Saturday, December 06, 2008

THE NAKED KILLERS (1978)

It’s too bad that legendary drive-in movie critic Joe Bob Briggs started writing his review column in 1982 and not three years earlier, because he would’ve had a field day with THE NAKED KILLERS, one of the goofiest Euro imports to reach American screens during the late ‘70s. The U.S. one-sheet misleadingly advertised the film as a lurid S&M bloodbath and the distributor, AMS Films, was supposedly “a division of A Major Studio, Inc.” Spanish production was originally (and more appropriately) titled LA ISLA DE LAS VIRGENES ARDIENTES -- ISLAND OF THE WILD VIRGINS -- and I doubt a real major studio would’ve gone near it in 1979. Then again, 20th Century Fox had a knack for wacky acquisitions (Dario Argento’s SUSPIRIA and INFERNO, Annie Bell and Pam Grier in TWILIGHT OF LOVE, the sex change drama THE WOMAN INSIDE) around the same time -- and in the wake of their success with STAR WARS -- so I suppose anything’s possible.

Pic is bizarro from the word go, opening with a five-minute jungle chase and hand-to-hand combat sequence between three scantily-clad Amazonian types on a remote island in the Pacific. Turns out the loin-clothed lasses are castaways from a cruise ship disaster and have been stranded on the island for 20 years with an elderly Japanese fighter pilot who was shot down during World War II and is training them to ward off an Allied invasion. “We have no other arms than what the lords of nature have given to us!” says an old Castilian wearing too much eye liner and speaking in an English-dubbed Japanese accent, “And on the day our enemy sets foot on this island, we will have to fight him with all the skills and dexterity we have learned!” Cut to Paul and Walter, two bumbling opportunists who set sail in Paul's fishing boat with a crew of local criminals to search for the Osaka, a Japanese freighter that sank during World War II and supposedly contained $400 million in gold and silver. Naturally, the booty-filled wreck is only a short raft ride away from la isla de las virgenes ardientes, nicely populated with booty of a different sort.

The type of movie that really should be stumbled upon at 4:30 in the morning rather than sought after, THE NAKED KILLERS is a silly T&A curio with a good amount of intentional humor until the violent third act, when the crew mutinies and invades the island to kill Paul and Walter but instead unleashes the bloody wrath of the wild virgins (the R rating is well earned). And just when you think you've fallen for another bait-and-switch, the bondage graphic used in the American ad campaign actually turns up in the movie. A good flick to throw on at a party, THE NAKED KILLERS has something for everyone. Director M.I. Bonns also made the Paul Naschy werewolf vs. Yeti classic NIGHT OF THE HOWLING BEAST and KILMA, QUEEN OF THE AMAZONS.

The VHS from Something Weird Video, long deleted from their catalog, runs 84 minutes and appears uncut except for some rough patches during reel changes.

1 comment:

filomeno2006 said...

Interviene también ALEJANDRO DEL ENCISO