Category Archives: Crime

Shadows in an Empty Room (1976)

Una Magnum Special per Tony Saitta / Shadows in an Empty Room (1976)


Director: Alberto De Martino Starring:Stuart Whitman, John Saxon, Martin Landau, Tisa Farrow.Canada/Italy. 1h 54m

Shadows in an Empty Room is a distinct 1970s crime film with mad tones of Euro grime; this De Martino might be out of place in Canada, but it doesn’t drag for a minute. Shadows in an Empty Room is what would remain if you stripped a Giallo movie of its euro trash, bumped it up with a heavy Polittesco narrative, and went full frontal.

On the campus of Montreal college a man notices his ex girlfriend having a moment with her lecturer, and suspected lover, Dr Tracer (Landau), later on that evening a prank turns into a suspicious murder, and the prime suspect is Laundau, and his student/girlfriend is stone cold. Unlucky for him, her brother is a hard ass police officer, played by Stuart Whitman and his back up is the steely eyes John Saxon and they are about to get some Canadian Justice.

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Shifty (2008)

Shifty (2008) Director: Eran Creevy Starring: Riz Ahmed, Daniel Mays, Jason Flemyng, Jay Simpson .UK. 1h 26m

You could argue that the British Urban genre is still in its infancy, or at least it’s fixated on youth and troubled adolescence that it’s hard to see it in a mature sense. However debut director Eran Creevy raises the bar with this uber smart, darkly funny and engaging drama all stuck together on a meager budget. Usually the scene is something daryl troubled like Kidulthood, Cherry Tree Lane, and they all have their visceral points to make but Shifty is more chilled and less aggressive but it does highlight street violence and the grimey underbelly of our streets but it’s achievement of highlighting the friendship of two amazing friends and the characters they meet along the way will make an audience smile before smacking them with a gory ending.

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Avengement (2019)

Director: Jesse V Johnson Starring: Scott Adkins, Craig Fairbass, Thomas Turgoose, Leo Gregory, Nick Moran. UK. 1h 30m

Scott Adkins breaks away from Boyka for a moment to seamlessly blend in with the leftover cast from the Rise of the Footsoldier series to take on a slightly different London Gangster/ Prison flick. Casting a few Kung fu kicks into the story of a young gym owner who finds himself slammed into an overly oppressed prisons situation but why?

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Don’t you recognise me? (2016)

Director: Jason Figgis
Starring: Matthew Toman, Emma Dunlop, Alan Rogers. Ireland. 1h 20m

Please correct me but this noisy thriller is Dead Man’s Shoes but in a depraved reversal where the gang, all twisted and desperate, are the saviours of a vulnerable lad…let me lead you down this bloody rabbit hole.

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Resurrection (1999)

Director: Russell Mulcahy
Starring: Christopher Lambert, Robert Joy, David Cronenberg, Leland Orser .USA. 1h 48m

With a recognisable cast and no budget, there’s a clear distinction between Resurrection and the movies it’s imitating, but despite its imilations it’s still a fun watch, but one which could have been extraordinarily gruesome and chilling if put in the right hands.

Christopher Lambert and Leland Orser team up as a bmovie Mills and Somerset as they hunt a deranged killer who’s emabring on a pet project to construct the body of christ, much like John Doe in Se7en this twisted mastermind is incredibly intelligent and masterfully deviant. There’s a huge strive to match the dark oppressing cityscape that Se7en is based in, but having the main officer, John Prudhomme (Lambert) painted as a superstitious cajun there’s a lot of hoops to jump through for a mainstream audience.

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The Exterminator (1980)

Director: James Glickenhaus
Starring: Robert Ginty, Christopher George, Samantha Eggar, Steve James. USA. 1h 39m

Sometimes a bit of vigilante justice is glorious to watch and you don’t need to be Charlie B or Van Michael to wake a city up. In Glickenhaus’s blood action thriller, a once kind and quiet man turns full on Rambo when his friend is attacked and crippled by a bunch of goons, but getting revenge on them just isn’t enough; he’s not going to give up until all the streets are clean.

John Eastman (Ginty) doesn’t look like the human terminator that he turns out to be, the retro Russell Crow is all about the good things in life, years after being exposed to the horrors of Nam he’s just the average Joe, until provoked and he brings Nam to NYC.

A one man army. A new kind of soldier in a new kind of war

The film isn’t a commentary of mindless violence, but when it gets gritty it really does swing an ugly and dangerous bat, there’s people being fed into meat grinders, and the trademark flamethrower crispy death scenes. It’s something that could have gotten real video nasty in the right hands. But exterminator it way more than just another exploitation film, and being one of the early voices to the damaging effects of the war without the moniker of PTSD being uttered, it spread a message which is still relevant today.

If you’re lying, I’ll be back.

– John Eastman

We have to assume that once the blood has been shed and the tables levelled that our hero bad guy killer is just going to go back to a peaceful life, but there’s a sequel and in my honest opinion there should have been a lot more.

TLDR:

Rating: 7/10

Related: Exterminator 2 (1984), Stone (1991), The Soldier (1982), Shakedown (1988), Defiance (1980), Deathwish (1974), Punisher (1989)

Lists: Best Friends Revenge

Trailer

Sotto Il Vestito Niente II / To Beautiful to Die (1988)

Director: Dario Piana Starring: Francois-Eric Gendron, Florence Guerin, Randi Ingerman, Giovanni Tamberi, Nora Ariffin, Italy. 1h 35m

The only way to confirm that you were watching a horror movie in the 1980’s was the moment a pair of boobs were flashed across the screen, the exposure of flesh was the indicator that you were in for some slaherific blood and gore, monsters and creeps and this 1988 film is a perfect victim of its age! The intro plays out like a dated underwear advert (something the director was king of having filmed over 600 of them), but this panty advert lasts what feels like 20 minutes, but luckily the models are soon hacked to pieces so don’t get too attached..

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Black Rain (1989)

Director: Ridley Scott Starring: Michael Douglas, Andy Garcia, Ken Kakakura, Yusake Matsuda, Kate Capshaw, Tomisaburo Wakayama. USA. 2h 5m

Michael Douglas travels to Japan with a deadly crazy Yakuza criminal, accidently releases him to his gang but then proceeds to school the Japanese Police department!? Only in the 80’s would this have worked and only Ridley Scott would have been able to make it work so well.

It can’t be ignored that the film feels half homage to at least 3 of the greatest names in Japanese Cinema, as the two cultures class, , Ken Kakakura, Yusake Matsuda, and the badass Tomisaburo Wakayama, who play both good and evil characters throughout the film. Ken is the attentive Asst. Insp. Matsumoto, who spends his time chasing around a fiesty Douglas and Garcia, partly babysitting them and taking a lot of flak from them. There is one beautiful drunken scene in a karaoke bar when the three men finally let their guards down and realise they are on the same side but cultural differences and career prospects are all that are keeping them on slightly different paths throughout this cat and mouse chase. The legend who was the Lone Wolf and Zatiochi respectively is just a highly respected gangster but his inclusion in this stylistic movie can’t go unnoticed, and most heartbreakingly this would be the final film of cult classic actor Yusake Matsuda, who knowingly went into the project with a serious cancer diagnosis, and in order to be ferocious for his role, refused to take any medication, shortening his chances of recovering even more.

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Marathon Man (1976)

Director: John Schlesinger
Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Laurence Olivier, Roy Scheider. USA. 2h 5m

John Schlesinger’s classic thriller, Marathon Man is the type of genre movie that makes a few faux pa’s but through many bizarre plot choices, for the sake of keeping an audience on their toes, the movie generates a lot of massive plot holes but whether you mind them or not, you’ll still be blown away by the sterling acting and gripping story that plunges lead Thomas, better known as Babe (Hoffman), a simple inner city student, into unpredictable situations that make your teeth ache.. if you know you know..

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The Salton Sea (2002)

Director: DJ Caruso
Starring: Val Kilmer, Vincent D’Onofrio, Adam Goldberg, Lusi Guzman, Doug Hutchison, Peter Sarsfaard, DB Wong, R Lee Ermey, Meat Loaf, Danny Trejo. USA. 1h 43m

Coming from the early 2000’s there’s still a 1990s fever dream running through DJ Caruso drug fueled action thriller, starring Val Kilmer as a lone wolf Danny Parker (AKA Tom Van Allen) who spends his days infiltrating a group of colourful druggies while trying to hatch an elaborate revenge plan against those who wronged him.

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