El Santo’s Mario Bava Centennial

For my last update of 2014, I remember one of the greats:

 

Knives of the Avenger (1966), in which we contemplate what to call a Western about Vikings.  A Northern?  A ryer?  A drakenskif opera?

5 Dolls for an August Moon (1970), which was Bava’s own pick for his worst movie ever…

Lisa and the Devil (1973), which is my pick for his most eccentric movie ever…

Rabid Dogs (1974), in which Bava spreads his wings only to have the perch collapse under his feet before liftoff…

and…

The House of Exorcism (1975), in which Bava and producer Alfredo Leone resort to truly desperate measures in the hope of recouping some of Leone’s Lisa and the Devil investment.

 
 
 

El Santo rules the wasteland-- and also 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting.


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    I wanted these end days to simply end

    Years Of The BeastWith the world almost a year closer to the end of the world, I thought it would be appropriate to review Years Of The Beast, an end of the world movie that has those familiar trademarks found in most movies made by Christian filmmakers.

    Keith Bailey is the proprietor of The Unknown Movies Page.


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      I sing the body electrocuted

      The Traveling ExecutionerWords almost fail me with The Traveling Executioner. I can’t think of another movie quite like it, which is one reason why I enjoyed it a lot.

      Keith Bailey is the proprietor of The Unknown Movies Page.


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        Legend of Suram Fortress

        Legend of Suram Fortress

        suram15However, some degree of education subsequently achieved, Legend of Suram Fortress remains a very strange film from a very strange director, like an esoteric magical tome written in a language only known in the land of faerie and to Alejandro Jodorowsky. In fact, so surreal was the cinematic style of Sergei Paradjanov that it was considered an affront to the Soviet Union, an artistic divergence so severe that it landed the director in a gulag for crimes committed against social realism. But if one is to stumble semi-blind through the rich and esoteric cultural heritage of the Soviet Union’s Central Asian spheres of influence, one will be confused but enlightened by having Paradjanov as a guide. He was a man trained in the established art schools and production studios of Moscow and Kiev but possessed of a fierce interest in exploring the pre-Soviet indigenous cultures of places like Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan in a way that had little respect for traditional, logical narrative.

        Keith Allison is the ruthless overlord of Teleport City.


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          Rockers, Racing, & Romance

          REDLINE

          redline3This is the sort of movie that might spontaneously spawn during a Guitar Wolf concert. Well, this and Wild Zero of course– an oddly apt film to bring up, as the two films share rather a lot besides leather-clad rocker protagonists. It’s over-the-top, anarchic, and every frame is infused with the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll (if not actual rock ‘n’ roll; Redline‘s soundtrack is more thumping techno oriented). It also has a sweet, doe-eyed love story beneath all the engine revving and hair grease — and if you think that is somehow not in keeping with the tough, leather-clad exterior, you might not know many rockers. They are a sentimental lot at their core. Heck, Elvis wanted to be your teddy bear. And Roy Orbison! That dude was all about crying and being sad and taking advice from candy colored clowns we call the Sandman.

           

          Keith Allison is the ruthless overlord of Teleport City.


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            The Devil and Dikanka

            Yesterday we got our first substantial sky full of snow here in the big city, and though it didn’t stick I figured it was signal enough for me to post a seasonal review. We don’t always review Christmas movies during Christmas time, but when we do they involve a Cossack in a furry hat flying around on the Devil’s back.

            Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka

            eve48The movie opens as all good Christmas movies should: with a scene of a jolly witch tearing across the night sky astride her broomstick, collecting stars for her eldritch brews, while the devil bats the moon around and eventually slips it into his pocket. Meanwhile, a trio of village elders meet up to go get drunk at the local tavern, noticing en route that it’s especially dark that night and that someone seems to have stolen the moon. The devil responds by sending a snowstorm to bury the three revelers, who become separated in the blizzard but in true can-do spirit, two manage never the less to reach the tavern.

            Keith Allison is the ruthless overlord of Teleport City.


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              It left me gnumb

              A Gnome Named GnormThe Stan Winston directed movie A Gnome Named Gnorm is an especially moronic and annoying comedy that’s understandably unknown.

              Keith Bailey is the proprietor of The Unknown Movies Page.


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                Hollywood Nightmare

                MULHOLLAND DRIVE

                feat37Mulholland Drive is my favorite film from one of my favorite directors. It’s a film that rewards the dedicated viewer. First, by confusing them and making one think about what the hell is going on. Later, once you have figured out the structure of the film and what the second half means to the first, there is still so much the film has to offer. It’s culmination of all of David Lynch’s sundry obsessions and themes, a tragic tale of the Hollywood meat grinder as filtered through the lens of nostalgia and affection for that very same meat grinder.

                 

                Keith Allison is the ruthless overlord of Teleport City.


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                  Cheating on the B-Masters for a Rather Different Anniversary

                  Some of you may have noticed that I sort of have a thing for the Cold War.  So does the guy who writes Checkpoint Telstar.  Consequently, I thought of him immediately when I realized it was the 25th anniversary of the revolution in East Germany which signaled the end of that era, and we put together a little bilateral roundtable-like thingy to celebrate:

                   

                  Then I also reviewed a couple movies that don’t fit with the main program:

                   

                  Double Dragon (1994), in which a nominal adaptation of an early chopsocky video game goes in peculiar directions indeed…

                  and…

                  Unknown World (1951), in which a journey to the center of the Earth goes nowhere at all.

                   
                   
                   

                  El Santo rules the wasteland-- and also 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting.


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                    I think I have been here before…

                    B-MENTIA 15

                    2014 is not only the Cabal’s 15th Anniversary. It’s also mine, at Braineater.com. To celebrate my own site’s Anniversary, I’ve decided to review one of my favorite Italian horror films. And for my Roundtable entry, my Anniversary-themed flick, I’m going with the Bollywood remake of that same Italian horror film.

                    Sette Note in NeroFirst up, there’s Lucio Fulci’s 1977 giallo Sette Note in Nero (Seven Notes in Black), also known as The Psychic. Since it’s nominally a mystery, I’ve done two entirely different reviews for this movie: one without spoilers and one with LOTS of spoilers. The first review is ridiculously short, and the second is ridiculously long. You might want to read them both: even though it’s a murder mystery, Sette Note is not the sort of film that loses its interest when you know what’s going to happen in the end.

                    Sette Note in NeroIn any case, I recommend you read at least one of them before proceeding to my Roundtable entry: 100 Days (1991), the Indian version of Fulci’s film.

                    I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in: Bollywood Fulci… with singing and dancing. But don’t get any ideas about a Ziegfeld Zombie or Busby Berkeley’s Beyond. 100 Days is a surprisingly entertaining thriller, in which an anniversary brings with it a cruel twist of fate. Given a choice between the two films, I much prefer original; but then, I am not the target audience for 100 Days. All things considered, this total re-interpretation of Sette Note in Nero is a great example of how to make an authentic local version of a movie without simply going through the motions.

                    (That said, though, you’ll certainly see things in 100 Days you’d never expect to see in a giallo…)

                    100 Days

                    Will Laughlin is the Braineater.


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