18 February 2008

Hunter's Blood

United Statesl – 1986
Director – Robert C. Hughes
Embassy Home Entertainment, 1987, VHS
Run Time - 1 hour, 42 min.

Surprisingly comfortable within the warm fold of 80’s exploitation, Hunters Blood, with all the B names behind it, has a lot to go on, and with little hesitation it sets to work. The cover, and box synopsis immediately invoke Deliverance, an association I am surely not the first to draw (and in fact the reason I bought it). Nevertheless, Hunters Blood quickly sidesteps any chance at class with an instant shower scene, an asexual one, but the point is that we establish this as exploitation right away.

David (Samuel Bottoms, Lance the surfer in Apocalypse Now) and his dad (Clu Gulager) don flannel & vests and hop into his uncles rumbling Bronco and rip up the road on their yearly hunting trip. Picking up dads brother and his New York lawyer buddy Marty (Joey Travolta) they back slap their way up to a beer joint in the Apilachians where loudmouth Marty plays the boorish tourist and gets the vengeance ball rolling. After sexually harassing the barmaid, they get in a knife fight with some more hillbillies, and take flight in the Bronco.
With sheer stupid blundering luck propelling them from here on, the protagonists run into the redneck’s poaching operation. Time after time they are self-trippingly lucky enough to escape, capture, be captured by and escape again the bloodthirsty filth encrusted hillbillies. Yet, despite prolific flayed and crucified warnings from skittish Game Wardens, the group resorts to positive thinking.
Thanks to good old fashioned yankee naivete, they continue the hunting trip. It is this very stubborn determination to die that makes the horror films of this generation so watchable.

Somebody has to get shot, yes, there will be blood in this movie. Between a fair mix of shrieking idiocy and meat-headed obstinacy, the surviving civilised guys will, after a few dramatic personnel cutbacks, surely catch the last meat wagon back to town .

VHS sleeve from Backwoods Horror

  The poster whence came the artwork. Courtesy of 123 Nonstop as is the one below.

16 February 2008

Bare Behind Bars

Bare Behind Bars
a.k.a. A Prisao
Brazil - 1980
Director – Oswaldo de Olivera
Theatre Pictures, 19??, DVD

Bare Behind Bars has the benefit of a few years experience. The 60’s & 70’s gave us a taste, and so by the time things got really graphic, the industry had some idea what the public wanted from a women in prison flick. The grindhouse was just still around, and home video market didn’t really exist yet, so these things still had a venue. It was the transition from the former to the latter that was the impetus for the home grindhouse.

Being a “foreign” offshoot of WIP movies, BBB has all the benefit of its forebears. No pun intended, but really, the market audience has been targeted with precision. Fluff is dispensed with before the film even starts, and within minutes, mostly open green blouses are shed for a giggly shower fight scene ended with a fire-hose.

Immediately post-credits, the warden inflicts lesbianism on the rebellious friend of a recently deceased inmate, a theme repeated thrust home and which will undoubtedly lead to her downfall at the hands of said inmate. But, too distracted by the veritable buffet of cowed flesh, the warden and her open shirted lieutenants have their hands too full to pay much attention to a coup. The prison nurse, an ether addicted lesbian floozy, meanwhile tongue bathes the trim and conspires to let them all escape if they agree to 40 more minutes of grainy predictable friction. Fights, breast massages, groin grinding aplenty and copious moaning accompany shots of beatings, solitary confinement and shiv inflicted prison justice.

While it disposes with most of the excessive plot of other more moralistic, or humorous entries in the WIP genre, and also with most of the stomach turning gritty hardcore of still others, BBB manages to insert all the earmarks of the genre, peppered with just enough secular absurdity to make a good excuse. Bare Behind Bars shows a lot, but doesn’t say much, which, at the very least keeps it honest.

The Blue Underground DVD cover. This version is undoubtedly better than the DVD I found and probably doesn't have the japanese subtitles.

10 February 2008

Jungle Warriors

Jungle Warriors
a.ka. Euer Weg fuhrt durch die Holle
Germany - 1984
Director- Ernst R. von Theumer
Media Home Entertainment, 1985, VHS

What a whole load of good vibes I got off this movie. Sybill Danning is in it, and I saw a photo-still of her holding an assault rifle and standing with a bunch of girls in bikinis. "This son-of-a-bitch has got to be really good," I thought. I read that it was directed by a German guy, and originally went by a German title, cool, I like German sensibility. Fuggin' guns and drugs 'n' girls in small clothing, what could be better, right?
It opens with a short battle scene involving Woody Strode in a beret and sporting a small children's bow and arrow. Lethal in jump cuts at all ranges, Strode and Co. kill all other people in the scene, whoever they're supposed to be.

A fat white guy, John Vernon (Chained Heat and tons of other crap) is a sleazy, cocky American drug dealer who heads down to fictional cartel country to cut a huge deal with an even fatter white guy (posing as a brown guy). In the meantime blonde jerky-stick (Marjoe Gortner of Starcrash) is dragging his squad of supermodels down to South America for an exotic photo shoot. Get it? Massive narcotics deal, plus massive sex appeal equals action movie! With hot chicks! And no action!

This turns so quickly into a talkie that it's hard to really shake the first couple of scenes from your mind. Wait, Marjoe just got impaled on a jungle trap, are you really going to attempt to develop the shallow ridiculous plot for the next hour? I was made sad by so much of the repeated foundering at intrigue this attempted that, with the CIA ops and cartel and fat white dudes, it completely lost me.
John Vernon and Sybil Danning are both remarkably disappointing in the wake of Panther Squad, and Chained Heat, some of my recent favorites. All in all, this flick is punctuated by a few moments of effectively repugnant behavior and a more or less awesome soundtrack (except for a scene of 80's pop pap). And as excitingly gross (no really) as that is, the movie never seems ready to admit that that's it's purpose. If only we could admit that sometimes all we wanted was big boobs and bloodsplosion medicine. Then maybe we wouldn't get tricked into gagging repeatedly on this completely inedible spoon called "plot".

Some DVD covers from Europe and Japan, poor suckers.A crappy French poster:Compare the Jungle Warriors video box at the top, with the box art from Future Hunters, I think they're the same artist!

05 February 2008

Future Hunters

United States/Philippines - 1985
Director – Cirio H. Santiago
Vestron Video, 1989, VHS

2025, in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust, a guy with a suggestively biblical name is running away from a bunch of Mad Max throwbacks. Arriving at a decrepit brick building, he finds the Spear of Longenus, the spear that pierced the side of Christ as he was crucified, and apparently, allows people to travel through time. To prove the point, the guy grabs it and ends up in 1989, at the same building.

Michelle is a hot archaeology nerd poking around the building with her boyfriend Slade (Robert Patrick) when future guy shows up, saves em from some bikers, hands em the spear and mumbles something in a monotone before croaking
Resorting to a bickering match which is set to continue for the rest of the movie, the happy couple are soon menaced by some goofy Nazi goons who in similar fashion make a repeated whack-a-mole nuisance of themselves. In search of the other half of the spear, the couple flees to Hong Kong where, they meet up with Bruce Le who flexes his sweaty muscles, has a kung fu fight then vanishes from the script (exotic isn’t he?). Returning to their hotel just in time to rescue Michelle’s goods from some slavering natives, Slade is subjected to another practiced and scripted belittling, the shame of which he masks by assaulting a bellboy with his bulge.
The closer we get to the climax of this thing, the longer it feels and the more bizarre the plot twists become, but the introduction of a native militia, a small army of cave-dwelling midgets, and a band of fierce horny amazons can’t save the film from spiraling into a longwinded if action packed conclusion.
Throughout the film, bonehead jock Slade whines and complains, trying at every turn to throw in the towel, for which he is repeatedly upbraided by Michelle. Yet, despite the fact that she is the motivating force behind the entire plot, all the other characters essentially ignore her, and cast her aside to be smothered, along with a great plot, beneath a deluge of crude silly genre clichés.