Sunday, December 27, 2020

Movie Ad of the Week: BLACK ON WHITE (1969) a.k.a. THE ARTFUL PENETRATION and BARBARA THE YES GIRL (1970)

Released by Audubon Films with a self-applied X rating, Tinto Brass' pop art stunner NEROSUBIANCO/BLACK ON WHITE had its U.S. premiere in New York City on October 10, 1969. Within a few months the title was changed to THE ARTFUL PENETRATION OF BARBARA, shortened to THE ARTFUL PENETRATION for newspaper advertising.

Sporting the new title and a different advertising campaign, it returned to New York on April 22, 1970 -- with the "y" in psychological missing on the opening day ad.
A week later (May 1, 1970) the film appeared in Chicago as BARBARA THE YES GIRL with a completely different ad campaign.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Movie Ad of the Week: KUNG FU MANIAC (1981)

BAI CU SHI FU KOU CU TOU (1979) a.k.a. THE EAGLE'S KILLER - a Hong Kong production starring Hwang Jang-Lee ("King of the Legfighters") and John Cheung (Chang Wu-liang) - was released to theaters in the U.S. by Unifilm International as KUNG FU MANIAC beginning in 1981.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Movie Ad of the Week: SKIP TRACER (1977-1979)

If you listened to my interview on the podcast Supporting Characters last week, you heard me speaking fondly of Manhattan stores like Record Explosion and Entertainment Outlet, which had bins of cheap used VHS tapes purchased from mom & pop video shops that had gone out of business. One tape you could always find in these places (or in the 60/40's, which were porn shops that had to devote at least 60% of their floorspace to non-porn merchandise or get shut down) was the Academy Home Entertainment release DEADLY BUSINESS, which everyone avoided because of the cheesy cover photo...
...until word got out that it was actually a really good, moody, '70s character piece called SKIP TRACER, and had been the first Canadian film to play the New York Film Festival. The world premiere was at the Varsity Theater in Vancouver on July 22, 1977 during their Festival of International Films.
The film returned to the Varsity for another "world premiere" on March 28, 1978...
...before playing the New York Film Festival and landing a deal for distribution in the States.
Of all the low-budget indie distributors of the '70s, it was N.W. Russo -- whose G.G. Communications was mostly known for stateside releases of European exploitation (ONE ON TOP OF THE OTHER, A HATCHET FOR A HONEYMOON, FIND A PLACE TO DIE) and kid pics (PIPPI LONGSTOCKING, DUNDERKLUMPEN, ONCE UPON A TIME) -- who saw this downbeat, moody character piece and thought it would be a good tax shelter his golden ticket into the arthouse scene. Apart from its month-long U.S. premiere run at the Orson Welles Cinema in Boston in January-Feburary '79, SKIP TRACER doesn't seem to have gotten much of a release through Russo. The next stop was Cinemax in 1980, followed by Academy Home Entertainment's video release in 1986 (under the title DEADLY BUSINESS) and showings on the USA Network in '87 and '88. Sightings outside of Canada since the early '90s, such as a festival of Canadian tax shelter films at the Anthology Film Archives in 2015, have been few and far between -- except for Youtube.

Sunday, December 06, 2020

Movie Ad of the Week: HE KILLS WITHOUT WARNING (1981)

The Taiwanese production DA YING WANG (1978), a.k.a. THE EAGLE KING and starring Hua Tsung, was released to theaters in the U.S. beginning in 1981 as HE KILLS WITHOUT WARNING by Unifilm International.

Friday, December 04, 2020

Don't miss Chris P's first podcast appearance!

Last month Bill Ackerman of the great Supporting Characters podcast interviewed Po Man about his "many endeavors in film culture, from co-creating the Temple Of Schlock fanzine and founding the long-running blog of the same name, to contributing to various magazines and video releases, distributing BLACK SAMURAI and working on books with Grady Hendrix, Michael Gingold and Sam Sherman. Topics include: Jack Starrett, the impact of crack on 42nd Street theatres, Steve Puchalski’s Slimetime and horror fanzines, The Journal of Interstitial Cinema, William Smith, blogathons, Paul Talbot, lost and endangered films, the link between THE GREEN HORNET and WANDA, bootlegs, THAT’S HOLLYWOOD, screenwriting for William Grefé, identifying PETS with Vinegar Syndrome and how interviews can become derailed by criminal confessions." Check it out HERE!

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Movie Ad of the Week: CALLIOPE (1971) a.k.a. LOVE IS CATCHING (1972)

World Premiere - Wednesday, November 17, 1971 - Los Angeles, CA

After its release in Los Angeles through Allied Artists, CALLIOPE -- Matt Cimber's goofy take-off of La Ronde -- emerged a year later with a new title and ad campaign...
...opening in Pittsburgh on December 13, 1972 as LOVE IS CATCHING. Case File #107 on our Endangered List, this was one of the four AGFA prints we ran as part of the Endangered Fest II in conjunction with the Austin Film Society at the Marchesa on February 20, 2015.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Movie Ad of the Week: SHOGUN DRAGON (1981)

Shortly after the TV miniseries SHOGUN grabbed the highest weekly Nielsen ratings in NBC's history in September 1980, the Taiwanese production LIU XING FEI YING (1980), a.k.a. THE ROVING HEROES and BUDDHA'S PALM AND DRAGON FIST, was released to U.S. screens by Unifilm International as SHOGUN DRAGON.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Movie Ad of the Week: DAGGER DOLLS plus DRACULA'S BLOODY REVENGE (1999)

Whatever movies DAGGER DOLLS and DRACULA'S BLOODY REVENGE are, they were showing on video projection in the main auditorium of the notorious Fair Cinema in Queens the week of March 28 to April 1, 1999.

Sunday, November 08, 2020

Movie Ads of the Week: SPINN'IN WHEELS and FREEWHEELIN' (both 1976)

FREEWHEELIN', from Irwin Yablans' short-lived Turtle Releasing Corp., opened in Tallahassee, FL on September 17, 1976 and has been touted by some as the first feature film about skateboarding. However...
...SPINN'IN WHEELS, by 22-year-old, two time U.S. surfing champ Chris Carmichael, beat it to theaters by several months. Above is an ad for its matinee shows in Fort Collins, CO during the weekend of May 21, 1976.

Sunday, November 01, 2020

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Movie Ads of the Week: Budd Boetticher in '72

Budd Boetticher's last two films, both shot several years earlier, finally saw the light of projectors in 1972 (albeit in limited release). ARRUZA, his problem-plagued, decade-in-the-making documentary about bullfighter Carlos Arruza, arrived in Los Angeles on May 24, 1972 -- six years after Arruza died in an automobile accident.

Two months later, A TIME FOR DYING -- the director's last feature, and also Audie Murphy's final film -- showed up at one Staunton, VA drive-in on a double feature with the concert film BLUEGRASS COUNTRY SOUL on July 26, 1972. This playdate was three years after the film was made and over a year after Murphy perished in a plane crash.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The Endangered List (Case File #168)



Muga Takewaki
Jiro Tamiya
Hideki Takahashi
Tetsuya Watari
Yoshiko Kayama
Mitsuko Baisho
Hisaya Morishige
Junzaburo Ban

Tai Kato

Tai Kato
Haruhiko Nomura
Yoshitaro Nomura

Based on the novel
Shiro Ozaki

Produced by
Yoshiji Mishima
Yoshitaro Nomura

Cinematography by
Keiji Maruyama

Music by
Hajime Kaburagi

Running time: 167 minutes

A Shochiku production

Honolulu premiere: November 1, 1972
New York premiere: May 12, 1974

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Movie Ad of the Week: QUEEN OF FIST and FIST ON THE WATERFRONT (both 1973)

The Taiwanese kung fu film SHAN DONG LAO NIANG (1973) opened in San Francisco as QUEEN OF FIST on October 24, 1973. The distributor, Pacific Grove Films, sold the film to Crown International Pictures...
...which released it nationally with a new ad campaign under the title KUNG FU MAMA beginning in April 1974.
Pacific Grove followed it with another Taiwanese martial arts movie, HUANG PU TAN TOU (1972), which hit the Golden Gate Theater in San Francisco as FIST ON THE WATERFRONT on December 12, 1973. Within a few months, Pacific Grove changed the title... SHANGHAI CONNECTION, and found national distribution for this film and three others -- BRUCE LEE AND I (a.k.a. FIST OF UNICORN), KUNG FU - THE BROTHERS and KUNG FU MASTER, BRUCE LEE STYLE -- through Goldstone Film Enterprises.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Mystery Movie Solved! HOUSE OF SHAME (1979)

A decade ago we posted a Mystery Movie entry about the "Double Dose" combo of "two smash shockers," both of which were mysteries to us, and six years later we learned that GIRLS IN BONDAGE, the latter half of the combo, was another retitling of THE CULT. It took another four years but we now have the first movie ID'd thanks to our friend Don Zessin, who recently screened one reel of HOUSE OF SHAME and then called us to report that it's DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS! This is great news -- and not surprising, since DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS and THE CULT (a.k.a. THE LOVE CULT) were both originally released by Maron Films Ltd. and were even booked together in some situations, like this playdate at the Rochester Drive-In in Rochester, NY on November 3, 1971...

Thanks again, Don! Hopefully we'll meet up next summer for one of those great Drive-Insanity screenings at the Skyline Drive-In.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Movie Ad of the Week: THE STUDENT BODY (1976) a.k.a. VALIUM HIGH (1978), WET & WILD (1981), and CLASSROOM TEASERS (1981)

There was an uncut Planet Video cassette of THE STUDENT BODY in the Temple library for many years -- a plastic clamshell case with a pink paper insert (looked kinda pretty) -- so we were never exposed to the shortened version that Continental Video released on a double feature tape with JAILBAIT BABYSITTER a couple of years later. Unfortunately, that shorter cut became the standard until Code Red's double feature JOCKS/CLASSROOM TEASERS disc came along three decades later and restored seven or eight minutes of running time to this interesting drive-in drama, which was filmed in Kansas City in 12 days for under $250,000 and peddled on the exploitation circuit as a wacky sex comedy. One thing about it that always stood out, at least to us, is a nicely executed long take during a pool party scene about 15 minutes into the film, which resembles the long take in TOUCH OF EVIL during the search of Sanchez's apartment (no doubt thanks to cinematographer Gary Graver and the influence of his mentor, Orson Welles). Above is the ad for its Miami opening on April 23, 1976.

The distributor, Surrogate Releasing, began life as Centaur Releasing, launched in June 1973 by Irvin Dorfman in New York and Frank Moreno in Los Angeles to release INVASION OF THE BEE GIRLS. The two had been indicted earlier in the year on obscenity charges involving the motion pictures TEEN-AGE FANTASIES and LITTLE SISTERS, both released by Dorfman through his Unique Film Distributors, Inc. Centaur followed INVASION OF THE BEE GIRLS with TEACH ME, BLOOD ON THE SUN, THE SWINGING CHEERLEADERS, THE GIRLS WHO DO, THE MAN WHO WOULD NOT DIE, and SWITCHBLADE SISTERS, and then changed its name to Dandrea Releasing to avoid confusion with Peter Traynor's Centaur Films, which was being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. By the time THE STUDENT BODY was released in March 1976, the company's name had changed again, to Surrogate Releasing, though they did retain the Greek mythological creature as their logo. The above ad is from Philadelphia on September 15, 1976.

Apparently the film was sub-licensed to Empire Releasing, which changed the title to VALIUM HIGH for a reissue in 1978. Empire was a short-lived distribution outfit based in New York and run by Walter H. Durell, formerly the division manager of Allied Artists in Kansas City and the national sales manager of Film Ventures International. Other Empire releases include SUPERVAN and JAILBAIT BABYSITTER. The above ad is from Miami on June 30, 1978.

The VALIUM HIGH ad campaign was recycled by Empire a few months later for...
...SUBSTITUTE TEACHER, the U.S. release of the Italian sex comedy LA SUPPLENTE (1975) starring Carmen Villani and Dayle Haddon.
We were unaware that WET & WILD! was another alternate title until Temple contributor Mike MacCollum brought the ad above to our attention. CJ Ruff Film Distributing, which handled sub-distribution for New World, Centaur/Surrogate and other companies, opened this triple bill in Indianapolis on May 29, 1981.

Motion Picture Marketing (MPM) also had the film in circulation in 1981, under the title CLASSROOM TEASERS, with model Patty Kotero (later known as Apollonia in PURPLE RAIN) front and center in the advertising. The ad above is from Bismarck, ND on June 4, 1981.

Sunday, October 04, 2020

Movie Ad of the Week: Hideki Takahashi on stage

Nikkatsu contract actor Hideki Takahashi, star of the studio's popular Crest of a Man series, made guest appearances at the Nikkatsu Theatre in Honolulu during the weekend of April 1-3, 1966 to celebrate the venue's one year anniversary as well as to promote his latest action film, CHICHIBÛ SUI KODEN-HISSATSU KEN (a.k.a. LIVING FOR THE SWORD, KILLER SWORD, SAGA FROM CHICHIBU MOUNTAINS: ASSASSIN'S SWORD), which was opening under the questionable English translated title KEN...THE SWORD.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Movie Ad of the Week: THE DIRT GANG (1972) a.k.a. FAT MOMMA (1973)

The ad above is from the December 1, 1972 opening of THE DIRT GANG in El Paso, TX. Below...
...the same film's release in Boston as FAT MOMMA on March 21, 1973.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

The Endangered List (Case File #167 )


Chuck McNeil (Johnny Ace)
Kathi Carey (Camile Giovanni)
Linda Miller (Carrie Washington)
Lance Calloway (Jelordie)
Teddy Carey (Sylvia)

Israel Hicks
Nat Moore
Michael Lewis
Don Ingraham
Robert Armstrong

Written and Produced
Chuck McNeil

Chuck McNeil

Executiver Producer
Kenneth Carey

Music by
Kathleen Carey

Released by
Aricorn International Pictures

The first of at least four Johnny Ace adventures that were supposedly made by African-American writer-producer-director-star Chuck McNeil, DRAGONSPADE is the only one that we know for sure was actually completed and released to a few theaters. The other three were TOOT (1978), SOUTH SIDE STRUT (1979), and DRAGON FROM THE EAST (1982), but McNeil also claimed to have made films with titles like ICE CREAM CHARLIE (1974), DISCO-DYNOMITE, and ANGEL DUST, DEVIL DRUGS. Here is footage from one of the Johnny Ace movies, probably DRAGONSPADE.
(Above): Shreveport, Louisiana - December 2, 1977

(Above): November 25, 1977 - Palace Theater - McComb, Mississippi. Here we have a pressbook ad for THE DRAGON STRIKES AGAIN (a.k.a. SHANGHAI JOE) standing in for DRAGONSPADE, and artwork of Gladys Knight and Barry Hankerson from PIPE DREAMS being used to sell a misspelled GET DOWN AND BOOGIE (a.k.a. DARKTOWN STRUTTERS).
(Above): Jackson, Mississippi - September 9, 1977

(Above): Kingston, Jamaica - 1980

In 1981, McNeil began work on DRAGON FROM THE EAST, a martial arts movie that would team his Johnny Ace character with a kung fu expert named Bruce (played by Nguyen Ly a.k.a. Jimbo Lee, but billed here as "Bruce Li"). According to the following article - from the September 1982 issue of Martial Arts Movies magazine (vol. 2, no. 8) - DRAGON FROM THE EAST was completed, but we could find no evidence that it was ever released. However, additional footage was apparently shot in the 1990s and added to DRAGON FROM THE EAST to create a 1996 movie called DRAGONS STRIKE BACK, which may or may not have been released somewhere on home video.
(Above): August 21, 1974 - No mention of footage being shown

(Above/Below): A scam in Miami that involved McNeil in 1980.

The Miami News - August 27, 1980

The Palm Beach Post - October 21, 1980