Monday, August 31, 2009


Original Title: Napoli violenta
Year: 1976
Director: Umberto Lenzi
Writer: Vincenzo Mannino
Genre: Polizia

imdb synopsis:
A detective sick and tired of the rampant crime and violence in his city, and constantly at odds with his superiors, is finally
kicked out of the department transferred to Napoli for a "questionable" shooting of a vicious criminal being a pain in the ass? In Napoli, Betti brings his hard, vigilante style justice to an ongoing organized crime problem in the city.

This is the second appearance of the Inspector Betti character, the first being 1975's Violent Rome that I reviewed previously. After watching these two films back to back, I have to say it is evident from this production at least, that Lenzi had a better grasp of what works with this genre.

The film opens strong as did Violent Rome, this time a little more stylish with some cool shots of a hood ornament traveling through Naples along with eyes in the rear view window. As soon as Betti shows up in the first scene, he is almost run over by a car, and the local crime boss says to him from across the street ""Naples is a dangerous city... if you don't watch your step." Good stuff.

Unlike Violent Rome, this film sticks to it's guns and brings the violence, chases and action that we expect from these films. It is not really weighed down by any character development much, one problem I had with Violent Rome, but we don't really need it.

The characters are interesting enough with their limited dimensions - as I said previously, black and white is safe yet effective for me for a polizia cast. Even the criminals try to dick one another over this time (watch for the diamond ring at the home of the fence.) And Betti is unforgiving in his style... even at one point providing the Chief in Napoli his resignation telling him to keep it until he feels Betti has gone too far with his police brutality. Awesome!

Merli reprises his role as Betti and does a nice, only slightly hammy job - he's exactly the same as before. Apparently there was only a few months between Roma and Napoli, so I suppose he didn't even have long to forget. Ah those golden locks and woolly worm on his lip. How can you not love him?

We get a fun, snide John Saxon here as well, playing financier Francesco Capuano who gets tied up in Betti's plans to snag the crime boss with the awesome name, The Commandante, played by Barry Sullivan. John Saxon is entertaining and really his normal self, and Sullivan's Commandante is calm and calculated even when he is acting quite brutally.

The setting is done right again with claustrophobic alleyways, awesome fluffy hair and staches everywhere, beat up cars, and more grit and dirt and construction.

The story stays fast paced (literally!) and interesting. There are some genuinely exciting parts here, some great chases and some nice stunts. Lenzi does not fuck around with this flick!

I would recommend you pick this up, especially if you are into the genre.

8 out of 10

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Does anyone have a higher resolution file for this poster?

A.K.A.: Roma violenta
Year: 1975
Director: Marino Girolami
Writer: Vincenzo Mannino
Genre: Polizia

imdb synopsis:
A detective sick and tired of the rampant crime and violence in his city, and constantly at odds with his superiors, is finally kicked out of the department for a "questionable" shooting of a vicious criminal. However, he is soon approached by a representative for a group of citizens who themselves are fed up with what they see as criminals going unpunished, and they make him an offer he may very well not refuse.

This is the first appearance of the Inspector Betti character. He is most definitely a ripoff take of Dirty Harry or something of the sort, but Merli is entertaining in this role regardless. Like all good Italian tough-man cops from the 1970s, he is sporting a whopper of a stache. It really completes the scowl I think. His teeth just look too good peeking out from underneath.

The film opens with a bang as we see a bus robbery in progress. I really liked the use of freeze frame here as the opening credits roll, and I'm always a fan of the font Clarendon! It's good when a movie such as this starts off strong with what we are here to see... the action, the guns, the screaming...

Cop films made in the 70s have a gritty feel that I love. Dirty Harry, French Connection, ones like that... and of course the Italian films like this. The old cars, the facial hair, even the old film stock that has aged adds to the effect. I'm sure I'm also not alone in finding something at the same time entertaining and calming about the overdubbed clicky feet sound effects. Weird?

In this film in particular, the streets of Rome give a similar feel. They are wet and/or dirty... cramped... just a nice setting to get across the intended mood.

Oh, and the footsteps are clicky!

The direction of the film is straight-forward. The plot moves forward and is never overly complicated. Keeping it simple for the most part helps I think, because when Girolami is into his action sequences, we definitely are treated; Fist fights, car chases (there is an extended one that is a lot of fun!), gun battles. Multiple camera angles (inside, outside, on the ground!) are used around cars as we get a sense of confusion and speed.

It's crazy seeing how the tires flex under the sharp turns!

Can't do THIS in an American car!

But there are directorial, writing, or maybe even editing choices made that keep this one from being great.

The passage of time is handled awkwardly, as we have to constantly look for dialogue cues to know when time elapsed... days go by and events happen and we're given something like "So, have you thought about things for the past two days?" Also, the film strayed a bit from it's strong points (the action) and tried to have the human relationship between Betti and a fellow officer. The relationship was not developed well enough to warrant as much time as was spent on it. It just came off as forced.

I liked the acting for what it was. I don't go into this type of film expecting Oscar-worthy performances. In a way I'm expecting hyperbole. I want my characters a little over the top while still being believable. Merli fits the role well - he takes matters into his own hands and is quite belligerent toward his superior officers. He throws punches and grits his teeth behind his beaitiful stache. The criminals are nasty and will gun down civilians to make their get away. When the characters are not in their quiet scenes, they do quite well.

It's not the best, but I had a lot of fun with this one. Like I said, it's not perfect in the down times, but ups the sleaze factor a little to make up for it - quite a bit of violence against women for instance.

I would definitely recommend seeing it, especially if you are a fan of Maurizio Merli or want to see everything with the Betti character.

6.25 out of 10

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

While we're on the subject...

While doing some reading on Mr. Diabolik, I came across this fantastic site

Sadistik is (was) a skeleton-clad euro-super criminal in the same vein as Diabolik or Fantomas in stories back to the 1910s.

Kriminal, Satanik, and even Kilink from Turkey followed in the same super-criminal footsteps, making for some very interesting comics, stories, and films.

I'll definitely have to check into these more!

Monday, August 24, 2009


Far too often with shit like this, my OCD gets stuck on some theme and just won't let go. The fantasy movies were done, but something inside me just wanted that number to be even or something. So here I have been for the past couple weeks not watching/reviewing much of anything because I wanted to do that one goddamn fantasy review.

Well, fuck it!

I'm moving on.

If someone really wants a Hawk the Slayer or even a Beastmaster review (saw this SO many times as a kid), by all means let me know.

Until then... let's get more reviews on here! Jesus!

I wrote this review for the new and improved CINEMADIABOLIA.COM

I highly suggest you check them out if you aren't familiar already.

Original Title: Diabolik
Year: 1968
Director: Mario Bava
Writer: Angela Giussani (story), Luciana Giussani (story), Arduino Maiuri (story and screenplay - as Dino Maiuri), Adriano Baracco (story), Brian Degas (screenplay), Tudor Gates (screenplay), Mario Bava (screenplay)
Genre: Eurospy

Ever since my interest in genre films recently re-emerged, this Bava flick has been on my radar. Through my initial exploring, something about this masked man caught my eye, but I just never got around to seeing it. Maybe it's the ninja look. Maybe it's the comic book style poster. Maybe it's John Philip Law's SEXY eyebrows. Eat your heart out, Peter Gallagher!

After finally sitting down with this recently, I was oh so glad that I did.

Here's Mario Bava's highest budgeted film ever: Danger Diabolik

(cue sinister laugh)

The story follows a master criminal, Diabolik (John Philip Law), pronounced diabolic, as he attempts to steal various riches, and who seems to be doing quite well for himself if you ask me. He may steal obscene amounts of money and jewels for the thrill of it but I think the electricity bill and furnishings of one of the sweetest underground lairs of all time is surely part of it. Diabolik's main foil is inspector Ginko, who early on is given complete authority to nab the thief after an embarrassing $10-millon heist. Throw the old school mafioso Ralph Valmont into the mix and you have quite a fun little hate-triangle going on.

One thing you will notice upon viewing is that the film has a definite comic look and feel to it. The mod factor was in full effect and some of the costumes were outstanding. EYE CANDY! Until reading a bit about the film after seeing it, I did not know that this film was based on an Italian comic book called Diabolik. Bava pulls this off very, very well. The characters are exaggerated in ways with Diabolik's eyebrows and skin tight suit, Valmont's cigar, or some of the other mod-fashions that show up. And Bava was pulling nice little directorial tricks left and right that just make suckers like me oooh and ahh. The opening sequence alone with the music, wide and high/low camera angles, etc. was just thrilling and immediately pulls you into the movie. It is a somewhat straightforward story, but Bava's style is the centerpiece and what makes the film as special as it is.

Ennio Morricone's score was the other true highlight of the film. Nothing like his western scores that we all are accustomed to, this music fits the feel of the film perfectly- playful and queues characters in the film. I've mentioned the opening sequence already, but the praise bears repeating. If you don't at least crack a little grin when Diabolik's car enters the frame, and the music STRUUUMS loudly, then this film may not be for you. There are catchy tunes and just plain awesome tunes. I began the hunt for this soundtrack as soon as possible.

For a film rooted in near-camp as this one is, I felt the performances were actually quite strong despite being a one-dimensional. Law is a bit hammy, but it works for the part. Marisa Mell as Eva Kant honestly isn't great but SUPER hot so she earned her paycheck. I really liked the prime minister character for some reason. His speeches and the way he would look at the camera had me chuckling.

There is a lot crammed into this film, as Diabolik is off one heist and onto another, always egged on by his sexy lady, so the story at times could feel a little disjointed as we move from big spot to big spot. There are some masking problems when characters drive and such, and some funny special effects that are more a product of the era as opposed to bad craftmanship, but all of these are nit-picking.

This is a beautiful film to see, often funny and tongue-in-cheek, rich in color and texture, and sexy in it's feel. It's like the Adam West Batman series with a miniskirt and a martini.

I would highly recommend this film if only to experience Bava's superb style and Morricone's awesome score.

8.75 out of 10

Sunday, August 23, 2009



Friday, August 14, 2009

BIG FAN Trailer

I'm a big Oswalt fan. When my friend sent me this, I thought it was gonna be a screwball comedy or something. Looks entirely different.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Coming soon....?

I feel like reviewing this. And of course I've never seen it

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I'm sick and lazy and tired

We got a new pooch (rescue) over the weekend, so my hands have been tied as far as watching much at all and definitely with writing anything.

Plus I've woken up with some sore throat, overly tired thing going so I just want to whine

So it's time for some trailers!

I saw this one yesterday and it looks really interesting. Heath Ledger died about 1/3 of the way through the filming of this, so various actors play the same role as the character travels to different places. Terry Gilliam looks to be on here... let's hope it is good!

And let's not forget INGLORIOUS BASTERDS opening next Friday!!! I am always excited about a new Tarantino project.
I wanted to put the newer trailer up, but imbedding of that has been disabled unfortunately.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

RIP John Hughes // Don't You Forget About Me

When I think of 80s film, when I think of my favorites growing up, there is always a few Hughes written/directed films in there. I'm sure 18 million other people are saying similar things about Hughes today, but I just wanted to put mine out there as well.

I saw this posted, and it looks pretty interesting.

Fitting for today I think

Speaking of hot movie posters

This one makes me feel a little tickly inside.

The art of the movie poster is essentially lost these days. Acres upon acres of just uninspired shit (I guess it matches many of the uninspired hollywood films we see all the time), but every once in awhile some "old-fashioned" attention is given to a poster and it's a treat for a visual guy like myself.

I would like to have seen an illustrated Rockwell in the center of the circles instead of the photograph, and I'm not entirely sure about the multiple shades of grey flying forward effect on his name in the upper left (one simple white line of text would have been effective, I think), but overall this stylish poster really stands out from a lot you see these days.

It reminds me of an old Solaris poster I came across a few weeks ago. (You should be able to click on either of these posters for a higher resolution image)

I really want to see the film itself. I've not really had the funds lately to make any theatre trips, so it may have to wait until a DVD release. Sadness.... I've heard good things about the film so far from friends.

In the meantime, we'll just watch the trailer! Yay!

I'm late to the game here...

I really get a 2001 meets Solaris vibe from it.

For fans of movie posters

This site is incredible. I should have posted this long, long ago, but alas I am a lazy bastard.

Wrong Side of the Art collects genre film posters all the way back to the 30s... and all are nicely high-resolution. There's new stuff added constantly, so it's definitely worth the bookmark.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Original Title: Conquest
Year: 1983
Director: Lucio Fulci
Writer: Gino Capone (screenplay), José Antonio de la Loma (screenplay), Carlos Vasallo (screenplay), Giovanni Di Clemente (story)
Genre: Fantasy Adventure

imdb synopsis: A young man, armed with a magical bow and arrows, embarks on a mystical journey through a mystical land to rid it of all evil and joins forces with an outlaw to take down an evil witch bent on claiming the magic bow for evil.

While exploring fantasy films that might be interesting to review, I came across this little flick directed by some guy name Lucio Fulci.

Fulci doing a Conan the Barbarian clone.... How can I possibly pass this up?

I had not heard of this before, but I went in a bit weary since the general consensus seems to be that Fulci pretty much lost 'it' once we get into the 80s. After watching this... well, I may have to agree. BUT, it was definitely better than The Warrior and the Sorceress! Sorry, Mr. Carradine.

The film opens with a stylized scene showing our hero Ilias, donning his leather armor, getting a speech from his father that looks more like his grandfather, and receiving the legendary family bow that is said to have given its original owner the power of the sun to shoot down enemies... or something. Our fluffy haired Ilius here is in semi-transparent mode! It's meant to represent an event in the past, as it fades into a once-again empty landscape as Ilius floats off, but to me it really came across as more annoying than anything. The voices are echoy and the synthy music is loud (but feels oddly Fulci-esque)

Ilius is on his way across the ocean in a shitty canoe to find evil and defeat it. Mmmkay

Our villain is the evil sorceress Ocron, who is plagued when she gets high on a drug injected into her nostril by a wolfman with a small blowgun (yep) by a vision of a faceless warrior slaying her with a magical bow.

All the poor woman (?) wants to do is have a bunch of poor cavemen believe her magic makes the sun rise every morning, eat some brains from severed heads, and get wasted on nasal powder injections, but no, this mulleted douche has to come and ruin everything with his lazer bow!

Some may find it distracting that the sorceress wears this cheap looking golden mask the whole film, hiding any emotive acting she may produce, but I gotta say... when she is not slurping brains, being nude the whole time with that fucked up mask, writhing, and her spiky rubber thong was kinda sexy. Well, the nudity does most of the work there I suppose. The thong has to be uncomfortable...

The is played by the sexy Sabrina Siani (credited here as Sabrina Sellers), although I think just her body was needed as there is no evidence it is her speaking in the role. She was also in 2020 Texas Gladiators, another film I will have a review for on here eventually.

Awkward... BUT HOT!

Well, poor, skinny Ilius has been wandering around for awhile evidently looking for some hot, evil action. But it isn't until Ocron has her stoner visions that she sends the action looking for him. After coming across a crusty but sultry young lady, he is attacked by a gang of men in hockey masks and others in what appears to be man-boar costumes, but we later find out they are canine. He only brought 5 arrows with him for some reason, so when he runs out, the group tackles him.


Now we're talking! Enough with this skinny excuse for a hero. Now we have a mysterious beefy man in furs, wagging around some prehistoric set of nunchuk like a giant shlong while the bad guys cower away. And just to be sure we get the point, the camera slowly zooms in on Mace's crotch while he twirls his weapon a couple times more.

"Who are you?"
"My enemies call me Mace."
"And your friends?"
"I don't have any friends."

Mace kinda looks like a Fabio version of Conan with a Charles Manson-like brand on his forehead. He tells Ilius that the sign on his forehead means every man is an enemy, and that he saved Ilius' bow from the attackers, not Ilius himself.

We finally enter the main plot of the story now as the two new companions journey together, teaching one another really... Mace teaching Ilius about this more prehistoric and violent land of his, and Ilius teaching Mace how to be close to another person.

Don't be shy!

Ocron is getting more worried and sends out the big guns. She doesn't want to get sunburned as she owns no clothes, you see. So she sends out Zora who is some sort of god I guess to do the dirty work her hockey/wolfboar masked henchmen could not.

Which gets me to the special effects.

Zora is the golden armored baddie on the poster above. He looks quite menacing there, but isn't nearly so cool in the film itself. However, I still like his look with what appears to be woven strips of metal. His face is hidden like Ocron's, but I'm OK with that. Ocron's mask we already discussed. It looks cheap, but I liked the effect well enough.

There are some other interesting costumes and effects in the film. The wolf men don't look bad, but it did take a closeup for me to realize they were canine as opposed to porcine (their noses even look wet like a little pooch!). There are some cool zombies, and for a low-budget, early 80-s film, I suppose the blue powered bow was pretty neat.

The bow reminded me instantly of the leader guy's magical bow from the old Dungeons & Dragons cartoon from the 80s. I LOVED that show as a kid, and I wanted that goddamn bow!

We are treated to some trademark Fulci gore. I mentioned the zombies - they appear to be wearing sheets or robes, but they are grimey and crusty and well done, as is the par for Fulci.

There are some pretty gross effects with oozing pustules/boils, some nice blood squirts, and some cheap stuff like waxy, tearing skin, entrails (cool death scene there near the beginning) and fairly fake looking but entertaining beheadings, which to me in a film like this add to the effect. We're here for the gore and some smiles... we can't take this one seriously.

The nice, wet sound effects that I love in Fulci's films are present as well. He turns the volume up to 10 on blood oozing and such.

Unfortunately, the positives end here. There are some real issues with the film that made it a slight chore to watch at times. The visuals are ALWAYS hazy... there is either smoke obstructing everything, the sun is directly behind someone speaking, the scene is so poorly lit that I had trouble telling what was even happening... I suppose it was all done for effect, but the softness and haziness and darkness got old very quickly.

The music here was atrocious as well I thought. The synthy opening made me smile because it felt like Fulci's other films from the same time, but it goes on and on and on, and it is very loud next to the vocals. It dates the film horribly I thought.

The acting was par for what this was... nothing too hideous, and the story felt a little boring at times, but again, nothing overly offensive there either. At least the story stays simple and easy to follow, as some of these Italian knock-offs can just go around in circles and confound a story completely.

All in all, despite its flaws, I thought this was a solid entry into the genre. I didn't feel as though I had wasted this time like after watching The Warrior and the Sorceress The two closely compete for nekkid sorceress screen time, but Conquest comes out ahead in story, effects, and overall fun.

I would recommend this to anyone looking for a decent (albeit low-budget) fantasy film or how to overuse a fog machine.

5.75 out of 10

Watch out for the dangerous film scratches!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


This one looks like fun to me as well. That said, I have already heard it sucks. I'll probably see it regardless if and when I get the chance. The comment I have read is that the pacing, directing, and the acting is just really bad.


Join in on a discussion about it on popsyndicate!


This trailer made me smile. Animated Wes Anderson!

Whoo whoo... click click