Archive for February, 2014

GANG WAR IN NAPLES (1972) #UPGRADE#

Friday, February 28th, 2014

For some inexplicable reason ‘Gang War in Naples’ (aka) Camorra remains an obscure cinematic prospect; and while the gifted director Pasquale Squitieri has fortified this undeniably robust mafiosi actioner with many zesty set pieces, it is, sadly, one of myriad unseen Italian Euro Crime efforts of th 1970’s; which is a great shame, since the nifty, two-fisted charms of ‘Camorra’ are undiluted.

Admittedly the ubiquitous ‘thug rising up the ranks of the cosa nostra’ theme is a little uninspired; but the hackneyed narrative is emboldened considerably by the welcome inclusion of that most magnetic and handsome of Italian leading men, Fabio Testi; who plays the scheming and violent hoodlum, Tonino Rosso with great elan; thus far, I have yet to see a lackluster performance from this swarthy-eyed devil! ‘Gang War in Naples’ (aka) Camorra is an unashamed crowd-pleaser; with its success as solid late night entertainment due in no small part to the luminous charisma of Testi, and Pasquale injects much rigor in what is ostensibly a tired premise. Good stuff! And mine’s a J&B rocks!

BALI (1970)

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

Ugo Liberatore has fashioned a rather unusual confection in Bali. Part-murder mystery; part-existential melodrama; part-metaphysical erotika; part-exotic travelogue; that ultimately cannot help be be somewhat less than its rather exploitative parts. There is a bloody, giallo-esque murder at the beginning which engenders a rather clunky conceit of the ostensible wife-slayer, Umberto Orsini, relaying the heady Bali-bound tale of marital infidelity, Balinese hoodoo-voodoo; and the great, existential woes of the preternaturally sulky, blonde bombshell, John Steiner; who, unsatisfied with his two slinky, Asian honey-pot wives, finds the satiety he desires among the considerable, sun-warmed bosom of Orsini’s voluptuous wife; played in rather somnambulist fashion by the super-sexy Antonelli; who does little more here than brood, and look inordinately delicious in her snug black bikini; which, as you might well imagine, is more than adequate compensation for her minuscule character development, and vapid stare. Again, highlighting the sterling plot; or lack thereof; or mentioning the spurious motivation of the comic book characters does the film no good deed at all: it is better to immerse the noggin with suitably robust libations, and then glory at this sunny bounty of giddy nonsense.

The story is hysterical, and palpably absurd, and can only be enjoyed if taken with an enormous pinch of hallucinogenics; but, miraculously, all the film’s myriad faults do finally coalesce into a remarkably entertaining yarn; this is because A) it is all wholly, and unrelentingly absurd and B) The location and photography of the impossibly beautiful island paradise of Bali is truly sensational; and C) (a jolly good C it is too!) Giorgio Gaslini’s score is lushness personified; slathering unctuously over the steamy proceedings like a sublime application of warm, slippery coconut oil, across the magnificently burnished busts of Laura Antonelli.

ISLAND OF SIN (1973)

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Island of Sin is a quite, special special. Now, that would be special in the sense of the film being both spectacularly goofy and wildly unsavory in equal doses. This ignoble work is the absolute quintessence of true-blue Grindhouse madness; as the ‘film’ is little more than a palsied celluloid skeleton to hang on a veritable cornucopia of egregious acting; delightful amounts of gratuitous nudity; arbitrary acts of violence, and some monumentally poor attempts at disco dancing. (all the young people here are blessed with all the grace and physical coordination of an arthritic chicken recently shorn of its head) Any two of the latter ingredients is usually enough to keep someone like me watching with full-beam eyes, but having all this sleazoid bounty in one wholly insalubrious film is almost too good to be true! Sleazy, oily pulchritude doesn’t come much better than ‘Island of Sin’.

The perfunctory plot is yet another popular riff on the drive-in standard of: oily nut-balls who invade a bourgeois home, and proceed to wreak a fleshy tumult of grimy nastiness, and, frankly, this is achieved with aplomb via the preternaturally lurid film-making vernacular of Kostas Doukas. The dialogue and performances are uniformly atrocious, merely adding to the hysterical tone of this, quite literally insensible work of sun-bleached depravity. Life is simply too short NOT to experience the cinematic wonderment of ‘Island of Sin’.

LAS TROMPETAS DEL APOCALIPSIS (1969)

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

The undeniably groovy ‘Las Trompetas Del Apocalipsis (1969) (aka) Murder by Music is somewhat of a curate’s egg; as with most gialli it is positively agog with labored Mcguffins, and is, again, festooned with an atypically absurd premise; in this case the soggle-headed scribe suggests that a certain piece of esoteric music is able to engender such a profoundly distressing malaise in the listener, that the desperate individual must immediately hurl himself bodily from the nearest window after listening to it. (this is clearly a prototype for Katy Perry’s indigestible, saccharine horrors!) It must be noted that all said victims are fortuitously close to a high enough window that would cause a permanent case of death, should one take the final plunge,as it were. Much of the film has a gloomy, almost Krimi-esque view of London: dingy backstreets; even dingier bars enlivened with heptone, super-frugging psychedelic pop, and primordial-looking opium den lend the film a wildly expressionistic feel, which captures the tale end of the sixties as a rather twee-looking, beatnik apocalypse!

The unbound grooviness is supplied in mammoth doses by Gianni Ferrio’s sublime score, a personal fave of mine, and he certainly doesn’t disappoint with his wall-to-wall psyche-hippie-funk.

For those more jaded gialli fans who require their sleazy cellulioid entertainments to include a plethoric of squeaky, be-gloved, ice-cool razor slashings into hot nubile flesh will be wholly disappointed, as this seems to be more of an anti-drugs polemic than a slinky extravaganza of high-octane misogyny. But it has the requisite hunk (Brett Halsey) and a suitably lissome gaggle of psychedelic euro-starlets that one might expect in such a wonderfully absurd affair! I loved it, but I can imagine it will prove to be a rather divisive affair.

LA PURITANA (aka) SCORPIONS KISS (1989)

Friday, February 7th, 2014

After many long, soul-withering years of trawling through the grimpen, celluloid murk of Italian exploitation effluvium; one gets used to throwing much that is entirely indigestible back into the greasy void of cinematic spume; but, on those gloriously rare, and wholly exhilarating occasions, something quite unexpected glitters enticingly within the tawdry, oleaginous miasma of tepid euro-schlock.

All that doesn’t glitter, might yet be gold; a little-appreciated maxim given considerable verisimilitude by ‘La Puritan’s’ generic, Joe D’Amato-style artwork, which proves to be enormously misleading: its moribund vista of poodle-haired, pneumatic broad, and an oily, lascivious-looking cat in pensive pre-canoodle, initially appears about as enticing as a murky commode full of Polish cuisine; but beneath this prosaic veneer is a lurid masterpiece of palpating, gratuitous nudity; merciless revenge, and non-stop, soft-core ruttage; whereby, all of those craven, voyeuristic souls in Utopian mondo-land can freely enjoy the multitudinous charms of Margit Evelyn Newton; who zealously dispenses an especially carnal mode of retribution that invalidates the puritanical coda of less is more: no it isn’t! An excess of Margit Evelyn Newton’s deliciously pulchritudinous flesh is ALWAYS the best option. (fortunately the arch reprobate director, Grassia is fully aware of this; making damn sure that he buttered this particular movie’s muffin, breast side up!) #Excuse the mixed metaphor, but the delightful Ms. Newton’s eye-watering Amazonian physiognomy has played merry havoc with my reeling noggin!#

And it would be remiss of me to give any of the plot, or wondrous set pieces away, so I wont. Life is paltry enough without some callous oaf dampening the possibility of someone enjoying myriads of mondo marvels that lurk betwixt the mountainous peaks of Margie newton’s fecund flesh.

I literally had no idea what to expect with ‘La Puritana’ which heightened the exponential excitement Nini Grassi’s grease-palmed Giallo afforded me! This glorious film suffers not by the wondrous inclusion of exploitation legends Gabriele Tinti, and the perma-smarmy Helmut Berger; both of whom deliver suitably scurrilous performances; twin burning sons of macho sleaze, desperately out-sleazing each other in this towering trash-babel of tantalizing teats; an ultra-prurient; giddy-glorious, grungey Giallo; and all of which, is, of course, entirely indefensible to those with an modicum of decency. Fortunately 25 years of incremental cinematic debasement has eroded all vestiges of good taste from my amoral palate!