Wednesday, November 24, 2021


This is the first of several yakuza pics by Kinji Fukasaku that bridged the ninkyo eiga he seemed to eschew in the '60s with the jitsuroku that put him on the map during the '70s. Since I prefer the former while admiring his trailblazing contributions to the latter, I find these transitional films his most interesting. Originally titled KAISAN SHIKI [DISSOLUTION CEREMONY], it opened in Honolulu on June 5, 1967 as FALLING OUT and was booked a few times at the Toei-owned Linda Lea Theater in downtown L.A. in the early to mid '70s, but has been one of Fukasaku's more sought-after films in recent years. The English-subbed version that turned up on YouTube over the summer carries the title CEREMONY OF DISBANDING.

Kimono-clad Sawaki (Koji Tsuruta) emerges from prison eight years after killing the head of a rival clan over a land dispute to find his group disbanded and all of the chiefs now wearing suits and pretending to be legitimate businessmen. Kubo (Kyosuke Machida), for example, runs a so-called talent agency that gets its clients - naive young women who want to be singers - hooked on junk so they can work off their debts stripping and hooking in Okinawa dive bars. The landfill Sawaki killed for now houses an oil complex and factories that billow pollution into the air, a deal that only benefited his friend Shimumura (Fumio Watanabe), whose construction company is presently at odds with another former yakuza chief, Sakamura (Hosei Komatsu), and a corrupt congressman (Nobuo Kaneko) over a similarly shady land deal. One of the soon-to-be-displaced tenants is Sawaki's ex-wife Mie (Misako Watanabe), who wants nothing to do with him and has kept the existence of their son a secret. Another is Dr. Omachi, who runs a free clinic on the land and once saved Shimamura's life, but is now caught between the two opposing groups.

Into this typically busy plot saunters Sakai (Tetsuro Tamba), another chivalrous sandals-and-kimono man from another era, who's out to settle the score with Sawaki for chopping off his arm during that pivotal raid eight years earlier.

“A showdown?” Sawaki says, genuinely surprised when Sakai tosses a tanto to him along with the challenge. “I haven't heard that word in a long time. I thought all the yakuza had moved on to other jobs. I didn't think there were any left.”

“I guess I'm old-fashioned,” Sakai responds, “unfortunately for you.”

A look of relief passes over Sawaki's face as he prepares to unsheathe the blade. “No – I haven't felt this happy since I got out of jail.”

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Movie Ad of the Week: VICIOUS CONNECTION (1973)

The Toho production HANGYAKU NO HŌSHŪ opened in Honolulu on June 29, 1973 under the title VICIOUS CONNECTION. The Honolulu Advertiser wrote: "VICIOUS CONNECTION, dealing with dope traffic from Vietnam to Tokyo and Okinawa, is the new movie at the Toho Theatre. Tetsuya Watari plays a photographer who uses his camera as a blackmail weapon. He is on the trail of a narcotics smuggler (Mikio Narita) and his beautiful contact (Haruko Wanibuchi). Watari meets a former gangster (Yujiro Ishihara) who is seeking revenge against Narita, his former partner. Watari and Ishihara become allies and hijack the dope shipment. But Narita threatens the life of Haruko, who turns out to be Ishihara's sister, and demands the dope in return for the girl."

Co-billed with ZATOICHI'S CONSPIRACY, it hit the Toho La Brea in Los Angeles on October 20, 1973...
...and the Kokusai in San Francisco on December 26, 1973.
The IMDb lists it as REBELLION REWARD. Anyone know where to get a copy?

Sunday, August 01, 2021

Movie Ad of the Week: THE TOURNAMENT (1973)

For those of you who read my article for the Deuce's Mubi Notebook last week, The Samurai Cinema Slaughter of '74, here's an interesting footnote: Before he made wide release action movies like DEATH MACHINES, WEAPONS OF DEATH and OMEGA COP, filmmaker Paul Kyriazi shot a handful of color 16mm karate/swordplay shorts such as BLADE OF DOOM and TRAPPED that were contemporary remakes of SWORD OF DOOM and THREE OUTLAW SAMURAI.  The last of these was THE TOURNAMENT, an hour-long period samurai movie that Kyriazi filmed in 35mm black-and-white Techniscope with a cast that includes Jennifer Ashley, later seen in THE CENTERFOLD GIRLS, BARN OF THE NAKED DEAD, PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE, INSEMINOID and others. There were screenings, including the four in this ad for the Gemini Cinema in Lompoc, CA in September 1973, before the film was picked up by a non-theatrical distribution company called Threshold Films and converted to 16mm for the college circuit. Only a 3/4-inch copy of THE TOURNAMENT survives today, and it was included as a bonus feature on the Blu-ray release of Kyriazi's NINJA BUSTERS from Garagehouse Films.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Movie Ad of the Week: WALKING THE EDGE and GHOULIES (both 1985)

The first two releases from Charles Band's Empire Pictures opened on the same day (January 18, 1985) on opposite coasts: WALKING THE EDGE in the New York tri-state area and GHOULIES in the Los Angeles area.
And don't forget, WALKING THE EDGE is now available on Blu-ray from Fun City Editions, fully loaded with exciting and informative extras including an audio commentary by Temple of Schlock's Chris Poggiali and KING COHEN producer Matt Verboys!

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Mystery Movies Solved! The Kung Fu Edition Pt. II

In the past year we've identified a number of martial arts movies that played in the U.S. under alternate titles, but the last time we did one of these 10-title Mystery Movie posts was back in 2018. Here's another 10-pack to hold you over until These Fists Break Bricks by Grady Hendrix & Chris Poggiali hits the streets this September!

HUANG SE SHA SHOU (1972) a.k.a. THE YELLOW KILLER and FROM BANGKOK WITH ORDERS TO KILL, was first released in the U.S. by Joseph Green Pictures as KUNG FU-RY. It resurfaced on the action track as MAD DOG DRAGON in 1983.

CHUNG KUO REN (1972) a.k.a. THE CHINESE, was released twice by Howard Mahler Films in the '70s, as THE DRAGON'S VENGEANCE and THE DRAGON'S EXECUTIONER. Unifilm International put it out in the '80s as THE IRON-FIST REBEL, with this poster that recycles photos of Barry Chan from Unifilm's MEAN STREETS OF KUNG FU poster.

GOLDEN RAIDERS OF KUNG FU is another Unifilm release, this one titled BU BU ZHUI ZONG (1974) a.k.a. CHASE STEP BY STEP.

HEI BAO (1973) a.k.a. THE BLACK PANTHER was released in the late '70s by Cinema Shares as BLACK CAT OF KUNG-FU.


DO REN TOU (1975) a.k.a. GAMBLING FOR HEAD, was released as SAVAGE BARBARIAN soon after the box-office and home video success of CONAN THE BARBARIAN.

We're pretty sure BRUCE VS. HIS BLOOD BROTHER is ZHEN JIA GONG FU (1977) a.k.a. THE INSTANT KUNG FU MAN, starring John Liu and Hwang Jang-lee.

YU QING TING (1978) a.k.a. MURDER OF MURDERS, was first released by Ark Films circa 1979 as RETURN OF THE 5 FINGERS OF DEATH. Unifilm International reissued it as JADE-WINGED DRAGON in 1984.

THE SHAOLIN FIGHTERS (1978) a.k.a. PA-CHUN MARTIAL ARTS and THE 7 DISCIPLES OF SHAOLIN, was unleashed to action theaters in 1984 as MAGNIFICENT SEVEN OF KUNG FU.

And finally, since OCTOPUSSY did bang-up bucks at the box-office in the summer of 1983, someone at L&T/Ark thought OCTOFIST would be a good title for the U.S. release of XIE QI BIAN (1982) a.k.a. THE BLOODY MISSION.

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

WALKING THE EDGE now available on Blu-ray from Fun City Editions!

Hey everyone! WALKING THE EDGE is now available on Blu-ray from Fun City Editions, fully loaded with exciting and informative extras including an audio commentary that Temple of Schlock's Chris Poggiali recorded with La-La Land Records' Matt Verboys (producer of the excellent Larry Cohen documentary KING COHEN).

Cult movie icons Robert Forster and Joe Spinell star with Nancy Kwan in this gritty action drama. Jason Walk (Forster), a down on his luck cabbie and numbers runner, has a chance at redemption when he crosses paths with revenge-seeking Christine Holloway (Kwan). She’s after the gang of violent criminals, led by Brusstar (Spinell), who her murdered her husband and son. Jason unwittingly drives Christine to their lair and when she is unable to finish the job, a hellbent Brusstar and his goons hunt the pair with a vengeance.

Jason Walk’s cab prowls the seedier, grimier locales of early ‘80s Los Angeles and picks up passengers—gamblers, prostitutes and addicts—who match this environment. As such, WALKING THE EDGE is both a sleazy urban thriller and a valuable visual record of an L.A. that has long since been scrubbed clean and redeveloped. And like Max Cherry in JACKIE BROWN, Jason Walk is the kind of everyman-turned hero that Forster excelled at playing throughout his career.

WALKING THE EDGE has been restored in 4K from its original camera negative and now makes it worldwide Blu-ray debut.

Directed by: Norbert Meisel
Starring: Robert Forster, Nancy Kwan, Joe Spinell, A Martinez, Aarika Wells, Wayne Woodson, James McIntire, Russ Courtney
1983 / 94 min / 1.85:1 / English Mono

Additional info:
• Region Free Blu-ray
• New 4K restoration from its 35mm original camera negative
• “Scoring the Edge,” a new video interview with composer Jay Chattaway
• “Det. Jurgensen Remembers Forster and Spinell,” a new video interview with “French Connection Cop” Randy Jurgensen
• “Breaking Point,” a new video essay by filmmaker Chris O’Neill
• Theatrical trailer
• Image gallery
• Booklet with a new essay by filmmaker and writer Jim Hemphill
• Newly recorded audio commentary by film historian Chris Poggiali and film producer Matt Verboys
• Archival audio commentary by director Norbert Meisel and stars Robert Forster and Nancy Kwan
• Reversible cover artwork

Sunday, July 04, 2021

Movie Ad of the Week: ESCAPE THE FURY (1982)

WU XING BA QUAN (1977) a.k.a. SECRET OF CHINESE KUNG FU, chopped and kicked its way into two theaters in Fort Myers, FL under the title ESCAPE THE FURY on July 9, 1982. Ark Films was the distributor.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Movie Ad of the Week: OUTLAW FIGHTER (1981)

MENG QUAN LAN HUA SHOU (1979) a.k.a. DREAMING FIST WITH SLENDER HAND, was released to theaters in the U.S. by Unifilm International as OUTLAW FIGHTER beginning in 1981.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Movie Ad of the Week: CRAZY-FIST EXECUTIONER (1981)

WU ZHAO SHENG YOU ZHAO (1979) a.k.a. CRAZY COUPLE, is a kung fu comedy from Hong Kong starring Dean Shek that was released to the U.S. action track by Unifilm International as CRAZY-FIST EXECUTIONER beginning in 1981.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Movie Ad of the Week: KILLING GAME (1981)

LUI XUAN LIANG HUO SHAO HONG LIAN SI (1976) a.k.a. STORY IN TEMPLE RED LILY and BATTLE IN RED TEMPLE, first appeared in U.S. theaters as KILLING GAME from Unifilm International in 1981.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Movie Ad of the Week: RUN RUN, JOE! (1974)

This widescreen Carlo Ponti production, filmed mostly on and around the island of Ischia as JOE AND MARGHERITO, was originally set to star Franco Nero and Peter Fonda in the respective titular roles, but when the chase comedy went before the Todd-AO lenses in late summer 1973, Keith Carradine had replaced Nero and Tom Skerritt was in the Fonda part. The pseudo Cinerama world premiere was held on April 11, 1974 ("Nothing in this Carlo Ponti presentation either requires or exploits the wrap-round presentation" sniffed Russell Davies of the Observer) at the Casino Theater in London, the same venue where the world premiere of a real three-strip Cinerama film, HOW THE WEST WAS WON, was held a dozen years earlier. By the time this two-hour-long Giuseppe Colizzi joint reached the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood on August 28, 1974 the title had been changed to RUN RUN, JOE! Los Angeles Times critic Kevin Thomas wrote, "The only thing that sets [it] apart from all the other mindless celebrations of violence and destruction is that it was shot in Cinerama." The film made only $7,500 at the Dome and was pulled from U.S. release.

Monday, May 17, 2021

The first issue of Wet Paint in 25 years is now available!

Hey everyone! All this week I'm going to be posting about some of the recent projects that have been keeping me busy lately, beginning with the exciting news that Jeff Smith's great fanzine Wet Paint has returned from a 25 year hiatus. That's the new issue on the left in the above photo -- 52 pages with full-color covers by Jeff and Steve Bissette, along with the following cool contents...

Sister Tempest: A Study in Strange by JE Smith

Cine-Soupcon - Weirdfilm Reviews by Stephen R. Bissette

Interview with Screenwriter Gary Crutcher by Chris Poggiali

Exterminating Angel: The First Post-Modern Horror Film? by Greg Goodsell

EXIT - Indie Film Review by JES

Interview with Mel Welles by Dennis Fischer

Split/Vision: Death Game vs. Knock Knock by Tim Ferrante and Scott Voisin

Sam Sherman Book Excerpt presented by Tim Ferrante

Three Times Comes The Grim Reaper by Robert Freese

MovieMania: Random Reviews

Paul Milligan Mini-Portfolio

Secrets of the 4:30 Movie by Tim Ferrante

Vintage Interview with M. Emmett Walsh by Kris Gilpin

The Strange Fate of Luigi Collo by Robert Freese

Oh! What a Night: Meeting Dario Argento & Daria Nicolodi by Tim Ferrante

Previously unpublished artwork by Allen K!

PLUS, the first 99 copies will come with a value-added bonus, a full-color signed print by Jeff, celebrating a classic monster movie.

Order it HERE!

Oh, and that issue on the right in the above photo? That's the last Wet Paint I wrote for, published 30 years ago (May/June/July 1991)!

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Movie Ad of the Week: "Godzilla's Saturday Morning Monster Movies" (1977)

Hey kids! Check this out: The Terrace 1 & 2 in Burlington, NC ran a 10-week Godzilla monster movie fest in the fall of 1977, beginning with GODZILLA VS. THE SMOG MONSTER. "Everyone loves Godzilla, so don't miss any of the action," the ad advises. Admission was only 50 cents for each show, or $2.00 for a "season pass" to all 10 screenings -- and at those prices, management must've figured no one's going to get too upset when they realize Godzilla's only in four of the movies being shown.

Sunday, May 09, 2021

Movie Ad of the Week: MEAN AND BLACK (1975) and MEAN AND BLACK (1979)

MEAN AND BLACK was a title used in 1975 for an action track re-release of GIRLS ARE FOR LOVING, the third 'Ginger' adventure starring Cheri Caffaro. Above and below: Tampa, FL - May 1, 1975.

In this case the title referred to Caffaro's co-star, actor and former pro football player Timothy Brown, but four years later...

...the handle was used again for a re-release of the 1967 spaghetti western LOLA COLT, starring Lola Falana, which had already toured drive-ins and action theaters as BLACK TIGRESS in 1976. Above is a lurid ad from its Shreveport, Louisiana opening on June 1, 1979.
An AGFA print of LOLA COLT sporting the MEAN AND BLACK title was shown at the Alamo Drafthouse Yonkers as part of their monthly Temple of Schlock series on February 28, 2016.

Sunday, May 02, 2021

Movie Ads of the Week: SAMURAI SPY (1965-1999)

Masahiro Shinoda's IBUN SARUTOBI SASUKE (1965), currently showing on the Criterion Channel and still available from the Criterion Collection in their Rebel Samurai DVD box set as SAMURAI SPY, first played the U.S. at the Kabuki Theatre in Los Angeles on October 18, 1965. Four months later...
...on February 23, 1966 it arrived at the Nippon Theatre in Honolulu under the title SARUTOBI THE SECRET AGENT.
Under the SAMURAI SPY title, it played the Park Theatre in Fresno, CA during the weekend of June 30-July 2, 1972.
As the first half of a Shinoda double bill, it closed the second month-long Films of Japan festival at the Nuart in August-September 1972.
UC Berkeley's Pacific Film Archive programmed it as part of a Shinoda film fest in March 1973.
The Kokusai Theatre (formerly the Toho Theatre) in San Francisco ran it in July '73
Under the title SASUKE AGAINST THE WIND it played the Bijou (the former Toho Cinema) in New York on September 5, 1973.
It returned to New York on June 5-6, 1974 as part of the landmark ten-week Cinema East festival at the Regency Theatre.
Here it is paired with Masaki Kobayashi's HARAKIRI at the Park Square Moviehouse in Boston in February 1977...
...and at the Cento Cedar Cinema in San Francisco in September of that year, with Kurosawa's THE HIDDEN FORTRESS as part of the Samurai Festival V.
Back in Boston in December '78, this time at the Coolidge Corner with Kurosawa's IKIRU.
Again with THE HIDDEN FORTRESS, this time at the New Loft in Tucson, AZ in February 1981.
As part of a Shinoda double bill with ASSASSINATION at the Vinegar Hill Theatre in Charlottesville, VA in January '82.
As part of a samurai film fest at the Robson Square Center in Vancouver in August 1982.
The Rialto in South Pasadena screened it with SAMURAI REBELLION as part of their "Movies in Cinemascope" series in September 1987.
On a Shinoda double bill with PALE FLOWER, this time at The Screen in Santa Fe, NM in August 1999.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Movie Ad of the Week: THE BAD AND THE BLOODY (1980)

THE BAD AND THE BLOODY, which Temple of Schlock investigator Mike MacCollum caught at the Skyline Drive-In back in 2015 and identified as DA XIAO TONG CHI / WIN THEM ALL (1973), opened at the St. Francis in San Francisco on January 11, 1980. Lo Lieh is not the star, but he does appear in the second half of this Condor Films double feature, BLACK HORNET, which is BO MING (1977) a.k.a. BATTLE OF SHAOLIN, THE DAMNED, and BANDITS, PROSTITUTES AND SILVER (The title of Xenon Entertainment's video release has been scrubbed from the IMDb, so here's the Worldcat entry: WU TANG HOE'S, THUGS AND SCRILLA).

Sunday, April 04, 2021


Two 60-minute, black-and-white Toei productions -- KAIJU JAKUMA NO MOSHU (a.k.a. STRIKE OF THE JAGUMA) and its sequel, GYAKUSHU AMANO HASHIDATE -- opened on a double bill at the Toyo Theatre in Honolulu on December 22, 1961. Set in 16th century Japan, the films tell the story of the legendary samurai Iwami Jutaro, who is best known in folklore for defeating a white-haired ape-like monster known as the hihi. This confrontation is depicted in the first movie, in which the hihi (someone in a white gorilla suit) runs interference for the dreaded Jakuma and his (its?) band of thieving ninjas in demon masks as they move from village to village ripping off the chiefs and kidnapping their daughters. Good stuff! The sequel, which isn't available, sounds more routine in that it deals with Iwami pursuing the traitors who killed his father, the chief investigator on the Jakuma case. Iwami is played by Kôtarô Satomi, before he really hit his stride in films like 17 NINJA (1963), THE THIRD NINJA (1964), HONOR AMONG BROTHERS 2 (1966), RED PEONY GAMBLER 5 (1969) and the Eiichi Kudo classics 13 ASSASSINS (1963), THE GREAT KILLING (1964), and 11 SAMURAI (1967).