AKA Hired to Kill, Manhunt in the City, Manhunt in Milan, Manhunt
Director: Fernando Di Leo.
Starring. Mario Adorf, Henry Silva, Woody Strode, Adolfo Celi. Italy. 1h 40m.
After a shipment of drugs vanishes a rather charming Corso (Cyril Cusack) settles down two confidants and describes the mood for them, Dave Catania (Silva) and Frank Webster (Strode) listen patiently while they are given clear instructions to travel to Italy, where they are to act as American as possible in order to gain the attention of their target, both men speak the language fluently and are more than capable of finding the man suspected of being responsible for the missing drugs and making him suffer. A beautiful local assistant will be waiting on them hand and foot and aiding their mission but the blundering idiot they are sent after might not be quite a useless as everyone suspects.
Small time pimp and crazy headbutting tough guy Luca Canali (Adorfi), seems pretty low key, not the shifty character you’d expect to accidentally lose such a precious cargo. The film partially opens with him spending a pleasant day with his “girlfriend/bottom bitch”in the park then beating up two douchebags using Tekken 2 tactics.But the magic of this film is that Luca is a family man, his stunning ex and beautiful daughter get all his love and attention, and pretty soon the movie shifts from the two tough guys high tailing and it turns into the “Luca show” while he tries to keep ahead of all the mobsters who are now suddenly hot on his tail and all in his slightly comedic style. Continue reading La Mala Ordina / Italian Connection (1972)
Director: Pascal Laugier.
Starring: Taylor Hickson, Anastasia Philips, Kevin Power, Rob Archer, Mylene Farmer, Crystal Reed, Emilia Jones, USA. 1h 31m.
Pascals past record, in my opinion is chequered, in his early career he assisted on one of the most perfect films ever made, Le Pacte Des Loups (2001) he broke the mold and may stomachs with the New French Extreme visceral classic, Martyrs (2008) then let me down with the confusing and long winding, No Slender Man tale of the Tall Man (2012), but he’s come back swinging with a perfect blend of all the best psychological and physical horror from his past, with a sublime film that gives the creeps and will rattle a few cages along the way. His approach to this twisting tale is unique in that it plays on a strange story this is presented from different perspectives each slipping in and out of each other seamlessly but the dynamics are hauntingly beautiful and yet covered in as much nostalgic creepiness as the house it’s set in.
The two young sisters at the centre of this film, couldn’t be more different, Beth (Reed/Jones) is a sensitive horror writer, always lost in her thoughts about Lovecraft inspired texts but faints at the sight of blood, her ballsy sister is pretty awesome, hot tempered and ready for a fight but they are sisters, just so different the fiery Vera (Philips/Hickson) is a delight. Continue reading Ghostland (2018)
Director: Vincenzo Natali. Writer: Stephen King
Starring.Laysla De Oliveria, Avery Whitted, Patrick Wilson, Will Buie Jr. Harrison Gilbertson, Tiffany Helm, Rachael Wilson. Canada. 1h 41m.
The penny dropped after the first hour of watching vivid scenes of tall grass swaying and screaming at lost desperate people in this slightly weary thriller, my eureka moment came when I realised I had seen this set up before, in a well known and once brilliant sci fi movie, The Cube (1997) and fuck me sideways, it’s the same director!?! I might have finally learnt my lesson in doing the technical research before settling into a movie. In a nutshell, that’s it, a folk version of The Cube in a field, and despite it’s best efforts, it’s not much more. The film eludes to lots of probabilities to the origins of its mystery but fails to really give solid answers and ends up as a messy mix of dead ends. Continue reading In the Tall Grass (2019)
Director: Stiles White
Starring: Olivia Cooke, Daren Kagasoff, Douglas Smith, Bianca Santos. USA. 1h 29m
This film is just constantly bad. I want to end the review there but I owe a full explanation, and here it is…
Ouija has become the in thing among teens and adults, that little edgy thing that divides groups of believers and non believers, those who see them as a parlour game and others who see them as elements of evil, every few years the mysticism about this “game” raises its head and creates more urban myths, believers and skeptical non believers. Along with this rise in fame comics, books, tattoos, movies and music are all heavily influenced by the spirit board and it’s planchette accessory. Continue reading Ouija (2014)
Director: Bernard Launois
Starring: Véronique Renaud, Marcel Portier, Catherine Day .France. 1h 12m
This crazy French horror movie isn’t easy to categories, it’s definitely unique at times quite zany and while it has certain charms with being different and outlandish its major let down is the repetitive sound effects that really started to grate on my nerves within the opening 20 minutes only increase its irritability right to the bitter end.
Overall Devil Story feels as if narrative isn’t really all that important but the director, Bernard Launois, seems to have reveled with delight by adding everything you possibly could into his last production. The film opens with a crazed man slashing innocent victims and rural France and ends up with an occultist bringing about a Mummy Showdown. But like other infamous French movies of the era such as Zombie Lake (1981) there seems to have been this drive to just make gory horror films with little story line to back them up, but it’s generally all good groovy fun and being a lover of “bad movies” you gotta roll with the bizarre and they don’t get much more off the beaten track than this. Continue reading Il était une fois le diable / Devil Story (1986)
AKA Are You There?
Director:Scott Di Lalla .
Starring.Demetrius Sager,Courtney Foxworthy, Kelly McLaren, Caleb Courtney USA. 1h 25m.
As part of my Occult A-Z I have been watching some of the best and worst that cinema has to offer and pretty early on I was easily set on this being the end of the list but i’m afraid that the list will end on a low note.
I‘m a huge supporter of lower budget movies but what they lack funds they do have to make up with some passion, some drive, a bit of energy!! But this is little more than entry level horror, which is a shame as the whole Zozo mythos is pretty interesting and usually harbors a few jumps and sleepless nights. Continue reading I am Zozo (2006)
Director: Sergio Martino.
Starring. Barbara Bach, Joseph Cotten, Richard Johnson. Italy. 1h 40m.
Somewhere in this science fiction fantasy horror, there is a great director who’s floundering out of his depths. Martino has some crackers under his belt including All the Colours of the Dark (1972).
Starting with a murder is always the best way to start a Giallo and Martino with all this previous experience kept to his tradition, a couple embark on a shifty night time mission to find hidden treasures, only to be met with clawed fish hands and bloody death in the (surprisingly well lit) dank caves of an unknown island, along with their mercenary crew who are slaughtered by the same hands along the shore. A short while later in 1891 a military doctor Lieutenant Claude de Ross (Claudio Cassinelli) survives not one but two shipwrecks and ends up on a mysterious island with a handful of prisoners survived with him. On this strange isle the are faced with hunger and some of the convicts meet grisley ends with the fishmen and the survivors flee into the jungle only to encounter Edmond Rackham (Johnson) who’s a sadistic douchebag who’s on a power hungry ego trip, alongside him is a stunning captive, Amanda (Bach). Continue reading L’sola defli uomini pesce / Island of the Fishmen AKA Screamers (1979)
Director: Alfredo Giannetti
Starring: Franco Nero, Dalila Di Lazzaro, Carlos de Carvalho. Italy. 1h 36m
A somewhat whimsical crime thriller, Blue Eyed Bandit stars the iconic Franco Nero as Renzo Dominici, mild mannered crippled and aged clerk who works for a bank, but little do his employers know what by night he transforms into a young, dynamic blue eyed criminal mastermind.
By day he shuffles around in a clever disguise, working long hours, visiting his mother in her nursing home and all the while secretly scoping out the office and waiting for the big pay day but as he ultimate heist get closer, Stella (Lazzaro); a loose member of the cafeteria staff starts to work out that there is much more to the old quiet clerk and she attempts to slide into the deal. Continue reading Il bandito dagli occhi azzurri / Blue Eyed Bandit (1980)
Director: James Mangold.
Writer: Agatha Christie – And Then There Were None
Starring. John Cusack, Jack Busey, Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet, Pruitt Taylor Vince. USA. 1h 30m.
The sophistication of the movie sets it apart from other thrillers of the era, at first I couldn’t quite pinpoint it but after researching the film and discovering that it’s loosely based on an Agatha Christie novel, then it all fell into place. While I’ve never been really into Christies work I am often spellbound by the dynamic and grizzly narratives. This is a perfect testament to the fact that her writing strengths are unbound and with the right adaptation will probably live on. Continue reading Identity (2003)
Director : Carl Colpaert
Starring : Tony Markes, Rainbow Dolan, Filiz Tully. Japan/Australia. 1h 25m
There is always an element of Love and Hate with this Anime/Live Action mashup, the film will captured my affection many year ago and I still enjoy watching it, while blindingly unaware of it’s origins I just assumed two directors got together to produce this mix of post apocalyptic drama/ baroque mystery, many years later I realised how this project basically butt fucked a precious classic Anime movie and turned it into a Troma movie BUT I still adore it.
So the original Anime is Mamoru Oshii’s 1985 undefinable classic Angel’s Egg, which sees a young girl traverse an abandoned town while nursing a giant egg and entertaining a young soldier, the film dissolves into a biblical darkness that even the director himself can’t really explain. But Carl Colpaert decided to rehash the strong imagery in between new footage filmed in the hot Australian desert and brings new life and meaning to the bizarre original. Continue reading In the Aftermath (Angels Never Sleep) (1988)