On the surface, The Wicker Man is the story of one police constable’s attempt to scrooge up a town’s May Day revelries. But The Wicker Man is a film with complex depth, and delving into those murky waters is aided considerably by a few of the key texts
Released in 1958, Return of Dracula comes many years after the Dracula craze in particular and the Universal monsters in general had been relegated to the past in favor of atomic terrors and science fiction. Long enough, I suppose, that someone was thinking it was time for a revival.
One year for Christmas, I got an LP with which I would become obsessed, and one that continues to find its way into my playlist. It was a bizarre amalgamation of rock opera and old time radio play, featuring the voice talent of none less than Richard Burton: Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds.
A crumbling ruin. A mist-shrouded forest. A lone samurai making his way home late at night meets a seemingly defenseless young woman. So begins the horror of Kaneto Shindô’s tale of ghosts, vengeance, and the wrongs visited upon women by entitled men.
At the end of Beyond the Black Rainbow, directed by Panos Cosmatos, a period of quiet contemplation is required to begin unpacking everything one has seen during the preceding 110 minutes. The surreal swirl of stark futurism, psychedelia, and neon indulgence is…pleasantly overwhelming? Comfortably disturbing?
Asia-pol, with all the smart suits and colorful mini-dresses, not to mention death by exploding golf ball, offers just enough to keep you around as you see the sights with Jo Shishido, Ruriko Asaoka, and pouting teenager Jimmy Wang Yu sitting in the back seat.
Kriminal was one of many Italian comic book anti-heroes that rose to fame in the 1960s, inspiring a host of imitators all wearing, for whatever reason, skeleton bodystockings. But only one Kriminal cash-in made it to the big screen alongside the Italian original: Turkey’s Kilink.
Twists are heaped upon perversions until the whole thing threatens to collapse into one giddily irredeemable pile of filth that happily violates any taboo of which it could think, and then finds a way to make it all weirder still.
There is a deep vein of cynicism running through the center of Lucio Fulci’s Don’t Torture a Duckling (aka Non Si Sevizia un Paperino). The same can be said for the vast majority of the man’s work. His filmography is littered with the bodies of people snuffed out in manners most gruesome.
To call a film “explosive” which stars Edwige Fenech is one thing. To call a film “explosive” which stars Rosalba Neri is another. To call a film “explosive” which opens with Neri flinging dynamite around with all the glee and gesticulating of a silent film actor is a bad pun. To call a film “explosive” which stars both Fenech and Neri and features the aforementioned opening is the come-on of the century.
Steve McQueen stars as a San Francisco cop assigned to protect a witness against the Mob. Before the film winds to its thrilling conclusion on the tarmac of San Francisco International, viewers will marvel at McQueen’s casual cool and one of the best car chases in cinema.
Golden Buddha is tremendous fun and a real treat for fans of 1960s spy films despite there being no actual spies in the film. It’s still got plenty of intrigue and sneaking about, and the production is sumptuous. Fans of zany 1960s art direction will be in heaven.
As with his previous film, Miraglia takes the modern setting integral to the spirit of gialli and dresses it up in a bit of old-fashioned Gothic spookiness by, once again, setting a portion of it in a moody Gothic estate full of dark secret passages and dungeon chambers.
Now that’s the life — where, during a mild bit of cat burglary, you sneak into a lavish hotel room via the window and find Kay Francis in a low-cut evening dress, relaxing languidly across the foot of the bed, waiting for you with a glass of champagne in her hand.
Sergio Sollima didn’t direct very many films. His career is split fairly evenly between theatrical and televised fare. Devil in the Brain is not what anyone would consider a technically outstanding movie, but it is solid in its craftsmanship.
While the Golden Bat is a lesser known Japanese super hero compared to the likes of Ultraman or Kamen Rider, he is no less a venerable one. The creation of one Takeo Nagamatsu, his origin dates back to the early thirties.