Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Men Behind The Sun 2: Laboratory Of The Devil

Men Behind The Sun 2: Laboratory of the Devil Directed By Godfrey Ho, Starring Zhu De-Cheng (1992).

Godfrey Ho you motherfucker! How dare you accomplish something that's nihilistic, shockingly revolting and surprising of all effective! How did this happen, I was lured into a trap of my own design! How could I not see it coming. As I saw your name listed as the director, skimmed around the Youtube vid and heard some laughable Nightmare on Elm Street music, I just figured "Hey this might be a goof" (wipes sweat from brow), holy shit was I wrong! Even Wiki described you as the "HK Ed Wood", only Wood never delved head first into depravity, well Ok there's that bizarre porn era with Rene Bond, but you never defiled our senses with an actual child corpse. This dead body by the way looks unnervingly real to me (Skunkape who sat through this with me disagreed). She's dismantled in extreme closeup and each organ is pulled out until hollow, kind of like a Thanksgiving turkey (excuse me, REEEETTTTCCCCCHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH)!!!!

Thanks to the Wu Tang collection, this grotesque nightmare is freely available on YT to crush souls and warp minds at the click of a mouse. Skunkape, my partner in grime is the only person on the planet that I can safely enjoy and cackle at something this fucked up and wickedly disturbing. We recently watched Human Centipede 3 together guilt free and each of us has been through the entire sequence (or arduous sequels) together. I don't have the slightest interest to revisit them either.

The worst part about 731 part 2 (or Laboratory of the Devil) for me was that I wasn't able to take notes and had to suffer through it again. It felt like I had picked off a scab that had recently healed (or maybe I was having a nightmare that I had to endure one of the medical experiments from the film). When we viewed it together the first time, we were goofing on it or trying our hardest to deflect the macabre vibes).

Does this mustache make me look like Michael Jordan?

Well, it looks like the same regime from the original is back again only now having a shitty time, aww poor babies--fuck you nazis! Commander Sagawa played by Zhu De-Cheng talks germ warfare and the good old days of squad 731 with some white Nazi bitch with funky teeth at a secret location, as we hear the sleep clinic music from Elm Street 1. Don't let your guard down, because even though we're waste deep in goofiness (bad dubbing, hokey acting), there's also real pickled babies in jars to hurt your feelings. It's rather hard to decipher if the autopsy of a little girl was real, but it definitely got to me. It's kind of odd how when I researched the actors in this on hkmdb the actors only appeared in all three sequels (Yes that's right, this series was so popular that they kept making them)!

I think I left my hot pocket in the toaster oven

Next the ghastly Ishii Shiro shows up played by Wang Gang (nice name), who was also in the first film! This human monster was the Japanese Josef Mengele and it's even more barbaric and mind bending that all of the testing and live evisceration experiments were handed over the General McCarthur in exchange for exoneration, so "Yay Whoopie, Fun Times!"

I dig that popped up collar dude!

If this review sounds repetitive than that's not an accident, this "sequel" really just re-hashes what occurred in the first film. I'll tell you one thing though, this one is a lot less depressing than the first film, although I realize that's like saying a kick in the balls is less painful than a kick in the teeth! They call the tortured captives who are frozen, injected with plague germs, boiled and sliced and diced "logs," as described in a hideous documentary I watched on this subject because they were considered non human. They recreate all the gruesome torture than went on in the first one and there's a few new creative torture scenes for those sickos out there with their pants down getting off on this shit! One scene has a dude being beaten into submission until he slurps down a watermelon injected with poison and a girl with face herpes. Other than that, there's zero reason to suffer through this film, do your self a favor and skip it.

Proactiv doesn't work, I want my money back!

This movie is extremely grim but sort of clumsy in its execution, I mean we are talking about Godfrey "King of shitty ninja movies" Ho! He also made the next sequel too, which I doubt I'll review, but you never know.


As Dr. Katz would say, Our time is up

Thursday, February 18, 2016


Blade of the Ripper (The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh, The Next Victim)
Directed by Sergio Martino
Starring: Edwige Fenech, George Hilton, Ivan Rassimov (1971).

Reviewed By Michael Hauss

While not a first viewing preference for me, giallos do make for an interesting view of sex, violence and murderous activities. The film under review here came during the peak of the Italian giallo cycle in 1972 and is one of the finest ever filmed. The review you are about to read will be filled with spoilers, but I know no other way to present this, without a complete explanation of the film, which relied on perchance happenings, the gradual pushing of the main character to the brink on insanity and an elaborate scheme to off people for monetary gain. Imagine if you will, say take the film STRANGERS ON A TRAIN and film it 70's Italian style, in reverse from the Hitchcock film with the ending revealing the murderous plot. That's what occurs here as two men, a professional man, a diplomat at that named Neal Wardh (Alberto de Mendoza) and a lazy playboy named George (George Hilton), who seemed to be hiding something and is even a bit of a psycho, explain how they have both helped the other get rid of someone in exchange for the other.

Ringo was a hack too Sergio "monkey javelin" Martino! 

Of course in the Hitchcock film, the Robert Walker character is the only one to murder someone, where as the Farley Granger character never holds up his end of the bargain, he never agreed to in the first place, but in this film the pair firmly consent to the killings. Neal eliminated Carol (Conchita Airoldi) who was George's cousin, she stood in the way of George receiving his full share of an inheritance, and George indirectly got rid of Julie Wardh (or at least he thought they did). Wardh was married to Neal and like Mirem in the Hitchcock film, was promiscuous, she is killed or was she, by an ex-boyfriend who happened to be a sadist named Jean (Ivan Rassimov). Jean attempted to kill Julie for money and after the attempt on her life is given a new name and nationality. Rasimov's character becomes John McDonald, a Canadian, before he is killed by George, to tie up a loose end.

The pair of men are exposed at the end because of a misstep that was performed during the killing of Carol, that varied from the actual homicidal killers operatus mundi, the fact that the murderer was at large during the plot to rid the men of the two women was a good cover for their deviousness.
The film is built around the Julie character who is a sexual deviate, she is both excited and repelled by blood. She is stalked throughout the movie by an ex-boyfriend who is a sado masochist who through flashbacks helped Julie wallow in her depraved and humiliating sexual hang ups. Julie is played by the ravishing Edwige Fenech, who with this role is frequently nude, this helped her become a bankable star, this film marked her second Giallo. TOP SENSATION (1969, Italy) was the first in that film she starred along with Rosalba Neri. Fenech would go on to a long career in films, including ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK 1972, Italy, Spain) where she teamed up again with actors George Hilton, Ivan Rassimov and director Sergio Martino from this film. She also appeared in the film YOUR VICE IS A LOCKED KEY AND ONLY I HAVE THE KEY (1972, Italy), also directed by Martino. Fenech has amassed 82 television and film credits to her name. This was the second feature film directed by Martino and he handles the chores excellently and does a great job helming the film, using unique camera angles and building the sense of dread with the use of quick cuts, scenes bustling with kinetic energy and fully utilizing a brilliant score to accent many scenes.

Do you mind?

The male lead of the film George Hilton was a major Italian film star who appeared in many films and genres, but may be mostly remembered for his roles in Spaghetti Westerns. Hilton who also had a certain charm to his portrayals, that at times masked the deceptive mind beneath the characters, as in this film. Ivan Rassimov who played the sadist Jean appeared in a number of films and is best remembered for his roles in the two gut munching films MAN FROM DEEP RIVER (1972, Italy) and JUNGLE HOLOCAUST (1977, Italy).

I don't always drink beer, but when I do smash a bottle of Dos Equis over that old bastard's head 

The film is full of beautiful jet setting people, living a descendant life style and engaging in sexual relationships with different partners. The use of the homicidal maniac killing women during the efforts of the three men to kill Carol and then drive Julie mad and then kill her was a fantastic idea that propelled this film into a classic of the Giallo genre. The cast are uniformly solid with Edwige Fenech playing a strong character who withstood many instances of abuse and was pushed past the edge of sanity, but stayed strong until the end until the plot by the two men with the aid of Neal almost cost her her life. The three men think Julie is dead at the end and the emotional toil on the viewer is heavy until it's revealed she is alive and ultimately the three men foiled in their attempt. Jean received a bullet in the gut for his part, the other two perish down a ravine and into a river.
Most of the homicidal killers victims were jet setting, free spirits, who were being punished it seems for their sins, the killer played by the great Italian actor Bruno Corazzari is given scant screen time and performed his razor slashing slayings mainly within the girls apartments, including one inside a shower with a blonde who is slashed and blood sprays upon the wall another nod to Hitchcock and his film Psycho (1960, USA).

Check out this nifty face opener I got from the Giallo Depot

The scenes in flashback with the Jean character slapping and cutting Julie were a bit hard to watch and the film definitely took on an air of misogyny and even the end which had Neal and George joyfully conversing, gave off a homosexual vibe to it, or at least a deep mutual admiration. The use of blood and water was used many times, including the homicidal killers killing of some victims in showers scenes and interrupted showers , the staged fake death of Jean in the bath with a tub full of bloody water and the small villa at the end where George has taken Julie to escape the killer, where the radiator in the villa leaks rust, which looks like blood and the smell of rust does at time have a smell of synthetic blood to it. The water and blood mix could possibly be a metaphor for the mix of blood and water that poured from the side of Jesus after it was pierced as he hung on the cross by a Roman soldier, the killing of the son of God by man. The mixing in the film standing for the attainment that these supposed sinners are receiving by the spilling of their blood, as blood purified the victims slashed by the killer and the mixing of blood and water, baptism into death if you will to wash their sins away.

Check out these tasty Ace Frehly style licks!

Like I said to start this review, I consider myself a film enthusiasts, but tend to stay within my comfort zones and the Giallo genre of films is not generally within my zone. Minus the Bava Giallos, which I slavishly research and obsess over and beyond Hitchcock, whom all these films own a certain gratitude towards. I very seldom buy or watch these, but without a doubt this film in the fifty or so I've seen is quite possibly the most technically polished and acted production in that small amount, even outside the parameters of Giallos it's one of the finest films this reviewer has even seen. The first half of the movie can move slow at times and with the continued closeups of Fenech it seemed like the film was a love affair between her and the camera, but the ending made all the crazy shit that predated it make sense and made for a stunning outcome to this great film. (editor's note: The recent Giallo homage by half of Canada's Astron 6 recreated a few moments from this film, check out this side by side comparison below)


Friday, February 12, 2016

Son of Deep Red Deluxe


SON OF DEEP RED DELUXE Compiled by Chas Balun (1989).

This review is bitter sweet because it's another seriously rare tape from the DR archives that Skunkape crawled through a sewer pipe John Goodman/ William Forsythe Raising Arizona style to procure a copy for me. It's bitter sweet because I'm not even sure if any of the other tape comps in the catalog will surface like Deep Red Deluxe 1 & 2, who knows if anyone has a copy. Afterward he handed me the tape, that generous primate stunk up my couch for a week, there existed no tomato sauce in the world that could rid the stench of excrement, mud and cinnamon (why)? I finally had to ditch my apartment, because the odor just permeated my nostrils and kept me up late at night. So I hope everyone appreciates all the hard work the TOG goes through.

So worth crawling through miles of shit

So what's on this extremely rare VHS compiled by Chas once again, well it starts off with some deleted scenes from John Woo's The Killer and continues on with others celebrating the man's filmic brilliance. We're treated to a smorgasbord (or Dim-Sum Buffet) of Golden Harvest Woo related trailers from the catalog like The Young Dragons (which steals Morricone's Big Gundown theme). A wacky slapstick comedy called Rags to Riches with Mr. Vampire's Ricky Lau.
For Dragons, Woo is credited as Wu Yu Sen and according to Chas, that film is his debut even though most consider his first film to be Last Hurrah For Chivalry. I was so ignorant toward Asian cinema until I picked up the Deep Red catalog, but now I've seen so many titles and possibly have developed an unhealthy fixation with the Far East, thanks to Mr. Balun (R.I.P).

Anyone who thinks John Woo purely made shoot em' up gangster flicks is totally wrong, he's delved in almost every genre (starting off in 1968). Of course here at TOG, we favor the horror over the Wu-Tang or El-Rey approved shit. But I'm cool with half of the chop sockey and hong kong phooey, sure I've been known to nod off during lots of clanging and banging fight scenes, but if it looked excruciatingly realistic then I'm on board for the pain train. 

It's kind of amazing how John Woo's Chow Yun Fat vehicle The Killer, which is owned by Miramax and will periodically surface on Netflix in pristine condition, but his other work never really streams anywhere else. I would really like for some Roku app to stream only JW titles-- I'm looking at you Criterion, quit wasting everyone's time with Wes Anderson and Lena Dunham and get crackin'.

Ok you learn HTML and create a fucking app!

I still have never seen Bullet In The Head and it took me years to revisit Hardboiled (which I remember getting on video when it was first re-released in dubbed form). I remember renting A Better Tomorrow from either 16000 or Video Waves and a friend who watched the scene where Chow gets punched directly in the nose, exclaimed "OK that shit was totally real" probably because there was no cut on impact. I have to revisit to confirm and I don't really recall.

You might as well call "SON OF DEEP RED" a dedication to John Woo, it's mainly all of his trailers, deleted scenes and even live on set behind the scenes footage with Lance Henrickson on fire. Which was sadly JW's American Van Damme debut Hard Target. I like how Lance gets high on the adrenaline of being engulfed in flames and says "I'd only do that for John Woo". 

I'm so High on Fire!

Next up is Ronny Yu's The Occupant and Godfrey Ho's Lethal Panther. Skunkape likes Bruno Mattei with equal fervor as he enjoys shit by Godfrey Ho.  Both directors junk gives me an instant migraine but as far as Ho's sequel to Men Behind The Sun goes, I'm looking forward a wimpy watered down version of concentration camp torture thank you very much (note this is before I endured this travesty, look out for the full review shortly).

Oh great another TRON sequel

Then a gothic mystery trailer shows up for Dominique with Cliff Robertson and Jenny Agutter, could it be as shitty to me as the criminally overrated Let's Scare Jessica to Death, possibly. Funhouse is tacked on again (I don't know what people see in that flawed carnival freakout). I'm willing to guess this is a favorite of Balun's, Skunkape will attest to its brilliance, visually it's fucking great, I just could've used a more coherent storyline or characters. Then things get major trippy, eat a whole bag of mushrooms or drop some orange sunshine because we get a nice trailer for 2001: A Space Odyssey, which my humanities teacher once explained to me had a lot to do with intergalactic sperm and the re-birth of civilization. Or maybe it's just a total mindfuck and really makes no sense at all (no one knows exactly what it means).

It's time to start trippin balls

This portion of the tape you'd want to get all toasted if you're not already (TOG doesn't condone drug use by the way, wink wink say no more). Then comes the mother of all disappointing stoner flicks (to me at least, sorry), Alan Parker's Pink Floyd's The Wall. Anyone who likes this shit-fest please defend it in the comments. Ok, I like the animated segments, but if you're gonna recommend a pot-head cartoon flick lets' go with Heavy Metal or Ralph Bakshi's Wizards, no? 

How can you have any Tapioca Snack Packs if you don't eat yer Steak-Um?

The lamest part on the tape is what's described as a "Virtual Drug Trance" but looks suspiciously like those old timey internet circa early 90's light music synch ups. For more on the subject go to this link. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_visualization

Get ready to be bummed out maannn!

Next we have Chas Balun (who presents) and Dennis Daniel (who interviews) Dario Argento at a convention. Chas mentions how Argento's films are a "feast for the senses" among junk food trash like Bud The Chud and Friday 8: Jason Takes Manhattan! FUCK YEAH! Horror fans now take all this shit for granted but at the time the U.S. just got a truncated version of Suspiria on VHS and they were grateful. I hate to be all "get off my lawn youngsters", but we all obviously take this for granted now, seeing as how you can find any Argento title for dirt cheap on pristine DVD/ Blu-Ray format. But obviously this is the reason the mold was broken and boundaries were broken down by Deep Red Magazine, they influenced all of these early DVD companies to release them.

Hey Check out my Count Floyd impression, A-AAA HOOOOOOOO!

Dennis Daniel does a back stage interview in a dimly lit hall, he's is partially responsible for bringing Dario to the masses and used to these notes to assemble a great interview in an early issue of Psychotronic Video. They discuss music a lot and Argento mentions how he's a big fan of Fassbinder. It's funny to me that they mention how Goblin doesn't have any recordings available (maybe there was a language barrier). This interview was conducted in 1989, I figured this out because they mentioned how Bob Dylan's "Oh Mercy" album was new.

Next are some more trashy trailers tacked on like Psycho Sisters (which looks fun) and Catholic High School Girls in Trouble from my all time favorite Kentucky Fried Movie. Last but not least is David Cronenberg on Lettermen promoting Naked Lunch. I love these VHS comps, they're like finding a bag of peanut M&Ms in the back of the fridge that you completely forgot about or something even more delicious and inspiring! I owe everything to that god damn Skunkape, pat him on the back next time you see him and give him a few more likes on our YT channel, he's the greatest! (I tried to upload this on YT but those fascists immediately took it down, total bullshit).



Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Last Blood

The Last Blood (Hardboiled 2, Hardboiled 3, 12 Hours of Terror) Directed By Jing Wong, Starring Alan Tam (1990).

No, it's not a shitty vampire movie but an Andy Lau lightning fast non stop HK action flick directed by the producer of such shocking films as Ebola Syndrome and Chinese Torture Chamber Story. Jing is not much of a director sadly, the combo of goofy humor and cold blooded murder is confusing. It's very entertaining though and hard to blink because there's so much insanity involving racing, punching or emptying smoking clips. Just the kind of shit you crave in a 90's John Woo style free for all. It opens with a confusing intro about terrorists causing terror and other kinds of "Engrish". 

Andy Tam and Lau seem to have no character names (they do mention how they resemble the actors that play them which is pretty surreal), there's some of that unfunny comedy that rears its ugly head throughout. According to HKMDB, which always bails me out of confusion (IMDB is worthless when it comes to Hong Kong cinema), their fictional names are Lui Tai and Brother Bee. There's a gun licking psycho in the mix named Kama Kura (Chin Ho), he's upstairs while Lui Tai intercepts a terrorist compound by saying "Hey guys did anyone order a pizza?" Immediately after discovering he's their enemy and must be killed on sight, they all end up torn in half by a hail of gunfire. The ultra violence is brilliantly executed in a creative and shocking manor, it's a righteous bloodbath! 

This shit happens every time we eat spicy wings and forget to take Zantacs

Tam's best pal Stone (Leung Kar-Yan) is a mustachioed cop who talks while an unlit cigarette dangles from his mouth, Bun E. Carlos style and it looks like he had it surgically implanted onto his bottom lip. Everybody wants to assassinate the Daka lama played by Law Shu-Kei, I figure it's a typo for Dali Lama. It's very strange that Tam and his partner discuss how he kind of resembles the real Alan Tam.

I taught Richard Gere everything he knows about de-clawing Gerbils

Next the evil Saporo (Jackson Lau-Hok-Yin) shows up, who's quickly established as a sick fuck who callously stabs a girl that saw too much, no witnesses I guess.
They throw in some wacky airplane vomiting and toilet humor with Andy Lau and then he and his girlfriend run smack dab into the Dali Lama type figure and call him a fucking idiot--that's harsh! 
It turns out the big Lama is in deep shit because terrorists are waiting to murder him (ones that we briefly met in the beginning like Saporo, who I know as a delicious Japanese beer). 

Alan Tam and Stone (who's still got that cold ciggy), show up at the terminal and then Uzis start ripping through backs--Man do they create havok when they go anywhere! All characters end up in intensive care with the Dali hanging on for dear life and the last blood aspect is a rare transfusion that he needs. I'm sure I've seen other Andy Lau films, but here he's an unlikeable spoiled bitch and this is not a good gateway film for his career. I've yet to see a Jet Li film that I like come to think of it (there are a few in the catalog like Black Mask). Alan Tam however reaps in all the cool points and consistently shoots criminals right in the face. 

I just laid a turd that's the spitting image of Keanu Reeves!

The dumbest character is Fatty and no, sadly it's not Kent Cheng like you'd hope. He's played by Armor of God co-star Eric Tsang Chi-Wai. Brother B (Andy Lau) is a total dickhead and in my opinion doesn't deserve all the help and credit he gets. I usually fall asleep during car chases, but this one looks so painfully authentic--I mean one dude seemed as if he was actually incinerated and others carrying machine guns rip through flesh and bone while riding down the stairs and flying over hills in unison, pretty impressive shit. The comedy devises are pretty appalling and usually violence driven, Haw Haw that guy was just shot by accident, hilarious! There's a whole unfunny toilet scenario with Lau clutching his bottom. Thankfully Alan Tam shows up again to class up the joint. More terrorists are on the rampage though and holy shit, Stone turns out to be a traitor and it has something to do with that cigarette! 

Are you from Quitters Incorporated, I told you it's not lit!

One crazy bitch with an axe starts chopping up people at the hospital to get to the Dali. Tam does summersaults through glass over and over again to escape the psychotic Saporo (I hope it was sugar glass)! The way Saporo dies is amazing, just like a landshark, holding an air tank and getting blasted away! They actually tried to pass this off as a sequel to John Woo's Hardboiled, how weird is that shit? There's so much offensive humor and extreme violence that it still comes out a winner, yeah the pacing is a little sluggish but there's so much going on that it works.



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