Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cannon coulda-beens from 1980

The following movie projects were announced by the newly revamped Cannon Films in October of 1980.

THE DOROTHY DANDRIDGE STORY was going to be a musical biopic directed by Michael Schultz (because his SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEART’S CLUB BAND two years earlier had turned out soooo well) with music by John Barry and lyrics by Carol Connors, to be produced by Leon Isaac Kennedy and starring his then-wife Jayne Kennedy.

Speaking of the Kennedys, their Cannon-backed 1981 remake of BODY AND SOUL was originally going to be helmed by busy actor-director Georg Stanford Brown, but George Bowers (in between Crown International films) ended up directing it instead.

Brian Garfield’s Death Sentence, the continuing story of CPA-turned-vigilante Paul Benjamin, was published in 1975 as a response to the controversial film adaptation of Death Wish, the first novel about Benjamin's exploits. To find out how this project very quickly lost Garfield’s approval and ultimately morphed into DEATH WISH II, pick up a copy of Paul Talbot’s excellent book Bronson’s Loose!: The Making of the Death Wish Films (iUniverse, 2006).

Following in the footsteps of Chuck Norris (GOOD GUYS WEAR BLACK), Joe Lewis (JAGUAR LIVES) and James Ryan (KILL OR BE KILED), undefeated karate champ Mike Stone wrote a screenplay titled Dance of Death that was designed to showcase his skills and hopefully launch his career as an action star. After purchasing his script and assuring him that he would be the star, producers Golan and Globus fired everyone -- the director, the crew, the cast (Stone included) -- brought in new screenwriters and gave the lead role to Franco Nero. Stone was rehired, but as the fight coordinator and also to double Nero for the action scenes. The resulting film was a hit that helped launch Sho Kosugi’s career as an action star.

We know nothing about this black-themed horror film from the writer of FIVE ON THE BLACK HAND SIDE and BLACK BELT JONES (Oscar Williams) and the director of COOLEY HIGH and CAR WASH (Michael Schultz again), except that it was never made.

Emmett Alston made NEW YEAR’S EVIL for Cannon instead of this slasher movie starring Wayne Newton!

Optical effects master Zoran Perisic, who had just won an Oscar for his groundbreaking work on SUPERMAN, was supposed to make his directorial debut with this big-screen adaptation of Colin Wilson's novel. It eventually became LIFEFORCE (1985), directed by Tobe Hooper from a screenplay co-written by Dan O'Bannon.

X-RAY is better known as HOSPITAL MASSACRE (1982). Boaz Davidson filled in for Emmett Alston as director and Barbi Benton replaced Jill St. John as the star.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Obscure shorts from John Wayne Productions

We knew that filmmaker Sid Davis had been a stand-in for John Wayne for over a decade before he talked the Duke into bankrolling the first of his many social guidance shorts, THE DANGEROUS STRANGER (1950) - "A molestation exposé" - but we had no idea that Wayne was also behind Davis' demented Christmas howler SANTA AND THE FAIRY SNOW QUEEN (1951) and a handful of really obscure, most likely religious one-reelers until we came across this ad from the early 1950s. Because of the misinformation that has been disseminated by the Wayne estate in the past 20 years regarding the original 3-D release of HONDO, we're not surprised that a handful of micro-budgeted shorts have been ignored for 60 years and allowed to vanish into thin air. Anyone know more about TREASURE IN HEAVEN, THY FAITH HATH SERVED THEE, WHITHER THOU GOEST or LIGHT UNTO ALL? To be honest, they don't sound like our cup of meat, but the Wayne connection piqued our interest.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

One-Sheet of the Week: THE CARS THAT EAT PEOPLE (1976)


U.S. release in 1976 as THE CARS THAT EAT PEOPLE

Re-released as CAR WARS in 1977 and '78

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Endangered List (Case File #80)


Xabier Elorriaga
Marina Langner
Christa Leem
Ricardo Masip
Lorenzo Santamaría

Directed by
Leopoldo Pomés

Written by
Román Gubern
Leopoldo Pomés
Óscar Tusquets

Cinematography by
Juan Suriñach

Music by
Ricard Miralles

Edited by
Raúl Román
Ana Stefani

MPAA rating: R
A Group 1 Films release

This Spanish production was released stateside by Group 1 Films simultaneously as ANDREA and SEX & VIOLENCE in 1979/1980. It opened in the New York City area (from another distributor, as SEX & VIOLENCE) in 1983.

SEX AND VIOLENCE is a 1977 import from the now defunct Group 1 Pictures, a company specializing in foreign stuff with an S&M bent (THE DEPRAVED, LIVING NIGHTMARE). Almi, I think, is handling it – as you can see, the distributor is embarrassed to put their name on the ad. The movie is imitative of Radley Metzger’s slow, pictorial style and would have fit in well with Audubon Film’s acquisitions like SEXUS. A wealthy man fetishizes his wife, saving photo collections of her and placing things in a sadistic context. She treats him somewhat mistress/slave. They go on a boat outing complete with caviar and champagne on the Med. A loud couple they invite on board proves to be more trouble than they bargained for. He gets tied up and she bullied. In one startling shot, the female aggressor reveals herself to be a drag queen. The other is a hustler/drag queen lover/destructive type. Our heroine is subjected to mild rough stuff, including groveling in crawfish. Her verbal humiliation revolves around the supposed inferiority of real women to drag queens. The torture ends with the protagonist forced to give his beloved a golden shower. A hackneyed trick ending reveals him to have hired the couple, and so on. SEX AND VIOLENCE is a groundbreaking movie in one respect. The sacred fetish of drag queen love is onscreen in a dominance melodrama. The revelatory scene, with the bikini top still on and the bottoms pulled down to show the cock, is a classic. Graphic as it is, SEX AND VIOLENCE is not as consistently shocking or extreme as Metzger’s S&M oriented THE IMAGE (a.k.a. THE PUNISHMENT OF ANNE on video). Like Metzger’s films, it deals with puppets rather than humans. Not up to its overambitious title, SEX AND VIOLENCE is still very entertaining and worthy of some notoriety. -- (Sleazoid Express, Vol.3, No.7)

Like POSSESSION, SEX AND VIOLENCE is another curious and compelling exploitation oddity. Originally released in the west coast in late 1979 under the title of ANDREA, SEX is an almost undetectable Italian import concerning the life of a wealthy perfume magnate and his bored yet beautiful wife. Trying to rekindle their romance with a weekend of idyllic Mediterranean yachting, the couple is soon invaded by an ill-mannered American rowdy and his tight-lipped “Norwegian” girlfriend. Midway through the flick, the girl is revealed to be a transvestite who spends the rest of the film’s short 81 minutes torturing, humiliating and beating the rich wife in front of her manacled husband. Not much in the way of bloodletting here, but fans of LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT-style degradation will have a field day as the snobby wife is slapped, burned, cut, forced to eat lobster guts and eventually pissed on by her own spouse. The action is further embellished by classic dubbed lines from the gay torturers (ie. “I hate tits, they are revolting,” etc.) that will keep the truly depraved howling throughout. A twist multi-ending reveals director Leopold Pomes’ sense of parody about his project, but it may serve to turn off fanatic violence mongers who are serious about the tone of these films. SEX AND VIOLENCE can easily vy with the aforementioned POSSESSION for the dubious honor of being the weirdest film release of the year. Be sure to catch this one! -- (The Gore Gazette, No. 62)

SEX AND VIOLENCE, which played at 42nd Street’s Selwyn Theater a while back, is the strangest and kinkiest film to come along in ages. The copyright date on this depraved curio is 1979 (looks older) and the distributor listed on the print is Group 1. A filthy rich couple is off on a leisurely vacation aboard their football-field sized yacht. The husband is a wimpy voyeur who gets off by spying on his wife as she lolls around on deck. In case she moves out of view, he keeps a photo collection on hand. They invite an obnoxious couple (a loud man and his silent girlfriend) on board to share good times, but when they start acting too crazy, they’re asked to leave. That’s when the trouble/fun starts. The invited couple ties up the husband and spend the rest of the film torturing/humiliating the wife. About the female member of the sadists, one particularly vocal Selwyn patron yelled, “That’s the ugliest looking broad I’ve ever seen! It looks like a man!” The audience roared. When that character actually revealed himself to be a man (guess how) the audience really went berserk and didn’t quiet down for quite some time. The audience was also thrown into hysterics over how the two guys continually groped each other and how they criticized the wife’s wardrobe. They also whip her, spit on her food, force her to eat regurgitated food and eat food off the floor. In the ultimate gross-out they force the husband to piss on his wife’s face while threatening to make like she was an ashtray. In an inspired finale, an off-screen voice tells us to remain in our seats and then we’re treated to three different possible endings, all dealing with the wife’s revenge. A film like this can go either way – serious or camp, and damned if I know which this one is. The audience didn’t really kick in until almost half of the film was over. There’s a constant nervous tension that even your average 42nd Street patron didn’t know how to deal with. The unrelenting sadism is unpleasant, to be sure, but it’s also fascinating to watch. That may sound sick but I doubt if anyone reading this would walk out on SEX AND VIOLENCE. It’s sick, but it’s excessively so, and anything excessive is usually not serious. (See PIECES, Vol.2, No.13) Plus, if it can hold the attention and shock, something interesting is usually going on. Some bad dubbing, and the three different endings make it weird and almost funny. I said almost. When a line is audible (the dubbing is that bad) and it makes no sense (“The Robinsons won’t be coming, somebody killed their pet monkey.”) you’ll scream with laughter. This film is totally out of it – it could be taking place in another dimension. Make up your own mind about this one. Whatever the case, it was held over for two weeks at the Selwyn. The original title was ANDREA and stills on display outside the theater still had that tag. It may be Spanish or Italian, I’m not sure which. Directed by Leopold Pomes. Feminists will have a field day ripping this one apart and they just might have a case. -- (Confessions of a Trash Fiend, Vol.2, No.22)

For more information on ENSALADA BAUDELAIRE, check out Psychotronic Kult Video.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


We haven't been able to find much info on this kiddie flick, although we're pretty sure it's live-action and may have been shot in 1971 under the title THE RARE BLUE APES OF CANNIBAL ISLE (the ad above is from February 1975). If anyone knows more about this one, please drop us a line.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

One-Sheet of the Week: MAGNIFICENT BODYGUARD (1982)


U.S. release in 1982 as MAGNIFICENT BODYGUARD


Friday, August 20, 2010

The Endangered List (Case File #79)


The last legal barrier to show ECSTASY ’72 in theatres in the United States is down. We shall continue to defend your right to see it!


We believe war, atrocities, starvation, overpopulation and killing
are obscene, and the act of love is not.



Trans-American Films

United Producers

MPAA rating: X
Running time: 98 minutes


Partially shot in Optovision 3D
(Dual-16mm single-strip/side by side, 35mm blowup, 1.37:1)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Double Quick Lerner Review

A Double Quick Lerner Review of

A Keeper In Space AND Crime,
As(teroid) In Capsule Ate It
by Don K. Barbecue

Wayback when, in another decade, another century, indeed another millenium, the fine folks at Ace Books published paperback sky-fi paperback originals which sometimes creature featured one of those covers with usually green Bug-Eyed monsters, often with Big-Thighed Earth(y) Women In Metal Maidenforms on the upside-down udder, I SAID other side. You know, to hopefully grab non-sky-fi readers and perhaps an audience with tastes that were, um, bra’ed her.

Yes, you read that right: the even more fun thing about these books was that one side of the book was side up, the other side down. Just my luck, the first such Ace in space Double I ever had was given to me as a Christmas gift by an aunt I suddenly suspected as being rather FLIPpy.

Book was beyond Terra-riffic! With a single package you got not one but two books for the price of Thrilling Wonder! And oh the fun we kids had with the art of some of those Double starlit starlet’s Double D.’s, even though such Venuses simply had to be millions and millions of space Milos away.

Of course it wasn’t all fun and Ganymedes. Especially if we got caught reading our Ace Doubles and Gramps’ old pulp sky-fi mags out in the barn while getting big bug-eyed beetles juiced.

Worse still was what happened to Gramps the one time he forgot himself and started explaining to me how much he loved sky-fi mag covers with, I think he meant to say, “Rocketships, moonmen and big bugs,” only what came out of his mouth was “Rocketships, moonmen and big JUGS.” At which point Grandma came storming into the barn and gave him a whonk on the ole haid with an empty milk pail, the whole time threatening to next time he did such a thing give him “such a clout to the what passes for your brain with the sauerkraut stomper that you’ll land on Uranus!”

Nor was it fun whenever Ace cut corners and chopped one book’s tale in half to fit the second book. As I recall even the mighty Philip K. had quite a story to tell over what happened to a “Double” of his which wound up in such trouble. Of course, we all know that in this enlightened age no editor would even think of being so Dicky.

More good news? The high-flying in far flung space folks at Wildside Press, who, by the way, publish the modern, ever tombly incarnation of WEIRD TALES quite love craftily, have released Edward M. Lerner’s COUNTDOWN TO ARMEGEDDON as backed by A STRANGER IN PARADISE, a collection of shorts, complete with the old Ace style of turn-it-over-already! story-telling. Which means older & young sky-fi fans can return to the thrilling Reys of Lester, I SAID daze of yesteryear, hence doubling their pleasure AND doubling their stunguns.

So, let’s cancel words of gravity, see what turns up:

A STRANGER contains five stories of sky-fi, fantasy and horror, hair witch --

There’s but one story I didn’t enjoy. There’s so little action and so much yakkin’ I don’t think even Austin Powers’ Basil Exposition could save it, the tech talk so nanobytes. But hey, one story out of five not working doesn’t a complete clunker cosmic make. So, let’s take another Ian’s Q. and tachyon end this.

“Night of the RFIDs” is a hoot. Student age feller working in a used down South bookstore runs afoul of Homeland SB. He calls it Homeland BS. Anyone who has ever stood in too many modern “convenience” store lines will laugh through this story ‘till they’re Wally-eyed. Discount on it. Sure the title sounds a wee bit like DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS, but I’d bet Mr. Lerner planted that way… the way he knows how to take such stories and Wyndham up.

“A Stranger In Paradise” has a bittersweet touch of Sturgeon to it. Least that’s my Theo-ry. I dare anyone warm-blooded body to read it and walk away thinking they’ve simply watched an episode of LUST IN SPACE, or feel like they’ve STARLOST out.

“Two Kinds Of People” deals with a fantasy writer caught in the throes of creative draught, going through those times the words won’t come easy to the creative typist, no matter how much he drinks, Bud, or what he’s smoking and taking a Tokey On. If you ever read Asimov’s “Author, Author!” and miss the feeling, “Kinds Of People” should fix ya copywrite up! Trust me on this, I’m telling everyone up and down my loco writer’s Bloch.

“Better the Devil You Know” deals with garbage in, garbage out. Seriously, put your pants back on. No wait, that’s layed her … he said, talkin’ trash.

Okay, start again. “Devil” is one funny story, that’s Lucifer sure! Reminds me of old school UNKNOWN style, wherein devils made similar pitches and delighted in speaking in forked tongs, as in Fredric Brown’s “Armegeddon.” And hey, it’s time Ah’m a-getting’ on my own self, gotta turn this review copy newfangled e-book upside down.

Lessee, gonna make like this thing’s a flip book, let’s Ace it! Here goes,
e-book in, now I turn the ‘pooter upside down, hang it up about … there! Okay, got it, I THUNK! Whuh thuh? I wanted to say “think,” wound up with a thunk, the HAL.

Hokay, maybe you should, dear reader, take time and space out while I find a bigger, strong dot net. Alright, I’m ready now. Turns out I had a bigger ‘pooter over in that dust FORBIN.

Mr. Lerner, known for collaborating with nifty Larry Niven, has also written two other techno thrillers. If they’re anything like COUNTDOWN I could read more by the Crichton and never feel any strain. A better 21st Century terrorists engaged in time travel story ya couldn’t possibly find, unless maybe Mickey Spillane came back and a sky-fi, Mike Danger version of THE GOLIATH BONE he’d with Max Allan Collins Hammer out. Get a lethal load of this plot and go figure for a better pot-Hezbollah.

Modern times. A hell-bent Hezbollah type gets his hands on a method to terror tear through time and settle things his way once and for Allah. Guy means to deal with the infidels of both here, hereafter and now. “How?” you “Damn!” ask us. Well, there’s this battle the Christians, let’s be Frank, had de Gaul to win over the Moslems, wayback when in the 7 hundreds. Done deal, right? Yeah, unless this master villain time travels backthen with modern, set-to-blow nuke capability in hopes of changing the course of that battle, making him the most dangerous antagonist a history buff would ever want to Metz.

Enter Harry, our young hero, a geeky type of considerable charm, more than willing when asked by Terrence, his soon to be accomplice from Interpol, to prove he’s yupp for it. Now … and then … if only they can stop our future-destroying fiend in, ahem, time. If not, I guess they jest gotta dog it and call Peabody for Sher, man!

Now, thing of it is, you’d think reading my synopsis this is all like, say, a sky-fi version of a DIE HARD sequel. You know, our hero comes true despite however much the vile villain whupped him around and gave him such a Bruce’n. Uh huh. Our villain has strong motivation, personal, emotional, all too human. Trust me, I wouldn’t Leila to ya. Not after my experiencing COUNTDOWN’s sting in its tale as Lerner moves hit her and Lebanon.

Not to say any of the battles in the past are Tom Clancy die-dactic. Personally, I felt reading this novel like a counted down kid again, reading Harold Lamb working his genius on a certain Genghis, if you Khan dig it. War is, all ways, horror heaped upon helpless humanity, no matter the time, the century, the desperate very last second of life one tries to carn-age past and through. Lerner’s grip on his story’s history couldn’t be any terrorist firmer, plus there’s an abundant amount of well, sorry, timed hysterical and good-natured humor. As in, I SAID ass end, the immortal words to live by and with them save the world as we now know it from destruction, thereby. I mean, there-butt:


In other words, this book gave me a real Gramps’ style belt! So, if Lerner ever has Harry return for another adventure, I’m in the loop. Because time travel or not, I figure he’ll handle things cagily, I mean, H. G.’ly. And when the story’s all said and done, things will have turned out Wells. In Other Worlds words, read this book, cheer the heroes and boo hiss the villains. Because this far into the new millenium there hasn’t been a single straight sky-fi novel that’s with anywhere near as much adventurous drive and evil time machinations Bin Laden!

Now if only Mr. Lerner teams up for the next Harry adventure with, say, Max Allan Collins to BONE up a book combining Harry and Mike Hammer. Then we’ll really see sky-fi thriller bloodspill layin’ around. And hey, get our man Stacey on the hunt for Bin Laden, for sure he’ll Keach him!