Saturday, 7 June 2014

Post Apocalyptic Pitre Dish ...

Bounty Killer
(2013 / USA)

Director Henry Saine
With Matthew Marsden, Christian Pitre, Kristanna Loken,
Barak Hardley, Gary Busey & Beverly D’Angelo

‘‘You’re my fender bender’’

It’s 2042 and the world’s been laid to waste by feuding business corporations, suckled to excess on mother earth’s natural resources. Now the white collar criminals all have a price on their head for the crimes committed. Corporations are no longer king. In this future it pays to be a Bounty Killer, and the queen of the kill is … Mary Death !.

The Post Apocalyptic Action movie is back with a ‘B’ movie bang, and with more than just a blast from the past resurrected dust cloud. ‘Bounty Killer’ hits the waste ground running & doesn’t let off the gas throughout its smile inducing entirety. With a foundation of, ‘Mad Max: The Road Warrior’ (1982), the make up of, ‘Warriors Of The Wasteland’ (1983) & a deliciously doffing deference to, ‘Death Race 2000’ (1975), ‘Bounty Killer’, puts peddle to the metal in a post nuke pleasure pastiche, layered upon a spaghetti western platform & ladled up with lashings of blood letting, Action, Mayhem !. 

This neatly realized vision of a post apocalyptic landscape is enhanced with well integrated matte drawn back drops, and its mid movie sequence introducing the nomadic Gypsies, a tribe of professed cannibals and wild savages, as they chase after the protagonists into the wastelands, is a well layered example of such application. An action packed effects sequence well worth anticipating, but cross these Gypsies and your future will be swiftly predetermined !. 

The metal steed riding motorcycle horseman of the post apocalypse known as Drifter (Matthew Marsden), is a bounty hunter driven by his need for retribution and redemption. Himself once aligned within the ranks of the white collar free rollers, until the realization of the affect of the all consuming avarice eating away at the world, renounced the Corporation, and ever since the apocalyptic downfall tracks down the egotistical propriety among its surviving hub.

Drifter is the new age future version of Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name, but with the quirkier disposition akin to that of a dialogue dishing Rowdy Roddy Piper from, ‘They Live’ (1988). He may not be chewing gum, but he sure knows how to kick ass !. His ample array of fire power comes side kick supplied by his trusty gun caddy Jack LeMans (Barak Hardley), a jittery hanger on who bathes in the new world rock star limelight emitted by the bounty killers, but who soon earns Drifter’s respect. Caddying up shooting irons for the right range to take down the bad guys, stay the course, and bag the bounty. Drifter is a shooting iron pro, but he only gets his wood out for … Mary Death.

Feature movie newcomer, and super hot starlet of the future, Christian Pitre is the freeze frame bounty killer heroine babe of the piece, Mary Death. Sat back with a beverage in hand you’ll spill your juice as she hit’s the screen just before you do !. Blessed with a fabulous female form to unzip with your eyes and cry with joy as she kicks future butt like Barbarella working out to a Bruce Lee Jeet Kune Do self instructional DVD. With knockout attributed curves and a pair of throat slicing spurs spinning on her heels, Mary Death is well christened, and the lord help all who cross her. This apocalyptic angel of death is a sex popsicle of perdition, dishing out a hell of a lot more than she takes a licking !.

Mary Death and Drifter are a formidable pairing as they join forces to purge the planet of the pre apocalyptic surviving cancer that is The Corporation. A still privileged society protected by the suited and booted armed militia of their matriarch, Catherine (Kristanna Loken). Her yellow tie wearing force headed up by chief cohort Van Sterling, played by the always watch able, out there antics of  a beguilingly bonkers Gary Busey. Kristanna Loken’s conceited bitch of a character wants Drifter back in her ranks, and everyone else outside of The Corporation society, Terminated !.

Based upon the Cool graphic novel of the same name, from Robert Kirkman’s (The Walking Dead) Kickstart Production stable, ‘Bounty Killer’ is very much a hyper Cool comic book page to screen translation that works supremely well. On screen graphics etch out indelible imagery to enhance the comic book Fun at opportune times throughout the film. Oft displayed bodily dismemberment, and siphons of blood, paint the screens canvas with such tongue in cheek rapture that even the staunchest of disbelievers viewing will revel in its wry intentions to successfully entertain. 

Matthew Marsden makes for a charming hero, and Christian Pitre a lethal, yet lovely heroine. Perfect casting all round & the end credit outtake reel shows just how much fun was had by all in the making of the film.

It has been all too long since a good Post Apocalyptic Action movie has come along, and, ‘Bounty Killer’ is a very good one indeed. Blessed with a decent budget, well done CGI effects and backdrops, along with some very well done practical effects to boot. The future of the Post Nuke movie is looking good, rallied as it was once before it seems, this time in the pre wake of a new, ‘Mad Max’ movie, with the highly anticipated, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ due out in (2015). 

Dig out your leathers, stock up on water & fuel, then saddle on up with Drifter & Mary Death for a Post Apocalyptic party that even Prince could not have foretold back in 1999 !.

Movie Rating: 7 /10

Review by Paul Cooke / Source Region 2 Blu-ray - German Steelbook Edition

Bounty Killer (2013)
Director Henry Saine

With Christian Pitre, Matthew Marsden, Kristanna Loken,
Barak Hardley, Gary Busey & Beverly D'Angelo

Monday, 4 March 2013

National Health Warning At ...

Horror Hospital
(1973 / UK)

''The Operation is a Success ... When the Patient Dies''

When a movie starts with its villain of the piece sat in the back of his stately car, replete with its own driver and a subservient dwarf, who gives the order to chase down two bloodied and frightened young people desperately fleeing for their lives, you know that your in for a pre politically correct experience. When that villain is a ghoulishly cast Michael Gough as a Dr. Frankenstein like surgeon, revelling in every scene at his unreservedness in such a maniacal role, that experience is guaranteed to be heightened.

Any movie starting with a scene showing a diabolical double decapitation by means of a devilishly deviant design of lethal retractable blade, attached to the roof side of a speeding car and initiated into lateral position at the press of a button, is deserving in its place of memorable opening moments. Up there with those great Hammer Horror sequences where Van Helsing chases down Count Dracula, recounting the closure of the previous movie and spawning the start of a new chapter. A bloody action packed introduction then to the deliciously dark humoured delights that unfold in … Horror Hospital !.

Jason Jones (Robin Askwith) is in need of a short break from his hectic job in the music industry, and so decides to spend a few days at a health retreat. On route by train to the Southern coast of England he meets up with a pretty young woman named Judy Peters (Vanessa Shaw). By coincidence she too is travelling to the same retreat in order to see her auntie. When the two get off the train at their destination the platform is desolate, and the area seems overly quiet and tranquil. They are met by the station manager who gives them directions. When they trek off by foot the station manager telephones the health hospital, and with a sinister precognition informs them to expect another two !.

The wryly dark vein of smile inducing humour flows throughout proceedings, in an anarchic, unrestrained irreverence to British societies nonchalance during the early Seventies. Everything is over the top, including the seemingly quite often adlibbed acting, and infectious for it in making the movie far more palatable than had it been done overtly serious.

At Brittle House Manor, Dr. Christian Storm (Gough) experiments on the health resort guests, performing a lobotomy upon them that leaves each person completely, and mindlessly under his control. Left in a Zombie like state, emotionless and unable to feel pain they are pawns at the command of Dr. Storm. His mark left upon them with a grisly head scar, and a deathly white pallor to the skin.

Jason Jones and Judy Peters are ensnared into Dr. Storm’s macabre world, and each readied for the same procedure. With Judy due next upon the insane doctors operating table it is up to Jason, aided by another young man appearing on the scene in search of his girlfriend, to overcome the bizarrely garbed personal guards, kitted out in motorbike leathers and safety helmets at all times, and save Judy from Dr. Storm’s maniacal experimentations !.

It’s all good, bloody, schlock British made Seventies horror at its best. One of those rarities that gets more camp, and more enjoyable with age. Ending on a suitably gory high in similar fashion to how it began, and unravelling the horrible secret behind a deformed creature, only previously glimpsed throughout the movie.

Horror Hospital is highly deserving of your ‘patience’, and well worth checking into. Just be sure to get prescribed the full incisive cut of the film before undertaking such movie medication !.

Movie Rating: 6/10

Review by Paul Cooke / Source UK PAL Region 2 DVD

Horror Hospital (1973)
Director Antony Balch

With Michael Gough, Robin Askwith & Vanessa Shaw

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Ebay VHS Goodness

Ebay Auction VHS Movies
(November 2011)

Pre-Christmas VHS Crackers up for Auction, and what a surprise package to be pulled, with nary a Turkey in sight :) .

Japanese VHS Originals, Greek Rarities and some UK PAL video Action flicks from the glorious Eighties. There's The Good, The So Bad They're Good, and the Ugly ducklings that to some are Swans in disguise, resplendent in their goofiness, absurd and downright fabulous :) .

Please do check out some of the Original cover art from titles on offer, and as always these are true scans of what are actually being offered in the Auction.

Explosive Eighties Action !. From the Karl Landgren lunge to the Maurizio Merli slap down. Gung Ho Goodness, Post Apocalyptic Fantasy & Brutal Spaghetti Western rareness, to politcally incorrect Euro / Italian Seventies Crime flicks, all looking for a good home at a fair price.

Thank you in advance to all who take the time to check the Auctions out, and a Huge Thank You particularly to those that place a bid.

Good luck, and hopefully there is something for all who stop by the Ebay express :) .

Thank You

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Sign Up For The Death Corps ...

Shock Waves
(1977 / USA)

‘‘The sea spits up what it can’t keep down’’

Nazi SS Zombie death troopers rise up from a watery grave to seek vengeance upon their creator. Programmed to kill, and created to overcome any terrain, in any condition or circumstance, these unyielding harbingers of devastation are the apocalyptic abominations of biblical prophecies. Enhanced evolutionary killing machines, these un-dead soldiers of war are the ultimate evocation of evil. They are the F├╝hrer’s Death Corps !.

Aberrations genetically designed in experimental laboratories at the end of World War II. Brought into being by the maniacal minds of Nazi SS scientists, instructed to create a super soldier. A remorseless killing machine in the image of man, but born from the manipulated DNA structure of reanimated human hosts.

The movie begins with a small private boat, captained by horror stalwart John Carradine, out on the ocean with a small compliment of crew and a handful of paying vacationers, including a very young and cute Brooke Adams. As night falls the boats occupants witness an unusual light array emanating from the ocean bead, explained away by the cranky old sea faring captain as a barometric anomaly. Later, into the sleeping hours, the boats night watchman and a sleepless Brooke Adams are startled by what appears to be a very large freighter ship bearing down upon them. Their small boat is hit, but the only trace of what caused the incident is a ghostly outline of a sunken wreck witnessed beneath the sea upon the next days dawn breaking.

With a damaged ships hull the occupants of the boat row ashore to a close by remote island in order to seek assistance. Mysteriously, the captain of the vessel has disappeared during the night. As the small party feel land beneath their feet, upon safely arriving upon the island, they are soon taken aback at the discovery of the captains lifeless body washed up upon the beach. John Carradine’s atypical movie cameo appearance, during this stage of his very long career, meets cessation with the death of his character with no apparent cause !?.

Right from the off Shock Waves ripples with atmosphere and a terrific sense of real tangibility, as if you are alongside the on screen characters experiencing what they are. Great credit to Director Ken Wiederhorn for bringing out sound performances from his ensemble of both seasoned actors, and fledgling stars of the future. His creativity in bringing the best from what is essentially a basic storyline, and delivering to his audience a finished product that refreshingly rewards well above expectations.

Peter Cushing appears on screen when the bedraggled island crashers arrive upon his doorstep. A run down old hacienda styled hotel that Cushing’s character, of a reclusive ex SS commander, resides in alone, living out the final days of a life that is clearly racked with memories of a past that haunts him.

Italian horror icon Lucio Fulci may well have been influenced by Shock Waves for his 1979 classic Zombie gore onslaught, Zombie Flesheaters. The gathered party of people, gathered in a run down haven upon a remote island, following boat trouble, is the very same scenario. Uncannily representative of the cult Euro directors memorable moments is when the first un-dead SS death corps officer rises up from his watery grave, and traverses across the ocean bed. Fulci added a shark attack to his underwater Zombie, but the general scene resemblance is most notable.

The visualisation of the German SS soldiers emerging up out of their watery grave is as memorable as that of the knights templar shuffling to the shore, after their ghostly galleon is raised to the bottom of the ocean after being engulfed by fire, in the Spanish horror classic Ghost Ships Of The Blind Dead (1974). An eerie image of the living dead, fatigued in full SS uniform, and oversized protective eye goggles adorning their countenance.

Seeking a way off the island, and pressing for answers as to the SS commanders past, the people from the boat are warned to stay away from the water, and to leave the island as soon as possible. Peter Cushing delivers a fine performance as a scarred former cog to the might of the Nazi wheels of war. He reveals his past and foretells of the impending attack upon them all by his creations. Describing them as the most vicious and blood thirsty of all of the SS divisions. His creations are a group of commandos designed specifically to acclimatise under water. The Death Corps are neither dead, nor alive, but somewhere in between. Towards the end of the second world war they were dropped into war zones and let loose upon the enemy, and anyone that was unfortunate enough to cross their path. With the war lost the SS commander sent his ship, and its cargo of Death Corps soldiers, to a watery grave at the bottom of the ocean. Now time has turned the tide and his progenies have reawakened from their watery internment, and their killer programming has not altered !.

The final third of the film is about survival against the re-emergent un-dead soldiers of death, and Peter Cushing’s time of atonement against his creations.

Shock Waves proves to be an effective horror that has not been diminished with the passing of time since its first release. A genuine cult piece that is deserving of being rediscovered by a modern audience. Refreshingly free of CGI, and needless excesses of blood and gore, yet simply and effectively resplendent in its consummate horror traditions.

Movie Rating: 7/10

Review by Paul Cooke / Source UK PAL Region 2 DVD

Shock Waves (1977)
Director Ken Wiederhorn

With Fred Buch, Brooke Adams, Peter Cushing,
Jack Davidson, Luke Halpin, D.J. Sidney,
Don Stout & John Carradine

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Prior To War There Is ...

The Final Sanction
(1990 / USA)

‘‘The American, he does not have a chance’’

What if the future of world wars were decided upon the confrontation between chosen participants, each representing the super powers of the planet, highly trained individuals conditioned to kill !?. The fate of democracy and free will would then lay in the outcome of … The Final Sanction !.

Prolific ‘B’ movie Action film making auteur David A. Prior directs his interpretational concept of war chess, in placing two combatants fighting against each other, winner takes all.

When the United States Of America and Russia launch nuclear missiles in pre-emptive strikes against each other it signals the gauntlet to spare two nations mass populations, a preamble to logical resolution of disagreement, and a practical solution to safeguarding the innocent. The two super powers arrange for a showdown, on a level playfield, in a neutral zone, between their chosen champions. A modern day equivalent of a duel. The winning combatant giving right of resolution to their governing heads of state.

Sergeant Tom Batanic, a disgraced special operations soldier, convicted criminal and incarcerated in a maximum security prison, is emancipated from his long term hell. With the opportunity to have all charges against him wiped clean Batanic takes up the mantle charged to him by his country. He is fast tracked into a full on training procedure to hone his already given talents. Army training and Batanic training, however, don’t actually see eye to eye. The former sergeant isn’t one for taking orders, but when set free from the shackles of bureaucratic pomp and procedure Batanic is a man of mass destruction !.

In the Russian Spetsnaz command camp their military leaders task Major Galashkin, played by the ubiquitous mighty bad assed villain William Smith, to evaluate, train, and psychologically hone their war readied beast, Sergeant Sergei Schvackov !. A man mountain of forward motion muscle, who’s perchance is a lethal throwing delivery of a sharp edged shovel like weapon. Robert Z’Dar is perfectly cast as the Spetsnaz version of Robocop, an unyielding force of unmitigated might, and a man with a bigger chin population than the whole of China !.

Schvackov is subjected to the most intensive physical and mental training schedule, isolated away in a dark and clinical low level facility away from the outside world. His one on one total fortification is engrained upon him by the unforgiving solidarity of William Smith’s superbly grizzled army major. Robert Z’Dar’s larger than life plastic action commando figure is breathed life into by Smith’s character, and once freed from the figurative plastic covered box containment he’s ready to turn his opponent into a disfigured Ken doll, and make Barbie look like a twisted version of Jackie Stallone.

The coming together of the two combatants upon the battle zone is high Action entertainment. Both machines of war let rip upon each other with guns, knives, brawn and bravado, but in the end it is the use of brain and tactical nouse that wins the day.

After throwing everything at each other, including brazen use of a bazooka, the two seasoned warriors gain respect for each other and come the end the result of the coming together is resolved in good old fashioned hand to hand, mano a mano combat. Both men aware that they are first and foremost soldiers, and not pawn representations of their governing puppet masters. They cut the strings of the insidious charade and fight for their own honour, each resolute in the satisfaction that may the best man win.

Big Fun Action outing from Director David A. Prior, with sound performances from his lead players. A very prophetic take on how future major disagreement outbreak may be resolved, but even with minimal loss of life will we ever be able to overcome the far greater reaching ramifications that still involve us all !?. Free your film Fun, drop such politics and pick up this ‘B’ movie Prior‘ity’. Now that’s a Final Sanction !.

Movie Rating: 6/10

Review by Paul Cooke / Source Japanese NTSC VHS

The Final Sanction (1990)
Director David A. Prior
With Ted Prior, Robert Z’Dar, Renee Cline,
David Crawford & William Smith

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Death Stalker's Devastating Form In ...

The Destroyers

‘‘Now let’s kill some sons of bitches’’

Vietnam war veteran Deacon Porter (Rick Hill) receives a telephone call from the wife of a friend, and fellow ‘Nam war buddy, informing of his death in a car accident. The grieving wife tells Porter that she believes it was murder !.

In a back hills Californian town crooked business man John Carey operates a marijuana trade. The surrounding lands are the perfect plantation spot for cultivation of the illegal substance, and with the local police sheriff on his payroll Carey’s production schedule is in full force.

Carey has a large stable of armed men under his leadership, all tasked with keeping the marijuana fields guarded at any cost. Trespassers aren’t just frightened off, they are hunted down and killed !. Anyone that may directly attract attention to them meets with a more subtle form of accidental death. Deacon Porter’s ‘Nam buddy uncovered the operation, and his transgression led to Carey staging his death to look like it was accidental.

Porter drives into the same town to ask questions about his friend. Word of his investigations soon reach Carey and it is not long before he too is set upon by the drug barons goons. Beaten, bloodied, shot and then having his car forced off the road by pursuit vehicles, careening into a ditch and exploding into a plume of flames, Porter just about gets out in time. Believed dead, and so not attracting any more concern from the aggressor Carey, he retreats back home to dress his wounds and formulate a plan of retaliation.

Anther ex ‘Nam war friend, and explosives expert, comes to Porter’s aid, offering his assistance in bringing the war to John Carey and his illicit operation. Whilst Porter rejuvenates, and forms a plan of action, his good buddy sets about calling upon a couple of former Vietnam war brothers in arms. Weapons and tactics soldiers, still alert of mind, and fleet of foot and fist. Bringing together a formidable small strike force of four Deacon Porter, and his three dogs of war, return to the backwoods Californian town to serve notice of hostile intent upon Carey !.

Guns, grenade launchers and plenty of explosive devices, bring proceedings into the high octane Action percentage column in the final third of the movie. Vietnam vets against drug running animals. The only way for Porter and his men to cull the rabid beasts is to put them down. Outnumbered, but out smarting such overwhelming odds, the battle seasoned pros bring a war to Carey that raises all hell, and his Marijuana operation to the ground.

Rick Hill steps out of ye old world Deathstalker (1982) mode, and muscles right on into modern Action hero mould pretty seamlessly. Crofton Hardester plays the mean spirited and avarice hungering bad guy role of John Carey well enough, ably assisted by Cirio H. Santiago recognisable regulars Nick Nicholson and Don Gordon Bell, amongst others, as his heavy handed henchmen.

Left to team Porter the bad baggage gets taken down, toe tagged and sent packing care of lethal Vietcong man traps and bad ass bravado. The Destroyers is a low budget, high value Action fest that delivers the goods.

Movie Rating: 6/10

Review by Paul Cooke / Source Japanese NTSC VHS

The Destroyers (1986)
Director Cirio H. Santiago
With Rick Hill, Katt Shea, Crofton Hardester,
Kaz Garas, Terrence O’Hara & Bill McLaughlin