Monday, 25 June 2012

Anthropophagus (1980)

Country: ITALY

Anthropophagus: The Beast
Anthropophagus: The Grim Reaper
The Grim Reaper
The Savage Island

This excruciatingly dull exercise in cinematic mediocrity achieved an unlikely prominence in the United Kingdom when it found itself a part of the ‘Video Nasty’ hysteria. An uncut video of this film was released in 1980 by VFP in the days before certification, and this grubby item can now fetch very large sums amongst idiots who have too much money and too much time on their hands. It should be remembered that thirty-nine videos were successfully prosecuted by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and Anthropophagus was one of them, so this is definitely one of the big boys that rubs shoulders with the likes of Cannibal Holocaust (1980), I Spit on Your Grave (1978) and Faces of Death (1978). The vast majority of the titles on this final list of thirty-nine have been released in the UK uncut (some of them on blu-ray!), but Anthropophagus has remained a persistently troubling title for the BBFC. This is almost entirely due to a ridiculous scene towards the end of the film when George Eastman’s cannibalistic psychopath removes a foetus from a heavily pregnant woman and proceeds to eat it. It would seem that the BBFC do not have a healthy appetite for this type of material, even armed with the knowledge that the foetus is merely a skinned rabbit. The upshot of this controversy of course is that when small distributors put films like this forward for certification they take the decision to pre-cut the film and Anthropophagus exists in this form (shorn of two minutes) and is available on DVD under the title The Grim Reaper.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Django (1966)


Although Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars (1964) became the pin up poster boy of the spaghetti western cycle, it is arguably Sergio Corbucci’s Django which wielded the greatest influence on European westerns. The central character went on to feature in well over fifty spin offs, the vast majority of which, were unofficial. The success of the film in West Germany led too Italian actor Franco Nero forever being associated with the role, and almost every western he appeared in thereafter was promoted in West Germany as a Django picture. The reason its vast influence remains largely unrecognised, is that unlike Leone’s ‘Dollars’ trilogy, Django was not a commercial success in the United States. The influence of A Fistful of Dollars was not immediate; indeed most of the Euro-westerns released in the wake of Leone’s film were actually quite traditional. It is conceivable that this might have remained the case were it not for Sergio Corbucci who had clearly paid attention to the exaggerated style, cynicism, revisionism, and mythical anti-heroism that formed the basis of Leone’s westerns. Corbucci’s major innovation was to take these elements (minus the exaggerated stylisations) and push them to the extreme. If A Fistful of Dollars was pessimistic then Django had to be nihilistic. If the landscape seen in A Fistful of Dollars was dusty, dry, and sun baked then the landscape in Django had to be wet, muddy, and grey. The influence of A Fistful of Dollars can be felt in Django, yet at the same time Django is everything that A Fistful of Dollars is not.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Corruption (1968)

Country: UK

Laser Killer

The semi-obscure 1968 British horror film Corruption belongs to a small, but strangely pervasive, cycle of horror movies that explore the subject of plastic surgery. The film that kick started this trend was Georges Franju’s beautifully composed art/horror hybrid Eyes Without a Face (1960). Franju’s excellent and troubling production was marked by a formal precision that mirrored the cut of Dr. Génnesier’s scalpel; but even so Franju’s film was still marketed as an exploitation picture in the US where it was released under the unforgivable title of The Horror Chamber of Dr. Faustus. The influence of the film however was quite notable; the prolific Spaniard Jess Franco quickly recycled the themes in his surprisingly tight and atmospheric The Awful Dr. Orloff (1962), returned to them in several sequels, and capped of his interest in cosmetic surgery with the indifferent Faceless (1988). The Italian horror/science-fiction picture Atom Age Vampire (1963) was equally unexceptional, though it did give Mario Bava an opportunity to hone his skills as a producer. Other interesting examples such as Circus of Horrors (1960) and The Blood Rose (1969) took the device of plastic surgery down intriguing avenues; the former for example saw Anton Diffring play a typically cold and implacable surgical genius, who uses his gifts to extort, blackmail and control people under the canopy of the big top. More recently another Spaniard Pedro Almodóvar returned to the topic and bridged the art house gap with Eyes Without a Face with his considerably more tedious entry The Skin I Live In (2011).

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Lucio Fulci Poster Gallery [Part 2]

Sella d'argento AKA Silver Saddle (1978) - Italian Poster

 Zombi 2 AKA Zombie AKA Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979) - Italian Poster

 US Poster

 Danish Poster

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Lucio Fulci Poster Gallery [Part 1]

I ladri AKA The Thieves (1959) - Italian Poster

Ragazzi del Juke-Box AKA The Jukebox Kids (1959) - Italian Poster

Urlatori alla sbarra AKA Howlers at the Dock (1960) - Italian Poster

I due della legione straniera AKA Those Two in the Legion (1962) - Italian Poster

Friday, 1 June 2012

Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (1972)

Country: ITALY

Excite Me
Eyes of the Black Cat
Gently Before She Dies

Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (it’s a bit of mouthful, but still an awesome title) was Italian filmmaker Sergio Martino’s fourth attempt to concoct excitement and entertainment within the highly stylised environs of the giallo. His previous three The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (1971), The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail (1971), and All the Colours of the Dark (1972) showed a filmmaker willing to develop and expand upon the conventions he was working in. The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh wore its influences a little too noticeably, but was still a confident first effort. The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail offered refinement, and was a solid progression on the previous film, if still somewhat overshadowed by its mimicry of others. The culmination of Martino’s vision came in All the Colours of the Dark; his first giallo to stand firmly on its own two legs, show some innovation, and offer the possibility of a unique brand of gialli with the indelible stamp of Martino’s personality. With this in mind Your Vice…has to be considered something of a retrograde step, and while some may cite the films cross pollination of gothic modes of address within the form of the giallo as evidence of innovation, one only need look to the marvellously baroque The Night Evelyn Came out of the Grave (1971), which appeared a year before Martino’s film, and is far superior on almost every level.

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