s a truly bizarre site you won’t soon forget, even if you going blotto with uncontrollable laughter as you witness it. The songs are fun, and are highlighted with a high school drama club set design run psychedelically riot. Cheap, utterly poverty-ridden in fact, but like all great low budget cinema epics, it turns this limitation into an asset, an unusual and uncanny mis-en-scene un-achievable by more lavishly funded flicks. And the fight scenes are just as plentiful, thankfully, as the singing and dancing and are marvels of sub-Kung Fu action hysteria, with every hit, punch and kick reverberating across the screen with a loud, thunderous THWACK that pulverizes you even if you don’t believe for a second that those punches are connecting with their targets.

There’s a lot to recommend here for the adventurous cult-film fan. But South Asian films are a bit of an acquired taste, and can be utter torture to some. But if you’ve cut your teeth on the films of Italy and Hong Kong, and moved on to Indonesia and Turkey but are looking for something a little further out, then the low budget cinema of India and Pakistan might just be thing you’re lookin’ for. Just don’t try and watch these movies in one sitting. I don’t think it could be done anyway, but if you do, I think you might be risking aneurysm as these exotic potboilers will rend your brain if you aren’t ready. You’ve been warned.

Print provided by Shocking Videos.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

PRIMITIVES: The World of Indonesian Horror and Exploitation Cinema

This is an article originally published in BRUTARIAN Magazine #33, back in 2001. We proudly re-present here with full permission from it's author, Greg Goodsell.
Thanks Greg!


An American graduate student’s head flies away from her body, her intestines and lungs trailing behind her in the breeze. An evil sorcerer transforms a suave martial artist into a “were-pig”. A band of Asian babes in halter tops, hot pants and thigh-high boots mount their dirt bikes to do battle with drug lords ...

All of these lurid situations and images should be readily familiar to followers of Indonesian horror and exploitation films. MYSTICS IN BALI (1981), WARRIOR AND THE NINJA (1987) and VIRGINS FROM HELL (1987) from which the above scenes originate from respectively have delighted discerning western audiences with their exotic, flavorful elements.

Shot quickly and with very little, if any budget, these films entertain with jury-rigged special effects, silent movie plots and an overall cinematic technique that could be charitably called “rustic.”

Many extenuating factors contribute to these movies’ appeal. Usually set in the lush, dense forests and jungles of its homeland, peopled with natives who live a way of life untouched by industrialized society, these films cater to the video armchair traveler. Indonesian films also have a fierce integrity to them, untouched by irony and sophistication. A film set in a village with mud walls, bamboo roofs and wandering livestock has the undeniable ring of authenticity to it. These are no movie sets. The viewer gets the impression that once the movie lights were switched off from the generators, the film crew retired to hammocks slung between palm trees to continue shooting the next day.

A certain cultural ignorance surrounding these films adds to their aura. Only occasionally using conventions found in Western movies, the Indonesian horror film has little or no use for vampires and werewolves. These films dip deeply into Southeast Asia’s rich folkloric tradition, offering sights and sounds found nowhere else.

Before the viewer plunges in with a machete a pith helmet into this rough cinematic terrain, two things must be kept in mind. First, Indonesia is a fiercely Islamic nation, most unusual for this part of the world. Islamic symbols and motifs pop up continually through these films, as well as informing their sensibilities. While graphic violence is plentiful and nauseating, few Indonesian films feature female nudity below the shoulders. This results in odd, ethnocentric situations. I WANT TO GET EVEN (1988) features a bad guy being blown into fleshy tissue by a bazooka -- but the leading lady is not photographed below the face in her frequent rape scenes.

Another factor in these films is that all were made under the iron-fisted rule of President Suharto. As recounted in the film THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY (1982), the Javanese strongman expelled the communists from power in a bloody coup and took control in 1967. Welcomed by the West who was then concerned with the spread of communism in that part of the world, the Indonesian proletariat began to enjoy limited modernization and a certain economic prosperity under his reign. As Pete Tombs’ explains in his indispensable examination of world exploitation cinema Mondo Macabro, these films were intended for a blue-collar, working-class audience who demanded escapist fare. Fantastical in nature, these motion pictures were intended for the worker done with his shift at the American-owned oilrig. These films could be read as part and parcel of Suharto’s bread-and-circuses governorship. The regime was not above forcibly removing a film from theaters that did not suit its purposes - LADY TERMINATOR (1988) was yanked after a 10-day run when it became apparent it would become the popular film in Indonesian history.

Suharto resigned in 1998 amidst accusations of corruption. Indonesia today remains a politically unstable region, like most Third World Nations, nothing encouraging is heard from. Ethnic riots and violence are a daily occurrence. Its currency the rupiah plummeted on the world market and was a chief contributing factor to the Asian economic crisis of the past century.

One casualty of all of this upheaval appears to have been its genre cinema. In the seventies and eighties, independent producers along with established studios such as Rapi Films ground out product that found broad appeal among the people of the world’s fourth most populous nation.

At their best, these movies drop the viewer in a strange jungle wilderness populated with strange beings, sights and sounds. The viewer is left to hack their way through the underbrush without a compass. Those who have covered this terrain find it’s a trip worth taking over, again and again.


While Indonesia has had a bustling film industry since the 1930s and beyond, we will begin this survey with three features shot in the late 1970s, early 1980s. One follows the template of countless Asian fantasy films; another mimics a Western horror film almost shot-by-shot and winds up putting its own distinct spin on things; and the third tries to cash in on an exploitation staple only to get it gloriously, hilariously wrong.

PENANGKAL ILMU TELUH (Circa 1978: Loose English translation: Black Magic Talisman Knowledge) directed by S.A. Karim, is a typical supernatural Asian horror film. A husband in a rural farming village thinks his wife is being unfaithful and enlists the aid of a local wizard to cast spells against her perceived lover. Bargain basement special effects ensue, as another wizard is enlisted to do battle in a war of magic. One especially graphic scene has the village round-heeler stricken with premature aging, leaving her face terribly wrinkled. Seeking the services of a witch, the woman undergoes a Third World “chemical peel” where the hag flays the woman’s face with dull knives. The witch then applies a thick cream that is peeled away as a mask, restoring the woman’s face to its previous beauty.

Any viewer familiar of the horror films of Hong Kong, South Korea, Cambodia, Japan and Vietnam will instantly recognize the flimsy plot. Sexual jealousy, real or imagined, causes one of the characters to use magical means against their unfaithful lover. It would be easy to assume that these films prey upon the distrust, superstitions and xenophobia of their intended audiences. Hong Kong horror films in particular have an unspeakable dread surrounding people from Mainland China, Macao and Taiwan.

This conclusion is overly facile. A casual viewing of any of these movies reveals that any character that resorts to magic -- either for vengeance or to combat witchcraft, is doomed to failure. Even the most sympathetic characters that seek the assistance of a shaman or sorcerer invariably come to a bad end. The true Asian horror film routinely admonishes the viewer to reject the ancient fears and superstitions from which it draws its inspiration.

Another thing entirely is DUKUN LINTAH (Loose English translation: Leech Warlock, circa 1978) directed by Ackyl Anwary, the scriptwriter of Penangkal. It closely follows Asian horror film conventions as well. A young man’s advances to a rich girl are rejected as she takes her true love’s hand in marriage. The young man seeks the services of a jungle witch doctor, which as the title suggests uses bloodsuckers to mete out vengeance. DUKUN LINTAH then abruptly turns into a slavish, frame-by-frame remake of David Cronenberg’s SHIVERS/THEY CAME FROM WITHIN (1975)! Viewers will recognize and begin to mentally check off scenes lifted in their entirety from the original, almost down to the camera angles.

What makes DUKUN LINTAH so fascinating is not its blatant plagiarism (Cronenberg’s attorneys are either unaware of this film’s existence or assume all they could get in damages would be earthen pots and rice), but how the narrative plays in a diametrically opposed setting. THEY CAME FROM WITHIN’s gross-out sequences are reproduced in loving detail; leeches swim up a bathing beauty’s nether regions as she soaks in a river, the hero tries to stuff the parasites in his mouth once they’re removed from his stomach; a fat. elderly woman becomes a sex-crazed maniac, et cetera. It soon becomes abundantly clear that a horror film about the alienation of modern life simply doesn’t play the same after the setting is changed from a sterile apartment complex to a mud-caked village with outdoor privies - although it does make for some fascinating comparisons. It comes as no surprise that the leech-infected villagers in DUKUN LINTAH do not go on to infect the outside world as in the original, but revert to happy villagers after a holy man says a prayer.

How Indonesian filmmakers take a particular story or genre element and tailor it to parochial tastes is highly evident in PRIMITIVES (1978). Shot at a time when movies such as MAKE THEM DIE SLOWLY and CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST were packing them in grind houses, director Sisworo Gautama gathers all the appropriate elements and bluntly refuses to follow any of this sub-genre’s conventions. How, you may ask? PRIMITIVES is the only Third World Cannibal movie from a Third World nation without the slightest trace of cannibalism in it. A careful viewing of the film shows villagers scarfing frogs, turtles and in the film’s show-stopping draw - a live crocodile as it snaps at the savage’s grasping hands -- but no human flesh.

PRIMITIVES follows a trio of intrepid city explorers, led by Indo-trash perennial Berry Prima in search of an undiscovered jungle tribe. Predictably, our heroes fall into the clutches of a gang of savages who delight in trussing them up and forcing them to eat Gila monster pate. They manage to escape, but not before the bespectacled, nerdy member of their party dies from his wounds. In a poignant moment, his life flashes before his eyes of happier times, i.e. eating snow cones in a filthy water slide park!

The cannibal genre that enjoyed a vogue in the late 1970s was essentially the product of white Europeans (Italians, mostly) contrasting the differences between brute savages and “civilized man.” Films in this canon are rife with racism and xenophobia while simultaneously pointing out the inherent brutality of modern civilization. Primitives can’t begin to address these themes, because, well ... it features Southeast Asians being menaced by Southeast Asians in third-rate caveman outfits!

Such an ill-advised attempt is revealed early on in the musical cue that occurs immediately after savages in a jungle glen dispatch a man; as the credits roll, it’s not chanting or percussion we hear but Kraftwerk’s electro-funky “We Are the Robots!”

These films out of the way, we now turn our eyes to an important Indonesian feature that used its naiveté and lack of polish to literally cast a spell on this reviewer to go in search for other videos from this far-flung land --


It all began after a friend of mine loaned me this video he said he absolutely hated. MYSTICS IN BALI, along with THE BOXER'S OMEN (1983), is the one feature that left me scratching my head in wonderment as to what planet this broadcast was transmitting from.

MYSTICS IN BALI, directed by H. Tjut Djalil was at one time a hot and widely discussed commodity on the U.S. video bootleg circuit that fulfilled the viewer's demands for . . . . Something different.

The film opens against a montage of Balinese dream warrior masks. The story concerns American occult scholar (Ilona Agathe Bastian) Katherine Keane, fresh off the plane to research Balinese Leak (pronounced Lee-ak) Black Magic. Enlisting the aid of her native boyfriend Mahendra (Yos Santo), they arrange a meeting with a practicing witch in the nearby rain forest. The hag, who keeps her decaying face hidden in the darkness, agrees to instruct Kathy in exchange for bottles of human blood.

Returning the following night with withdrawals from the local blood bank, the witch begins to instruct Kathy on the ways of Leak sorcery. But the cackling hag enacts a big price from Kathy, as the crone gradually regains her youthfulness, and Kathy becomes an unwilling pawn in a climactic battle between demonic forces.

MYSTICS IN BALI gives the Third World special effects unit ample opportunity to indulge in cut-rate theater. They are plentiful, and all would not fool a preschooler. Kathy and her witch instructor shape shift into snakes and pigs through the wonder of clay and papier- mache. A gigantic serpent tongue that extends through the forest is an all too obvious hand puppet. Battling wizards and magicians are represented by basketballs set on fire and suspended on fishing line.

In the film's most notorious scene, Kathy's head separates from her body to fly through the air to devour newborn infants, accomplished by blue-screen TV effects and puppet strings.

As Pete Tombs would rave in Mondo Macabro: “MYSTICS IN BALI[ ‘s] . . . . awkwardness and shooting style give it a strange kind of authenticity. The camera hardly ever moves; most scenes are filmed in one take, using medium or close shots. In the many night sequences there are no foregrounds. The characters are isolated against the vast, empty backdrop of black space. There’s a constant feeling of mystery, of tension, as though almost anything might emerge from the blackness.”

One can readily laugh at MYSTICS IN BALI's many technical shortcomings. And yet . . . . the film exerts a strange power over the viewer. Western audiences, accustomed as they are to razor sharp production values and computer generated imagery, are taken aback by the film's unshakable integrity. One gets the impression that the filmmakers genuinely believe in the subject matter.

Sometimes, sincerity is the most effective component in art. Such is the case with MYSTICS IN BALI.


Described as “South East Asia’s reigning horror diva,” the films of Suzzanna (sometimes referred to as JP Suzzanna) are very enigmatic. A pretty, if plump actress who recalls Imelda Marcos crossed with Elizabeth Taylor, Suzzanna seems to have been well into middle age at the height of her hold on the box office. A lack of printed information on her adds to her mystique. Is she the wife of a producer?

Suzzanna entered moviegoers’ consciousness back in 1979 with QUEEN OF BLACK MAGIC (1979), which found limited domestic exploitation play as BLACK MAGIC III, in an attempt to associate it with the Shaw Brothers’ unrelated BLACK MAGIC series. In a backwoods village, Suzzanna plays a woman wrongfully accused of witchcraft. Her mother is killed; her home destroyed and is driven into the jungle by the angry township. She meets a wizard who has his own reasons for disliking the village, and the predictable magical mayhem ensues.

Suzzanna would come into her own in what one suspects is a series of films about the Snake Queen. Either an obscure South Seas or perhaps Hindu goddess, the Snake Queen is a malevolent deity who reappears with frequency in Indonesian cinema. A haughty personage, the Snake Queen dishes out harsh judgment to those who would obtain success without working for it, and dispenses some hard-won wisdom to those who survive the final reel.

The character is introduced in all her supercilious glory in THE SNAKE QUEEN (198?). Suzzanna delivers good fortune to her followers under the provision that a human sacrifice is made in her honor within the year. The special effects are surprisingly good, perhaps showing the hands of the film’s Japanese co-producers. Attended by her many chorus girl supplicants in a glittery grotto, SNAKE QUEEN is rich in kitschy exoticism. The opening scene where the Queen is introduced to the audience gliding through a series of psychedelic alcoves in an outrageously phony cave setting could pass muster as the Most Boring Ride in Disneyland.

Not so serious in tone is HUNGARY SNAKE WOMAN (1982), directed by PRIMITIVES’ Sisworo Gautama. The Snake Queen this time advises a young ne’er-do-well to kill three women and dine on their breasts. The film has a bit too much fun with the character; Suzzanna beds down with a mere mortal and the circular bed swirls magically around a series of undisguised disco spotlights.

The last film to make the U.S. bootlegging rounds with Suzzanna has been WHITE CROCODILE, available only in the Bahasan language. WHITE CROCODILE is little more than outrageous gore effects on a $1.99 budget. All the elements, such as chorus girl followers are stupid jungle explorers winding up as crocodile food are present. CROCODILE’s budget appears paltry. Alligator fins on the costumes of her followers are undisguised, paper-cut white cardboard. The reviewer readily admits having given up halfway on CROCODILE with its plethora of dialogue scenes.

Fascinating in their excess, the films of Suzzanna are ripe for camp stateside discovery.


I WANT TO GET EVEN! (1988, aka VIOLENT ASSASINS aka LADY EXTERMINATOR). The film is a weird hybrid of silent movie-style melodrama, crime and action genres. The plot is a simple one. Irma (Eva Arnaz) is the long-suffering wife of cab driver Rudy (Clift Sangra). A demure lotus blossom with beautiful features, blue eye shadow, red lips and furry armpits, she works as a cashier at a nightclub to make ends meet. The nightclub is the front for a drug and weapons smuggling operation lorded over by Sid Haig-lookalike Cobra. Gang rape is a favored pastime of Cobra’s business associates, and a trio of thugs drags Irma into the jungle for a quick one-two.

Husband Rudy, who appears to have his eyebrows and moustache drawn in with felt pen, doesn’t take too kindly to the news. In spite of Irma’s first trimester pregnancy, Rudy insists the gang rape is all Irma’s fault and sends her sailing out of his speeding taxicab! As the viewer can guess, their marriage is more than just a dysfunctional one. Turned out of the house, Irma seeks solace in a friend who advises her against abortion. As her friend points out, her mentally defective handicapped daughter (played by a real mentally defective handicapped girl - a taboo Asian cinema frequently indulges in) born under duress has grown into the light of her life. “A man is only his own pride,” Irma discovers upon reflection.

The rest of the film details the activities of Cobra’s gang and Rudy’s attempts at vengeance. Irma loses her baby in childbirth in a blood-drenched, dinner-losing scene. She figures enough is enough, and donning a Rambo-style headband and mounting a dirt bike, she trains her bazooka on the remnants of the gang before riding off with her now-wiser husband into the sunset.

The film has all the sleaze and cheese viewers have come to expect. Cast members are dressed in ugly primary colors, sometimes in T-shirts with incongruous English slogans. In a standout scene, another innocent girl is gang-raped off screen as a gangster moll bites her thumb listening to the sounds of passion coming from the other room, her T-shirt reading “The Grand Canyon is for lovers.” I WANT TO GET EVEN’s attitude towards the inequity of the sexes is just astonishing. The abusive, monstrous husband is seen as the film’s hero and the wife is expected to stand by him through hell and high water.

Especially telling is director Maman Firmansjah’s first scene. Panning across a slum neighborhood over the opening credits, the camera lights upon various apartments. A montage of depravity including alcoholism, intravenous drug abuse and porno video shoots includes a shot of a young lovely opening a vein in her wrist with a razor blade and drinking her own blood. We return to the same scenes at the film’s close, which ends with a stern biblical verse.

More engaging than most serious documentaries on the subject, I WANT TO GET EVEN is an over-the-top exploitation feature that reveals dire situations that exist in the Third World.


We will conclude our survey of Indonesian trash cinema with two atypical films that are set in urban areas. LADY TERMINATOR (1988; known under countless titles such as NASTY HUNTER and REVENGE OF THE SOUTH SEAS QUEEN) and DANGERSOUS SEDUCTRESS (1992) rely on the old genre staple standbys such as curses, vengeful goddesses and cut-rate special effects, but strive for a contemporary feel by setting their narratives in the relatively modern environs of modern Jakarta. Stalwart veteran H. Tjut Djalil, under his nom-de-plume “John Miller,” directed both TERMINTOR and SEDUCTRESS.

LADY TERMINATOR is arguably the most widely known and seen Indonesian exploitation film. It enjoyed a robust release in the United States and many mom-and-pop video stores still carry copies. LADY TERMINATOR also enjoyed dynamite box office in Indonesia before Suharto and his clan forcibly ended the film’s 10-day run.

Make no bones about it; LADY TERMINATOR is a shameless rip-off of James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s popular action franchise with a few stray South East Asian trappings. The film’s notoriety comes from a stilted prologue set 100 years into the past wherein the evil blonde South Sea Queen castrates her male lover for failing to satisfy her. One wily sailor is able to exorcise her malevolent spirit by coaxing a cartoon snake out of her vagina. The execution of this one particular scene is a hoot. The malevolent spirit is represented by an optical that suggests black felt pen drawn directly on to the film’s frames. The queen utters a curse that she will live on a hundred years hence in the body of an unwilling host.

Terminator then switches to present day, with lovely brunette (Barbara Anne Constable) studying oceanography. On a boating expedition, evil forces drag her to the bottom of the ocean floor and the crude cartoon snake penetrates her. Reborn, she becomes the female incarnate of Ah-nult’s android destroyer. She makes her way to Jakarta and begins to decimate the city with her trusty machine gun in a body count that far exceeds the triple digits.

There is no point in defending LADY TERMINATOR as anything more than blood-soaked entertainment. To the trash fan, it is little more than Judgment Day without a nuclear war sequence to slap the audience’s wrists for indiscriminate bloodshed. But its withdrawal from cinemas implies a deeply buried political subtext that didn’t gibe with the then regime. Indonesia is a land where the nation’s OPEC-laden wealth is very unevenly distributed. The very same shopping malls and bustling city squares used in TERMINATOR were to serve as locations for widespread revolt and rioting in 1998.

The most recent Indonesian horror film to reach western eyes has been DANGEROUS SEDUCTRESS, released on video in South Korea. In a story that by now writes itself, the Queen of Darkness seduces a not-very-bright young woman (the blonde, buxom and just a little bit plump Tonya Offer) into procuring playboys to satisfy her voracious blood thirst. Like all of the films mentioned here, Seductress is a multitude of sins masquerading a banquet of pleasures. Terrible acting, editing, special effects and photography work in the service of bringing moments that shock and amaze viewers. When the Queen of Darkness is resurrected, she is a combination of skeleton and hard body, one foot trapped in an eldritch grave. A disinterested, mangy dog comes along and gnaws on her thighbone! Jewel thieves in a speeding car eluding police yell and berate the car’s driver by repeatedly hitting him in the face! Mystical forces suggested by laying the camera on its side and running the film backwards! What a world …

DANGEROUS SEDUCTRESS’ attempts at sophistication fail uproariously. An Enigma-knockoff theme song, palatial settings decorated with chintzy décor and a heroine who would fail to get past cherries on Pac Man all add to its entertainment value. It is perhaps fitting we end our survey of Indonesian horror films here, as DANGEROUS SEDUCTRESS offers a summation of their appeal. They don’t make them like this any more, but it’s wonderful that films like these were still being made as late as 1992.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Worldweird DVD News Roundup!!!

Here's some very interesting crap for you to ponder:
Several Fab DVD announcements for the digitally deprived!

First stop, Fulci!
from the Severin Films website:


What is the Most Incredible Thing a Woman ever did for $1,000,000?


In a controversial career that flayed every envelope of cinematic excess, nothing can prepare you for this stunning thriller from the infamous director of ZOMBIE and THE BEYOND. Jean Sorel (BELLE DE JOUR) stars as an arrogant San Francisco doctor trapped between his sultry mistress (Elsa Martinelli of BLOOD AND ROSES) and an amoral stripper (Marisa Mell of DANGER: DIABOLIK) who bears an uncanny resemblance to his recently deceased and possibly murdered wife. What follows has been called Fulci's first true masterpiece, where sexual obsession, cruel deception and depraved murder all come together in one unforgettable PERVERSION STORY.

John Ireland and Faith Domergue co-star in this gripping giallo - also known as ONE ON TOP OF THE OTHER - that features eye-popping nudity, provocative locations (including the gas chamber at San Quentin) and a badass jazz score by Riz Ortolani (MONDO CANE, KILL BILL). Severin Films is proud to present PERVERSION STORY in a startling new transfer from the original vault negative thought to be lost for more than 35 years!

Colour / 1.85:1 / 16x9 / 103 mins / Not Rated / $29.95 / Reg 0 (NTSC) / DVD 5
English / Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 / English Subtitles
UPC 891635001155 / Item SEV1109

Director: Lucio Fulci

Starring: Marisa Mell, Jean Sorel, Elsa Martinelli, John Ireland...

Aka: Una sull'altra / One on Top of the Other / Una historia perversa

# Rare bonus CD featuring music by Riz Ortolani
# Theatrical trailer
# Lucio Fulci bio

Yowza! Out Feb. 27, 2007!!

Next, New Franco and Bava DVDs from Dark Sky Films!


A highly atmospheric adaptation of the classic Bram Stoker novel, directed with panache by auteur Jess Franco. Screen icon Christopher Lee portrays the titular Count Dracula, who flees the cold confines of his Carpathian castle for the shores of England, where he must feed on the blood of beautiful Lucy (Soledad Miranda), and Mina (Maria Rohm) in order to grow youthful and stay alive.

Also featuring excellent performances by Herbert Lom as Van Helsing and Klaus Kinski ( as Renfield, as well as an ominous score by Bruno Nicolai , COUNT DRACULA is presented for the first time on DVD in the U.S.

Special Features:

- "Beloved Count" - Jess Franco featurette
- Christopher Lee reads Bram Stoker's Dracula
- Soledad Miranda essay
- Still Gallery


The greatest ghost story ever told!

Kill, Baby… Kill is an Italo-Gothic classic from the macabre mind of Mario Bava, the maestro who gave us Black Sunday, Black Sabbath and Blood and Black Lace.

In a remote Balkan village, the bodies of several townsfolk are discovered with gold coins embedded in their hearts. Arriving from the city, an investigating physician (The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave, Giacomo Rossi Stuart) and his beautiful assistant (Erika Blanc of The Devil’s Nightmare) conclude that the dead are victims of suicide, and that the coins have been inserted postmortem as talismans to ward off evil. Meanwhile, a pretty young girl with long blonde hair is seen wandering the village streets by night…

Long lost to obscurity for decades since its American release, Kill, Baby… Kill has been lovingly restored on this deluxe DVD from Dark Sky, larger than life and twice as frightening!

Special Features:

- "Kill, Bava, Kill!" featurette with Lamberto Bava
- Commentary with biographer Tim Lucas
- Still Gallery
- Trailer


“Scene after scene of hallucinatory intensity”
- Mondo Digital

“Bava’s greatest achievement”
- Slant Magazine

Very nice! Out Feb. 27 and March 27, 2007, respectively!

Thirdly, More Anchor Bay re-issues from Blue Underground.

You get A BULLET FOR THE GENERAL, KEOMA and TEXAS ADIOS - again, same discs as the old except with the BU logo affixed to its cover. Cheap and limited too, as with the earlier Italian Horror stuff.
Out on March 27, 2007

And Finally, ...

Oh man. From the Synapse blog:

Just wanted to give you all a VERY long over-due update on what's happening in the world of Synapse Films.

Right now, I'm in Los Angeles working every single day on the transfers for the seven Toei films we are doing in conjunction with Panik House Entertainment. Here's the list of films (I'll get to the status on other releases toward the end):

Edogawa Ranpo Zenshu: Kyofu Kikei Ningen
[aka Horror Of The Malformed Men]

Kaidan Hebi-onna
[aka Snake Woman's Curse]

Yoen Dokufu Den : Hannya no Ohyaku
[aka Sexy Deadly Legend: Female Demon Ohyaku]

Yoen Dokufu Den : Hitokiri Okatsu
[aka Sexy Deadly Legend: Quickdraw Okatsu]

Yoen Dokufu Den : Okatsu Kyojo Tabi
[aka Sexy Deadly Legend: Okatsu's Epic Journey]

Gincho Wataridori
[aka Wandering Ginza Butterfly]

Gincho Nagaremono Mesuneko Bakuchi
[aka Wandering Ginza She-Cat Gambler]

Currently, just as I write this, I'm in the studio on Reel 4 of Malformed Men. We've finished the video transfers of Female Demon Ohysku, Ginza Butterfly and Ginza She-Cat Gambler. You'll be happy to know these transfers FAR exceed our expectations. Because of the age of the films (going on almost 40 years old for some of these), I expected them to be, well, somewhat of a mess... they aren't. Actually, the transfers have, so far, been quite stunning. The colors and detail in the elements are just jaw-dropping! Sure, they will need a bit of work (I'm just that way... I'm too much of a perfectionist to let some things go), but I assure you that these transfers of the titles I've done so far are some of the best work we've done. And, yes, we are transferring them in high-definition!

No date set yet for these and Matt, from Panik House, and I still have to chat about any extras, but these will be released sometime in 2007, along with our releases of MADAME O, PARTY 7 and KARAOKE TERROR. 2007 will be a big year for Asian films from Synapse!

As for the rest of what Synapse is working on right now, next week I'm coordinating the materials for Christina Lindberg's EXPOSED (aka EXPONERAD), LUCKER [The Director's Final Cut] and BASKET CASE 2. We are also finishing up the audio and commentary mix for BLACK ROSES!

Incredible! More Pinky Violence! More Christina Lindberg! More, More, More cinematic madness! We can never get enough it seems...

Thanks to the Undead Film Critic and the helpful folks at the DVD Maniacs Forum for the many tips and leads!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

First announced official EL TOPO and HOLY MOUNTAIN theatrical dates!!!!!!

Holy Shit!!
From the ABKCO films website!
EL TOPO and HOLY MOUNTAIN are playing these theaters!!:

We can only assume the DVDs will follow in the months after these dates, our guess is sometime during the summer! We'll see.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Movie Review: SCREAM ... AND DIE!

Directed by J. R. Larraz
UK/Spain; 1973

Spanish auteur Jose Ramon Larraz’s SCREAM AND DIE is a groovy giallo-esque thriller full of sex, blood, darkness and mystery. Indeed, ‘mystery’ seems to be the key word in discussing the work of the great director of VAMPYRES and VIOLATION OF THE BITCH. Larraz eschews typical thriller narrative structures for an elusive, intuitive feel, and while commercial demands meant he had to strew his films with violence and graphic sexuality (though he never made the move into hardcore porn like so many of his contemporaries), these elements are handled in a subtle, though rivetingly intense manner which gives the whole affair an air of palpable dread. SCREAM AND DIE follows this formula to great effect. Most ‘giallos’ screw up your expectations with red herrings and twisted plot logic on the way toward revealing their mysteries but Larraz does it different. Many things are left unexplained and outrageous plot developments are executed without an attempt to resolve them in a way which would shatter the dark, unsettling events portrayed. It’s these storytelling idiosyncrasies that separate Larraz from other ‘eurocult’ directors of the period. He floods you with the sex and violence but overlays it with an occult ambiance that I think is completely unique.

The story isn’t much, but is riddled with kink and unease. A beautiful model and her sleazy photographer boyfriend break into a house in the middle of the fog-enshrouded English countryside. The reasons are obscure. The photographer is looking for something, but can’t find it. Soon enough their clandestine entry is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of the master of the manor, accompanied by a young, busty, lovely thing who chatters away while the gentleman remains silent and encompassed in darkness. As the intruders look on, the man murders the girl in a fit of shocking and graphic violence. It’s all too much for our lovely model who scampers out the front door in abject terror. She gets away by daybreak, but finds her boyfriend has disappeared, although his muddied car ends up parked mysteriously in front of her flat the next day. Afraid to go to the police, sinister and violent events begin to surround her …

And I didn't even get around to mentioning the fey artist and his graphic incestual relationship with his aged aunt or the Satanist-looking dude who lets pigeons fly freely around his apartment.

As stated before, SCREAM AND DIE doesn’t really play by the rules of your typical giallo. Larraz has a unique method and painterly approach, and he seems uninterested in the silly mechanics that rule your typical 70s euro-thriller. While SCREAM AND DIE isn’t up to the astonishing level of later Larraz-terpieces, it is a rather incredible little potboiler that only reinforces my interest in the odd and mysterious work of this underappreciated director. Highly recommended and definitely in need of the special edition DVD treatment.

Print provided by Cult Alley Theatre.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Euro-Spy Trailer Show!!

Some kind soul has recorded some cooool Euro-spy Flick trailers off Something Weird's On-Demand programming and slung 'em up over at the YouTube.
We think they look neat.

France/Italy; 1960

Italy/France; 1965

France; 1957

Monday, December 04, 2006

Important Message from the President of Panik House.

Things are getting tough ou there for the people who make these incredible films available to us, the fans and compulsive consumers. Here in Seattle, Best Buy does no longer carry hardly any of the indie-retro labels like Panik House or Mondo Macabro. A local chain, Silver Platters, has also dumped most of these from their New Release bins. At least we have options like Scarecrow Video and the occasional well-stocked Borders. But sometimes you live in areas where you are just plain out-of-luck, my friend!
Matt Kennedy, the president and CEO of Panik House Entertainments, has posted a blog concerning this problem, which we are in complete agreement with, and we re-post it here in total solidarity. Testify Brother!

I have been getting a lot of inquiries from people about where to find Panik House and CasaNegra DVDs. We have links on the website for a couple of online vendors, but for consumers who would rather walk into a brick-and-mortar store to browse and buy, the selection is getting ever thinner.
Tower Records, a big supporter of indie labels, has gone out of business, and Sun Coast, the largest buyer of foreign films on DVD, filed for bankruptcy. A number of big-time retailers who had previously promised to maintain a wide selection of titles are copying the Walmart formula of stocking only a hundred or so titles, and CHARGING to carry any titles that slip below sales of 100 units per week.

This is not good news for the discerning film fan.

As a matter of fact, this is a form of censorship.
They are limiting their title selection to safe and friendly studio fare, and by eliminating purchase options are forcing consumers to buy what is available instead of what they really want.


Send a message to the Walmarts of the world that you do not need them -THEY NEED YOU!
Make your voice heard this holiday season by buying from retailers who care about their customers. Do not trade a discount dollar today for the abolishment of freedom of choice later.
The only way to teach big corporations a lesson is to threaten their bottom line, and if enough of us band together to boycott the big chain stores that moved into town and drove the smaller, customer service oriented establishments out of business, then we can make a difference!
If you live in an area where Walmart is the only game in town, do your shopping online this year. Many retailers offer discounted or free shipping, and you will not have to leave the house, which gives you more time to watch cool movies!

Hear, hear!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

More insane clips of Pakistani exploitation!!!!!!!

You've gotta see these.

When will someone release some of these insane Pakastani flicks on DVD?
Do we have to do it ourselves?

And as a bonus incentive for you to be curious about this largely untapped cinematic madness, here's a gallery of incredible Lollywood poster art. Eye-pleasing and -damaging at the same time!

All this amazing trash is courtesy The Hotspot Online! Check 'em out!

The ONAR Chronicle continues ...

Oy vey.

1- The interviews came much later than promised...

They proved to be cut to meaningless shreds by that soul-taking guy!!!

My friend Ali Murat managed to grab the dv's with the uncut interviews...

He said he will professionally edit them by this weekend and then hand them for translation.


The betas were finally processed with a fine machine but BOTH films proved to have horrific problems!

ASKA SUSAYANLAR somehow presented irrelevant external sounds and music, straight from hell!

OLULER had major "tracking" problems as if recordef off some crappy ancient vhs!!

Both betas were triple-checked in case it was the machine's fault but it is definitely their problem!

But how come, since the dvd-r's they had first sent me played WITHOUT these problems??????????


I asked Ali to go beg the companies and get some other Betas and double-check them first before sending them here.

But Ali is a mega-busy guy and he's not my errand boy to do things for me instantly.

So, all my fingers are crossed during the next days.

And of course, I said bye bye to a middle December release and hello to an early January one.

Finally, I'm also working on the Superman double-bill and since things are going smoother with it I will try to release both dvd's on the same date.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Directed by Jaromil Jires
Czechoslovakia; 1970

Jaroslava Schallerová was born April 25, 1956. VALERIE AND HER WEEK OF WONDERS, in which Jaroslava played the title role, was filmed in 1970. So Jaroslava was 14 or 15 years of age at the time of filming. This would explain the uneasy feeling I got while watching Valerie, that at any moment my front door would burst open and Chris Hansen from Dateline NBC would bum rush me with a camera crew.

VALERIE AND HER WEEK OF WONDERS has no story, which makes it a hard one to review. In the opening credits it states that the film was funded by The State Fund of the Czech Republic for the Support & Development of Czech Cinematography. (That's not a cleaver Borat related reference either, that long ass thing is really the name of the fund.) This speaks volumes as to how this picture should be viewed. Full of scenes of both beautiful landscapes and psychedelic close ups of faces & body parts, VALERIE - if viewed as an exercise in cinematography - is an interesting work. If however your looking for an easily accessible plot, keep looking.

Do a little research on VALERIE AND HER WEEK OF WONDERS and you'll see most reviews compare it to Alice in Wonderland. Or at least make strong comparisons to fairy tales in general. I can see how many elements compare closely to those of classic fables and fairy tales. Valerie - much like Alice or Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz - is a young woman who encounters several unusual characters, each of which advise & coax her further toward her destiny for better or for worse. But does any of it make any sense? Not really.

I also frequently came across the idea that Valerie, was a story of one woman's journey into womanhood as she experiences puberty and her first period. I didn't get a very strong Are You There God? It's Me, Valerie vibe while watching, but again I can see where you could read that from the film. But that's the thing about this film, you can read damn near anything you want into it.

If I had to narrow the film down to an easy to describe genre, I'd have to say it's a vampire film. Valerie's blood is being sought by The Weasel, who looks like Max Schreck's stand in for Nosferatu, because it will sustain him eternal life. The local village chickens are being found dead & drained of blood. Valerie's grandmother trades her soul or allegiance or something, it was never really explained, to the Weasel for a more youthful look and the chance to remain forever young. Sounds like a vampire film to me.

Maybe it is unfair to tack a label to a film that contains not just elements of a traditional vampire tale but also includes incestuous relationships, panicked villagers, perverted priests & lesbian rendezvous'. On second thought, maybe not.

DVD available here!

Review by The Undead Film Critic!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

More Mexi-Madness and New Naschy covers!!!

Some DVD news:

First off, here's another announced title in CasaNegra's amazing Mexican Horror line - THE LIVING COFFIN! For you, dear readers, I give the details:

In this eerie atmospheric reinvention of a timeless Mexican legend and Edgar Allen Poe's classic The Premature Burial, a Cowboy (Gastón Santos) and his sidekick, Crazy Wolf (Pedro de Aguillón), stop at an eerie ranch to learn more of about a stone figure they've unearthed that depicts a crying woman.

The ranch's odd, off-kilter residents tell them that the statue, and another just like it, was created by the now-dead Clotilde (Carolina Barrett), whose ghost has been sighted by local villagers … crying.

Cowboy and Crazy Wolf are then pulled into an action-packed, spine-tingling web of supernatural spookery and desperados out to unearth a secret vein of gold. Along the way, the cross Skeleton Swamp and bodies pile up while, somehow, coffins keep disappearing.

CasaNegra is proud to present this Mexican horror classic uncut and in never-before-available pristine quality. So crack open the lid to The Living Coffin and settle back for a blast of vintage thrills!

Special Features:

* Original Uncut Version
* Completely Re-Mastered Picture & Sound from Newly Restored Vault Elements
* Bilingual Menus in English & Spanish
* Cast Biographies
* Original Theatrical Release Radio Spot
* Poster and Stills Gallery

FIlm Info

85 Mins.
Not Rated
1:33 Aspect Ratio

Technical Info
Region 1-NTSC
Spanish Dolby Digital Mono 1.0
Optional English Subtitles

Release Info
Item #CN0109
MSRP: $19.95


cast Gastón Santos • María Duval • Quintín Bulnes • Pedro de Aguillón • Carlos Ancira • Carolina Barret • Antonio Raxel • Hortensia Santoveña
screenplay by Ramón Obón
directed by Fernando Méndez
produced by Alfredo Ripstein

Looks rad. And speaking of rad, here's the totally bitchin' new covers for the delayed Naschy flicks NIGHT OF THE WEREWOLF and VENGENCE OF THE ZOMBIES! Not sure when these are being released from the dungeon, but we can't wait. View on these works, ye Mighty, and Despair!!:

We like. We like a lot.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Movie Review: VASNA KI AAG

Directed by Madan Sinha
India; 198?

This is a wild one. A Hindi rape-revenge number gussied up with cut-rate psychedelia and red stuff by the bucket. A pretty young thing gets hooked on drugs as an attempt by her mother to get her to stop dating a young, handsome doctor. I know, I don’t understand either (full disclosure: my print sported no subtitles of any sort). A sleaze-guru with a sleaze-goatee introduces her to the “stuff”, whatever it is (heroin, maybe? Again, no subtitles) and upon each hit she has blissful visions of butterflies, time-lapse photography flower blossoms, fireworks and other related psych-effects. Groovy! But soon enough she’s suffering from brutal hallucinations featuring wild snarling beasts, striking cobras and footage stolen from cheesy monster flicks. Not-so-Groovy. After this it’s but a hop, skip and a jump to the local brothel where she ends up being abused by the local vice-lords.

Not all that original, no. But it’s got enough freakishness and foreign oddity about it that works pretty damned well. By the end our violated heroine seeks her body-fluid gushing vengeance on all those what done her wrong and the film really launches into awesome ridiculousness. She uses her seductive charm (the actress here is quite the looker I must admit) to woo her tormenters and then plugs ‘em using axes, guns, horses – whatever happens to be available. And you know she’s serious when she comes out sporting pants (gasp!) and a headband and riding her dead doctor lover’s blood spattered motorbike. VASNA KI AAG is lively, pulpy fun. Mindless, exciting and kinda silly. The drug visions are a hoot and the rape scene, while hardly a blood-curdling disturb-a-thon, is rendered in enough perspective distortion to make it seem heady and bold, even if you don’t really buy the gravity of the events being depicted. And of course it really splatters things up, for a South Asian film anyway. In the end, our heroine, her bloody vendetta complete, throws herself upon the mercy of the gods, and, having accomplished all she can with her shit-smeared life, tragically expires, vengeance spent. All in all, a worthwhile riot of Bollysploitation and thick with the kind of weirdo details we just can’t get enough of ‘round here.

Print provided by Electric Larvae.