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Total Devastation

Total Devastation

Fauzi A. Mansur Cinematográfica, Virgínia Filmes, Brazil, 1986
AKA:Total Devastation Until the Last Orgasm, Devassidão Total, Devassidão Total até o Último Orgasmo
Director: Fauzi Mansur
Writer: Wilson Vaz
Cast: Neusa Dias, Márcia Ferro, Custódio Gomes, R. Martinele, Sheila Santos, Paulo Soares, Ronaldo Amaral, Francisco Viana

Four women are kept prisoners of a fifth sadistic woman. She keeps them naked in a cage most of the time, but they are sometimes allowed out to do washing and cleaning, and then they put on clothes.

The sadistic woman uses them for her own sexual gratification. She also has men come over and rape them and she even makes a captured gorilla have sex with one of them.

This Woman in Prison film from Brazil is a bit odd. I never got who this sadistic woman was, who her slaves were or why they were being kept in a cage in the first place. And what’s with the gorilla? I’d think chances are very small for a pet gorilla even in Africa and smaller yet anywhere else. The story is non-existing, special effects consists of a gorilla suit. The sex is explicit and not simulated but rather uninspired and sort of 70’s-ish.

My verdict: 3 out of 10.

Bounty Killer

Bounty Killer

Just Chorizo Productions/Kickstart Productions, USA, 2013
AKA:
Director: Henry Saine
Writer: Jason Dodson, Colin Ebeling, Henry Saine
Cast: Matthew Marsden, Kristanna Loken, Christian Pitre, Barak Hardley, Abraham Benrubi, Gary Busey, Beverly D’Angelo, Eve, Kevin McNally, Alexa PenaVega, Jolene Andersen, Chasty Ballesteros, Ivar Brogger, Cham, Tyra Colar, Will Collyer, Robbie Davis, Vince Dyer, Chris Graue, Alex Huynh, Ryan Hanna King, Everton Lawrence, Jeff Meacham, Jessica Meraz, Soon Hee Newbold, Mindy Robinson, Alex Scolari, Andre Drekno Simmons, Robert Tarpinian, Calvin Tenner, Melvin Tenner, Matthew Willig, Cathy Zukimoto, Lacey Joy

“I’m stealing a stagecoach from a bunch of savages with a wanted criminal moonlighting as a bounty killer, who has the hots for a murderous deranged gypsy. I’ve never stopped believing.”

– Gun Caddie Jack LeMans

The big corporations got more and more powerful until they took over the world’s governments. Their hunger for profit made them wage war on competition with their own armies. This led to what has been known as the Corporate Wars, which became the end of the civilized world as we know it. Out of the ashes rose The Council of Nine trying to bring back law and order to the world. They issue death warrants on white collar criminals and bounty killers are hunting these criminals down for the reward. The survivors of the apocalypse sees these bounty killers as avengers. Twenty years after the war bounty killers are the new heroes, the new rock stars, the new celebrities.

Two competing bounty killers, Drifter and Mary Death, hits a corporate party at a penthouse together. Before going in guns blazing Drifter tells Mary Death he only wants one of the people inside, and she can have all the rest. Next day Drifter turn up in San Dalloosa City with a body to collect the reward. There is a cheering crowd and he is approached by a reporter wanting an interview and Jack LeMans who want’s to be his new gun caddie. Drifter tells the reporter off. He never do interviews. Then Mary Death turns up in her Mustang with her own logo on it and a trailer stacked with dead bodys, the crowd looses all interest in Drifter. Mary Death is selling t-shirts, signing autographs and posing for pictures. Drifter finds out there is a death warrant issued for his old friend Harry. As he and his new gun caddie leaves to try to find Frank and find out what’s happened there is a new warrant coming through on the faxmachine. This warrant is for Drifter.

When Mary Death finds out about the death warrant issued for Drifter she goes after him and catches up at Harry’s bar in Drip Rock. Mary confronts him and he admits that before he was Drifter he was Francis Goreman, CEO of a weapons manufacturing corporation. He sais he has to go see the Council of Nine and talk to the judges. No one has ever appealed a death warrant before and Mary sais this would be suicide since the council guards will kill him on sight. Harry was already dead when Drifter arrived and he suspects luring him there was a trap. Before they have a chance to finish their conversation, and Mary to decide wether to help Drifter or to kill him, they are attacked by “yellow ties”.

Drifter and LeMans get away and head for the Council. To get there they have to cross the dangerous Badlands, but as they are getting close to the border they are captured by gypsys. Those are fierce facepainted savages rumourded to be cannibals. The gypsy queen interogates them of the whereabouts of a gypsy girl named Nuri. She ran away some years ago after killing the gypsy king, and she had talked about trying to find Drifter. Despite being tortured Drifter denies all knowledge of this Nuri girl. We, on the other hand, learns that Nuri is Mary Death. Drifter created her. He trained her, taught her everything he knew and for some time they hade a love affair but eventually things got sour between them. Drifter and LeMans escapes from the gypsys but not before a big bloody fight. Jimbo, a coyote, which is a person who smuggles white collars out of bounty killers territory, but also Drifter’s snitch, has crossed the Badlands before so they go see him to persuade him to take them.

Meanwhile, Mary Death is lost in the Badlands. When trying to find her way out she finds a gypsy scout dying from radiation. He tells her the gypsys are in the Badlands because they are coming for her. She has to find her way out of the Badlands before the radiation kills her or the gypsys find her, and she has to decide if she is to speak to the judges on Drifter’s behalf or if she is going to kill him and collect the reward.

I didn’t really know much about this film as I sat down to watch it. I had seen some bad reviews and most of these compared it to Mad Max, but claimed it was a bleak copy. I loved Mad Max (and The Road Warrior) when I saw it on rental VHS as a kid and I’ve seen my share of clones good and bad through the years. I didn’t expect much from Bounty Killer but boy was I in for a surprise. I see why so many compare it to Mad Max, but I don’t see the “copy” thing. Mad Max was obviously one inspiration, but it’s no clone. Bounty Killer is a tongue in cheek action film in a dystopian post apocalypse setting. It’s styled to death shootouts in designer outfits. Mary Death is as rock’nroll as it gets. I for one, would buy the t-shirt!

My verdict: 9 out of 10.

Tilt

Tilt

Ball & Chain Productions, ReKon Productions, USA, 2017
AKA:
Director: Kasra Farahani
Writer: Kasra Farahani, Jason O’Leary
Cast: Christian Calloway, Elijah Collins, Joseph Cross, Jessy Hodges, Billy Khoury, Kyle Koromaldi, C.S. Lee, Brian Leng, Ron Marasco, Rya Meyers, Shelley Mitchell, Alexia Rasmussen, Jade Sealey, Kelvin Yu, Junes Zahdi, Michael Zakhar, Keir Gilchrist, Logan Miller

Jack Torrance is a writer with writersblock. He pretends to be working but starts to slip into madnes. Sorry wrong film, but not really. Joseph Burns did a documentary about flipper games called Tilt which had some success and ever since, he has been working on his new film. It’s not really going anywhere and in reality he is unemployed and on his way into a depression. His wife Joanna is pregnant but her work as a nurse is what keeps them floating.

Joanna tries to use her connections to get Joseph a job, but he’s not really interested. He doesn’t seem very interested in the expected baby either. When he doesn’t get anywhere with his film, he takes to roam the streets at night showing more and more psychotic signs. Obviously he is heading for disaster.

Tilt basicly is Shining except for the suroundings. Instead of an isolated Hotel we’re in the middle of the city. Joseph Cross even looks a bit like a young Jack Nicholson, but unfortunately Farahani is no Kubrik. Acting is fine and execution of the film is OK. The story is boring and predictable though.

My verdict: 3 out of 10.

The Night Visitor

The Night Visitor

Hemisphere Pictures, Glazier, USA, Sweden, Panama, 1971
AKA: Lunatic, Salem Come to Supper
Director: Laslo Benedek
Writer: Guy Elmes, Samuel Roeca
Cast: Max von Sydow, Trevor Howard, Liv Ullmann, Per Oscarsson, Rupert Davies, Andrew Keir, Jim Kennedy, Arthur Hewlett, Hanne Bork, Gretchen Franklin, Bjørn Watt-Boolsen, Lotte Freddie, Erik Kühnau

Salem is in an asylum for the criminally insane, convicted of the axemurder of a farmhand. He claims he is innocent, that he was framed by his sister and her husband, and that he was misrepresented by his lawyer. At the trial his lawer changed the plea from not guilty to guilty by reason of insanity at the last minute, and thus getting Salem off jail but still locked away.

Two years after the trial things start to get weird at the farm where his two sisters, Emmie and Ester, and his brother in law, Dr. Anton Jenks, still live. There is some tension between the sisters as Anton and Ester wants to sell the family farm, while Emmie refuses. Ester and Anton owns one third and also controls Salems part, but Emmie still owns one third so they can’t really do anything unless they can make her change her mind, or if she would die and leave her part to Ester.

Dr. Jenks get called away to a house nearby where the daughter has been found dead in her bed. He can see she has ben strangled and when he opens his bag there are hypodermic needles and sedatives missing but for some reason they have been exchanged for several of his own ties. He suspect his wife for this and confront her when he gets back home. Their parrot drives him mad by repeating “Hit him Anton” over and over but when he throws the cage to the floor the parrot gets loose.

Anton claims he saw Salem standing in a closet when chasing the parrot. He believes Salem somehow has found a way to sneak out from the asylum at night and then sneak back in again. Maybe to get revenge and hurt the people responsible for putting him there in the first place. Ester doesn’t know what to believe and starts to doubt she can trust her husbands sanity.

Salem is a skilled chess player, and at the asylum he plays with one of the wardens. In The Seventh Seal Max von Sydow portraits a knight who plays chess with Death. The Seventh Seal was of course directed by Ingmar Bergman who is the father of Liv Ullmans daughter Linn. In Troell’s The Emigrants and The New Land von Sydow and Ullman plays husband and wife. To americans von Sydow is probably most known as Father Merrin from The Exorcist. He never played chess with the Devil though.

The Night Visitor is a straight forward told story, even if there is some sort of twist a la Edgar Allan Poe at the end. There is also a lot of Max von Sydow running in the snow in his underwear.

My verdict: 6 out of 10.

The Ninth Gate

The Ninth Gate

Artisan Entertainment/R.P. Productions/Orly Films/TF1 Films Production/Bac Films/Canal+/Kino Vision/Origen Producciones Cinematograficas S.A./Vía Digital/Canal+ España, France/Spain/USA, 1999
AKA:
Director: Roman Polanski
Writer: Arturo Pérez-Reverte, John Brownjohn, Enrique Urbizu, Roman Polanski
Cast: Johnny Depp, Frank Langella, Lena Olin, Emmanuelle Seigner, Barbara Jefford, Jack Taylor, José López Rodero, Tony Amoni, James Russo, Willy Holt, Allen Garfield, Jacques Dacqmine, Joe Sheridan, Rebecca Pauly, Catherine Benguigui, Maria Ducceschi, Jacques Collard, Dominique Pozzetto, Emanuel Booz, Lino Ribeiro de Sousa, Asil Raïs, Bernard Richier, Marinette Richier, Jane Bradbury, Samuel de Luze, Christopher Goodman, Diane Hawkins, Lee Michelsen, Diane Pernet, Jacquelyn Toman

I don’t remember exactly when I by chance stumbled upon Arturo Pérez-Revertes book El Club Dumas, but I was amazed by it. I couldn’t put it down but had to drop everything else and finish it. I grew up before the Internet, before VHS, width only one (and later two) channels on TV, so books was the only possible escape from reality. Therefore Corso’s world was my world to. I knew all those books by heart and got all the references. I tried to get my 25 years younger girlfriend to read it but she didn’t get it at all. She never read The Three Musketeers or Sherlock Holmes so on her the magic was lost.

When I heard El Club Dumas was being filmed, directed by Roman Polanski who is one of my favourite directors, and starring Johny Depp… What can I say about Johnny Depp? Well, I named my son after one of his characters, so I guess You understand I had great expectations on this film to say the least. Media made a big thing out of Polanski returning to satanism 50 years after Rosemary’s Baby.

Dean Corso is an expert on rare books and how to find them. One of his clients, Boris Balkan, who has the worlds biggest collection of books on Satan has got his hands on the very rare “The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of the Shadows” from 1666 by Torchia, who was burned alive by the Holy Inquisition along with all his writings. Only three copies still exist, but Balkan claims two of these are forgerys and he want Corso to find out if his copy is the authentic one or not, and if it’s not he wants him to do whatever he has to, at whatever the cost, to get the one that is for him. In this book is a number of engravings. Torchia was supposed to have gotten these engravings from Satan himself and according to the myth they form a puzzle which if solved reveils how to conjure the Devil. Balkan got the book from a collector who hung himself just a couple of days later. The other two copies is in Portugal and France, and Corso takes the book with him for comparising.

The book is wort somewhere around a million dollars and Corso is getting paranoid. He believes someone is following him, this weird girl with socks that don’t match is turning up where ever he goes, his appartment gets broken into and Liana Telfer, the widow of the person Balkan bought the book from, tries to buy it back from Corso and even suggests he could stage a robbery and keep the money for himself. When he refuses she attacks him. He left the book whith a friend who turns up murdered, but whoever did it didn’t find the book.

In Europe Corso discovers slight differencies between Balkans book and the other two. The girl seems to have followed him as she keeps turning up, and there are several near accidents which could be attempts to kill or scare Corso to part with the book. Corso learns that when Torchia was burnt a secret order was formed to preserv the book from the church. This order still exists even if it has somehow degenerated into a social club for bored millionaires and celebreties staging orgys. He also learns that Liana Telfer is a member.

Both owners of the other two copies turn up dead, their books gone, and Balkans copy is stolen. Corso suspects Liana Telfer is behind it all and goes after her to try to get Balkans book back.

So, when I first got to watch the film I was actually a bit disapointed. It wasn’t the fantastic story Arturo Pérez-Reverte had penned. It was only part of the book, and a lot of the names and charachters was changed and simplified. Also the last part was all changed and didn’t really have very much to do with El Club Dumas at all. Pérez-Reverte has said “Polanski’s film isn’t bad, except maybe the last half hour. Evidently it is not my novel.” and that about sums up my feellings. As long as You don’t compare it to the novel the movie is actually very good. I’ve watched it quite a few times and everytime it seems to grow on me.

My verdict: 10 out of 10.

Related

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday

Darko Entertainment, USA, 2016
AKA:
Director: Casey Tebo
Writer: Casey Tebo
Cast: Tristin Mays, Vanessa Lengies, Erik Palladino, Matthew Willig, Inanna Sarkis, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Matt Bush, Steven Tyler, Britne Oldford, Robert Miano, David A. Garcia, Carlos Ayala, Juan Jose Dubon, Rey Borge, Michael Anthony Perez, Riley Litman, Bernardo Verdugo, Diahann Elise, Stevie Salas, Geno Monteiro, Cassandra Bautista, Gene Minero, Dominic Quarto, Edward Cadena

On his birthday Brady finds out his girlfriend has cheated on him. His friend Tommy talks him into taking a trip to Mexicali, to drink, take drugs and maybe find some mexican girls to make Brady forget about his sorrows.

They meet Katie and Lucia who warns them of El Gato Enfermo, the mean leader of the local cartel. He is known for kidnapping young americans for ransom. Brady is an orphan who grew up in an orphanage so he jokes about being safe since he has no relatives to pay his ransom. The girls have to leave but Katie sugests they should meet up later that night to party.

Next the boys run into Texican and his big cousin El Caballo. They offer to guide the boys and keep them safe for a small fee of course. They to warns them for the cartel and for El Gato. They take the boys to a cockfight where they meet this aztek shaman (Steven Tyler from Aerosmith) who gives them some very powerful drugs. They end up in a stripclub and things start to get very weird.

They lose Texican and El Caballo but runs into Katie and Lucia again and they decides to go with the girls to their hotel room. When they get there, they end up in a bed each with a girl each but then things turn ugly. Brady and Tommy gets tied up and beaten. The girls work for El Gato and was planning on kidnapping the boys all along. They drug them and when Brady wakes up Tommy is gone.

The girls tell him Tommy died and his body has been dumped in a container. This wasn’t supposed to happen and they are afraid it will piss their boss off. They will let Brady go as soon as his family has paid his ransom. Brady realises his in deep shit since Tommy was the one width loaded parents and he hasn’t got anyone.

Happy Birthday is like a rollercoaster ride. There are twists and turns to the story all the time and You can’t really trust anyone since noone seems to be who they pretend to be.

It’s a wild and entertaining story. The only problem I had with it was that some of the twists were a little bit predictable.

My verdict: 5 out of 10.

House Swap

House Swap

UK/USA, 2009
AKA: You Are Not Alone, House Trap
Director: Mark Ezra
Writer: Mark Ezra
Cast: Nathan Nolan, Evie Brodie, Simon Dutton, Louise Houghton, Seth Sinclair

Matt and Ginny are a young american couple who has made a house swap for six months with a brittish couple. They’re also pretty much filming everything they do. Yeah, You guessed it. It’s another darn found footage movie. It’s getting old, in fact it was getting old a long time ago.

Anyway, compared to last weeks found footage Happy Birthday Hannah at least this one had a better start and the main characters weren’t as anoying.

Well, back to Matt and Ginny. On their way to “their new house” they stop to take in the scenery and at one such stop he is filming Ginny and there is a couple far away in the background. Suddenly the man beats the woman down. Matt starts yelling to him to stop and the man starts to run towards Matt and Ginny demanding that they stop filming and gives him the camera. They jump in the car and barely gets away as the outraged man smears blood over their windshield.

In The Texas Chain Saw Massacre Hitchiker smears blood on the side of the van as he is getting kicked out and one of the characters jokes about them “being markt”, and we all know what happened to them, don’t we? Whether the angry man who smeared blood on their windshield has anything with what happens next to Matt and Ginny is unclear, but at least they themseves believe so for starters.

The house turns out to be an enormous mansion with a vast number of rooms. In fact more lika a labyrinth than an ordinary house. Then things start to happen which makes Matt believe that someone somehow is getting in to the house. It turns out the owners of the house has had problems with a stalker and this is why there are hidden security cameras all over the house. Handy when You are making a horror movie, eh?

For a long time House Swap is actually quite OK. Not much happening but we know someone is in the house with our heroes. It’s obvious something is going to go bad and the story keeps building up to some sort of climax. Unfortunately it doesn’t work all the way. Somewhere along the way the screenwriter lost concentration and the characters start behaving weird. There is this really strange policeman, and there is unbelievable stuff like having an arguement and going back to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night from an intruder making noises obviously from inside the house. There’s also the “get the camera”-scene. You know what I mean when You see it.

House Swap isn’t terribly bad. It has a solid feel to it and even if the budget wasn’t very big, it still feels like a “real” film and not some kids homemovie which a lot of those found footage films do.

My verdict: 4 out of 10.

The Car

Universal Pictures, USA, 1977
AKA: DeathMobile, Wheels
Director: Elliot Silverstein
Writer: Dennis Shryack, Michael Butler, Lane Slate
Cast: James Brolin, Kathleen Lloyd, John Marley, R.G. Armstrong, John Rubinstein, Elizabeth Thompson, Roy Jenson, Kim Richards, Kyle Richards, Kate Murtagh, Robert Phillips, Doris Dowling, Henry O’Brien, Eddie Little Sky, Lee McLaughlin, Margaret Willey, Read Morgan, Ernie F. Orsatti, Joshua Davis, Geraldine Keams, Hank Hamilton, John Moio, Melody Thomas Scott, Bob Woodlock, James Rawley, Louis Welch, Bryan O’Byrne, Don Keefer, Steve Gravers, Tony Brande, Ronny Cox, Kathy Hilton, Leslie Hoffman, Elliott Mason, Johnny Timko

“Oh great brothers of the night, who rideth out upon the hot winds of hell,
Who dwelleth in the Devil’s lair; move and appear!”
                 – Anton La Vey

Some critics had compared The Car to Jaws, and even called it “Jaws on wheels”. When I first saw The Car years ago that was my first thought too, but in a good way. Just like the shark in Jaws it turns up and attacks out of nowhere, at first picking it’s victims where there are no witnesses but slowly creeping closer and closer to populated areas.

When the car settles somewhere around the small desert town of Santa Ynez nobody is safe from it. It strikes out of nowhere at random much like a force of nature and not according to some human logic. It’s a perfect predator.

Two teenagers on bikes, a hitchhiker passing by, and the town’s police chief are among the car’s first known victims. When the chief of police is attacked an old native american woman witness it all. She later claims there was no driver in the car.

We never really get any explanations for what or who or why, but Sheriff Wade Parent, who is leading the hunt for the killer car finds out the old woman was right. At one point the car attacks a parade rehearsal and everyone takes cover at the old graveyard. The car doesnt seem to be able to get at them as long as they stay there. Holy ground? It’s inability to enter the graveyard and the introductory citation from La Vey indicates something supernatural. Maybe the car is possessed by the devil. We never really know.

Not only does it hit people on sight. It also takes out policecars by doing a barrelroll over them and it attacks people even in their own houses.

My verdict: 6 out of 10.

Absolution

Bulldog Productions Ltd., UK, 1978
AKA: Anthony Shaffer’s Absolution, Murder by Confession
Director: Anthony Page
Writer: Anthony Shaffer
Cast: Richard Burton, Dominic Guard, David Bradley, Billy Connolly, Andrew Keir, Willoughby Gray, Preston Lockwood, James Ottaway, Brook Williams, Jon Plowman, Robin Soans, Trevor Martin, Sharon Duce, Brian Glover, Dan Meaden, Hilary Mason, Hilda Fenemore, Robert Addie, Kevin Hart, Philip Leake, Michael Crompton, Andrew Boxer, Richard Willis, Michael Parkhouse, Richard Kates, Martyn Hesford, Clive Gehle, Charles Rigby, Michael Bell, Martin Stringer, Francis Fry, Julian Firth, Tim Short, Keith Macey, Michael Munn.

“Under no circumstances what so ever may a priest break the seal of the confession.”

Father Goddard is a priest and a teacher in a boys’ Catholic boarding school, and during one of his lessons the rules of confession is discussed. Around the same time a drifter shows up on a motorcycle and sets up camp in the woods surrounding the school. One of the schoolboys befriends him but when Father Goddard finds out he makes the boy promise never to see the drifter again and calls the police to make them drive him off.

Soon one of the boys in confession admits to Father Goddard to have killed the drifter and buried him in the woods. Goddard diggs up the shallow grave and finds a scarecrow instead of the drifters body. He is outraged by this prank on him but can’t do much about it since he is bound to silence. Next the boy confesses once again. This time he claims to have really done what he only joked about the first time. He also confesses to have plans for another murder, this time on one of his fellow students.

Goddard must try to prevent the murder and protect the intended victim, but is at the same time still under the seal of confession so he can’t tell anyone what is about to happen.

The movie is a bit slow paced at the start, but the twists of the plot soon got me interested. The acting over all is very good and Billy Connolly does his first role in a movie. Absolution wasn’t released in the US until 1988 (four years after Richard Burton’s death) and in Finland it premiered on Television in 1998. A modern day remake would be interesting to see. Imagine some blood and gore added to this plot.

My verdict: 6 out of 10.