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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.

Bliss

Channel 83 Films, USA, 2019
AKA:
Director: Joe Begos
Writer: Joe Begos
Cast: Dora Madison, Tru Collins, Rhys Wakefield, Jeremy Gardner, Graham Skipper, Chris McKenna, Rachel Avery, Mark Beltzman, George Wendt, Abraham Benrubi, Jesse Merlin, Matt Mercer, Josh Ethier, Jackson Birnbaum, Susan Slaughter, Erin Braswell, Zoe Cooper, Simone Wasserman, Kevin Daigneault, Kristin Lorenz

Dezzy is a splatterpunk artist with a dried out inspiration. She hasn’t been able to paint for months and everyone and his mother is on her back. She’s got an art exhibition coming up and the gallery owner want the advantage she’s been paid back if Dezzy doesn’t deliver. The landlord threatens to kick her out if she doesn’t pay the rent, and all her boyfriend want is sex but at the same time he’s the worst fuck, and on top of all this her agent dumps her.

Dezzy’s been clean for thre months but goes to her old dealer and buys “Bliss”, a mix of cocaine and DMT. She passes out from the drugs but wakes up to a party. Everyone is drunk and high on drugs and she meets her friend Courtney and her boyfriend Ronnie who is some rock star. They drink more, do more drugs and end up having a threesome. When Dezzy gets home she starts painting.

Next night she’s out again drinking and snorting Bliss. She meets Courtney and they go to a rock club. After a while she feels sick and starts to puke blood. Courney feeds her more Bliss.

She wakes up at home and even though she doesn’t remember painting, the painting has come a long way. Dezzy has extreme withdrawal symptoms and suspects Courtney slipped her something. What ever it was she needs more to be able to finish her painting. At the same time she doesn’t really know what happened last night, she’s having flashbacks of blood and of Courtney killing someone.

When Dezzy can’t find Courtney she goes back to her drugdealer. He thinks it’s the Bliss doing this to her, but she starts to feel weird. She attacks him and his friends, bites chunks of fleash from them, drinks their blood and kills them. She gets home again and paints and realises it’s not the Bliss but the blood. When she finds Courtney she admits to have slipped her something. She shared her blood with Dezzy and thats what’s gotten her so high.

The painting is about to be finished at last, but what is real and what is a druginfused psychosis? Is she turning into a vampire unable to handle her cravings for flesh and blood, and is the pile of dead bodys in her appartment for real or just in her imagination?

First part of the movie is sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. Dezzy is living a decadent lifestyle but is on the edge of loosing it. Second half is mental illness and mayhem. It’s not the first movie linking vampires need for blood to drug abuse, but I see a lot of similaritys between Bliss and Herschell Gordon Lewis’ Color Me Blood Red from 1965, and even from the film that inspired Lewis, Roger Corman’s A Bucket of Blood from 1959. Bliss is set against a background of clubs, music and art of a goth or deathpunk subculture mirroring the setting of A Bucket of Blood which is that of the beatnick subculture. Dezzy, like Adam Sorg in Color Me Blood Red is an struggeling artist who needs blood to succeed. Adam needs it for paint while Dezzy needs it to be able to paint. It’s interesting to see how long (or short) we’ve come from 1959 and A Bucket of Blood. Today sixty years later it’s the same old story only we’ve thrown in a couple of buckets more of blood.

My verdict: 6 out of 10.