Monday, November 6, 2017

Contraband



Contraband (The Smuggler) Directed by Lucio Fulci, Starring Fabio Testi (1980).

I've been meaning to check out this early Fulci crime flick. Had I known, it was this fucked up and on par with Live Like A Cop, Die Like A Man as one of the best in the Italian crime sub genres, I would've watched it sooner! It definitely wins for thee greatest director cameo Fulci has done, I mean I'm sure you've seen that meme of him blasting a machine gun. Usually his Hitchcock style cameo is in the form of a newspaper boss or janitor.

I shoot at your memes, motherfucking millenials!

It kicks off into high gear with a boat chase. These dudes zigzag around each other in choppy waters, it kind of reminded me of when I worked at Alcatraz and there was a boat race. Something is off in the state of Fulci-Land, because none of his trademarks are evident here. The actors are all normal looking, there are hardly any ugos or extreme eyeball shots, plus I have yet to even see a maggot. So we're talking classiness all the way. Fabio Testi is almost handsome and compared to the usual actors we are accustomed to in a pastaland flick, it's downright refreshing. Testi forged his way through Giallos like (What Have They Done to Solange, man did I hate that one) and fun shit like The Big Racket and also a Fulci directed spaghetti west called Four of the Apocalypse (click the link here for my review).

I'm the Fulci Jon Hamm.

This is when Fulci wasn't trying to rip something off even though there are some shades of The Godfather present. The usual goofy dialogue actually seems out of place because of how interesting the storyline is. Usually in a Fulci film the incoherence works with the sleaziness and the ghastliness. This is Lucio's only stab at the Poliziotteschi or Italian Police flick and it's pretty solid.

During a disco dance, the song heard sounds a lot like "Turn It On" by Genesis. We also see Ajita Wilson, the transgendered actress that Skunkape mentioned before in his review of Hotel Paradise. Wilson is a pretty interesting actress, she tragically was killed in a car crash and died at 37. There's bits of info about her online but Blue-Underground should really put out a documentary on her, she starred in tons of Italian Eurotrash Women in Prison films. Her most famous one being Jess Franco's Sadomania aka Hellhole Women (1981), which I used to see at Borders books all the time.

Fuck your couch (in Rick James voice) !

Perlante (played by Saverio Marconi) is a total slime ball, he acts like he wandered off the set of a Joe D'Amato flick, just super abrasive and nasty, so far he's my favorite character. Marcell Bozzuffi, who I know as the creepy French ghost from Altman's Images plays a mob boss character named The Marsigliese but he didn't make much of an impression on me, which is weird.


Eeek, my eyes are watering from the stench of clam.


 The scene when they burn up the stable and real horses scream made me nervous. Fulci isn't one to commit animal violence even though for A Lizard in Women's Skin, he was hauled into court. Carlo Rambaldi had to prove that no animals were harmed by bringing in the special effects of fake dead dogs.  

Lucas' mustachioed partner gets mowed down with a machine gun by a cop played by Romano Puppo, the dude from Escape from the Bronx and about a thousand other Italian Action flicks. His death is so mellow dramatic as Luca  looks on with sorrow. I don't usually complain about dubbing but it's performed in the tradition of bad sounding anime, I'm just not into it.

I kind of wish Tomas Milian was in this as well, but I guess you can't have everything. Ettore Sanzo, who wrote the script also penned Late Night Trains and the Last House on the Beach. The director made Gates Of Hell (aka City of the Living Dead) the same year as this so, he must've just needed a break from brain drilling maggots and the island of Matool. Everyone in this film is so in your face Italian, you never get that impression from his other films, especially during this period where it's all Europeans in Louisiana and wherever Dunwich is supposed to take place. Big mustaches everywhere old country looking Italian men and Grandpa's little kid saying ciao.

mustache rides half price for today only.

The score is all funky bass and it's pretty awkward. Fabio Testi has a Sean Connery quality but is pretty stiff as an actor.

There's some gyno-shenanigans unlike any captured on film. Just watch it to see what I mean but basically girls smuggle things up their cooters. Now I've seen everything in a Fulci flick!
The female violence gets really intense in this one scene, it's really unpleasant and I could just imagine a misogynist like the director baitin' it to those moments. Towards the end is when they really bust out the squibs and blown out brains. The horse race brain extraction scene is bonkers!


AHHHH, Good that cavity was bugging me.


This, The New York Ripper and the Devil's Honey are the most sexually charged out of all the Fulci cannon. The action starts to get off the charts towards the end, so don't fall sleep or anything.
One of my favorite characters gets an impromptu tracheotomy! The gory shoot out at the end is super meaty and up there with this filmmakers nastiest scenes. The priest from Gates Of Hell shows up in a Bruce Campbell ala Darkman style cameo.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, ESPECIALLY THOSE WONDERING WHAT ALL THE FUSS IS ABOUT ITALIAN CRIME.

UCK, I hate it when they use too much marinara!



Sunday, October 29, 2017

Guinea Pig 3: He Never Dies



GUINEA PIG 3: Shudder!, The Man who doesn't die, HE NEVER DIES (1986). Starring a bunch of nobodies. 

A “scientist” or some Francis B. Gross ala Faces of Death type dude starving for the circus peanuts he was most likely paid with, warns us that this is a true story. His name is Rick Steinberger and looks like one of those cheap 1-800-lawyers or a Better Call Saul type huckster. There’s a really annoying punk sounding song that plays while a rundown telemarketing office goes about its daily grind. This one already is miles ahead above in comedy but we shall see if it gets as unbearable as the first few films in the series.

I found this more entertaining than Better Call Dull.

It’s really odd to me that when Chas had these for sale, they were unsubbed, so you’d just make up your own story line! This one was described as the "Mermaid in a Manhole" entry, but that's one of the later episodes. He Never Dies is almost "Dundler Mifflin Tokyo style" as office workers chit chat and the shitty-o camera looms in way too close. The fake scientist makes another appearance as a Japanese voice loudly speaks over his and they both talk about the main character’s “human relationship between employee and company”, then the narrator gleefully anticipates how insane the main character will get. He does a puppet show with his feet, I mean who hasn’t been there? So he locks himself in a room for 4 days and begins to slice open his wrist. Why though, I mean he’s surrounded by TV, comics, tons of entertainment—I don’t get why he's so bummed out but it’s all part of the let's shock the audience in a masturbatory way.

Dag your breath smells like limburger!

If you discovered that you were immortal, why would you fuck yourself up by cutting into your flesh all day— it’s so grunge! If I found out I could live forever, you can bet I'd do everything I could to effect legislation toward gun control or disable The "Diaper Klown Dictatorship" for the sake of sanity. Or maybe I would go back in time Terminator "Outer Limits" style and abort all the babies that are now neo nazis clogging up Washington, making society more intolerable than it should be. How boring or pointless would it be to just hack away at your own limbs, too much work for me that's for sure.

The music that plays during the office fantasy scenarios sound like Trio that "da da da" band or Atari casiotones. 

This dude is about as likeable as Pauly Shore crossbred with Kid Rock!
Some dude the main character is pals with comes over and tries to scare him wearing an Elvis mask. It’s all still a lot funnier than the 1st two movies but none of it makes sense and it’s on an 8 level on the excruciatingly boring scale. Can't wait till part 4, oh wait, yes I can!
WHY AM I DOING THIS TO MYSELF, I MUST BE SOME KIND OF TWISTED SADIST!

Somebody order a Hand sandwich, I'm the Dave Coulier of Guinea Pig!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Guinea Pig 2: Flowers of Flesh and Blood





Guinea Pig 2: Flowers of Flesh and Blood, Starring and directed by Hideshi Hino (1985).

Everything that we now know about Charlie Sheen from his drug abuse, porn star addiction, severe mental problems and conspiracy theories, most people would in this day and age side with Chas Balun. According to Snopes, in the 60's, Ed Sanders a guy in the hippie punk band The Fugs interviewed someone from the Manson Family about a headless victim in a secret sex tape that no one was able to track down but it was labeled "snuff". That was the first case of a hardcore scene that ends in death and of course tons of movies came out after about the subject, starting with Michael and Roberta Findlay's controversial, laughable and dull as shit flick Snuff.

Now that this bullshit is on Blu-ray, I'll die of embarrassement all over again!


Sheen pushed the panic button over at Chris Gore’s party, where he put on a crazy video compilation, it offended the dopey actor and he alerted the feds. Gore already had it out for Chas, bashing him in Film Threat, as a scumbag who ripped off the directors that he claimed to admire. We've covered this before but Chas not only loved these rare films, which were all censored in the U.S. at the time, but he went out of his way to champion them as more artistic and brilliant during the time when they were regularly trashed. He took it to the underground to get the message out there before the internet existed.

I saw this film back in the 90’s when it seemed as if it could’ve been a genuine snuff flick, Skunkape had a copy and we giggled and made fun of the dopey looking back alley rapist Samurai (who reminded us of our T.V. Production teacher Mr. Bolton). This teacher had the most lethal, paint peeling, shit-smelling breath that it was a form of torture just to be too close to those rotten choppers.

everybodies doin' it from Col. Sanders, Alice Cooper to John Waters.

Balun also sold the making of special, which showed all the latex effects and fake gore. If you do a brief amount of research, you’ll find truckloads of YT teen film critics making snarky comments or dissecting the entire film series 1-6 that were produced usually in front of their overstocked shelves of horror DVDs and posters. I’ve successfully neglected to review all of the short films, even though I was fascinated by what each of the creative staff of Deep Red thought of Chas getting unfairly busted, because it put them all in serious jeopardy at least for a short while.

A mysterious underground snuff tape showing up in your mailbox could never happen again. In the future of 2017 of course if you really wanted to, you could easily seek out beheadings, snuff or Serbian Film reality bullshit if you choose that depraved route, it’s all up to your own discretion and moral compass or whatever sick shit gets you off. Or you could not even try all that hard and accidentally watch every Human Centipede film on various streaming devices. Why would you though, as Max Renn (James Woods) character in Videodrome struggled with, why do it for real? It’s so much easier and safer to fake it. You know things are really fucked up when that kind of shit is run of the mill. 


I'm still haunted by James Woods trying to explain this flick to Peter Griffin.


Hideshi Hino, a talented comic book artist took this idea or philosophy and constructed his own version of what a genuine snuff film might look like. There’s an interview with him from Vice.com that said the production team behind the first movie approached him about a minimal project, which was the basis for Flower of Flesh and Blood. Hino actually put on the makeup, donned the silly looking helmet for the Samurai role and got really down and dirty. He didn’t receive that much hostility from the feds, at least as much as CB did, which is fucked up considering he created this piece of shit and Deep Red just sold a bootleg of it.

I used to see ads for Hideshi’s comic Panorama of Hell and Hellbaby in the Fantaco catalog, there’s even a cool maggot eaten action figure which came out (that's pretty fucking expensive and hard to find). Hideshi's artistic talents are more provocative and interesting than this film here, which like the first one is just basic torture porn—aka the bullshit Eli Roth thinks is valid performance art.
It begins with amateurish subway footage and an after dark chloroform situation happens. It does have a scary voyeuristic shot on video quality.

I hope this toy is under my tree this year.


A rubber glove wearing ghoul in lipstick and white face make-up (Hideshi), sharpens up some loud surgical instruments and starts carving away like a grandma on Thanksgiving. That’s kind of how it begins, he kills a chicken and blabbity blabs about how poetic her blood and bones cracking are. It’s all done in a slow masturbatory way and it’s no fun at all, super creepy, nihilistic, icky and deranged. I mean if there was a story or purpose other than to get the jollies of some freako going, then maybe I could file it under something in the vein of Grand Guignole Japanese style, but it’s insanely boring and just foul. It ends with him severing her head, popping out her eyeballs and he sings a hellish lullaby. The End.

This short film has certain elements in common with Nekromantik. There’s a the jar of organs, maggots slithering into the camera and all that jazz but it’s basically too boring for its own good. A totally unpleasant yawn fest, it's basically gorenography but I guess it was influential on creating one of the dumbest sub genres: torture porn. Until next time, I’ll save you a straight jacket for the loony bin of Japanese snuff depravity because I plan on reviewing all of these whether they all suck or not.


NEVER TO BE SEEN!
THE PATENTED GUINEA PIG UP CHUCK CUP!


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