Join Date: Sep 2005
Re: List Thread-Third Annual Drive-In/Exploitation/B-Movie Challenge Mar 31-Apr 30 20
04-02-2012: Added titles 1-4
04-07-2012: Added titles 5-12
04-10-2012: Added titles 13-17
04-15-2012: Added titles 18-27
04-22-2012: Added titles 28-36
05-01-2012: Added titles 37-51, added reviews
05-03-2012: Added reviews
05-06-2012: Added reviews
: 48 films
THIS YEAR'S PERSONAL GOAL
: 50+ films
All films are DVD format unless otherwise noted.
= first-time viewing
* = wildcard selection
- Branded to Kill (1967) - In 1967, director Seijun Suzuki took what began life as a throwaway gangster movie for Nikkatsu and shaped it into a feverishly delirious tale of the criminal world's third-ranked assassin (played with inflated cheeks by Joe Shishido), lust, ambition and steamed rice. Nikkatsu subsequently fired Suzuki for delivering such a bizarre film to them. Initially panned by both critics and moviegoers, it gradually found a second life over the years with the help of champions like musician/composer John Zorn and indie filmmakers such as Jim Jarmusch and Quentin Tarantino. It is at the very least memorable, and perhaps that is triumph enough for Suzuki.
- Pistol Opera* (2001) - Thirty-four years later, Seijun Suzuki created this follow-up to Branded to Kill and shows that he's as iconoclastic as ever. This time around, the third-ranked killer is a woman known as "Stray Cat" (Makiko Esumi). In her journey to become number one, Stray Cat encounters other assassins with names like "Painless Surgeon" and "Hundred Eyes" and gains a young female fan named Sayako. Suzuki's eye for striking visuals is still as sharp as ever, but an air of inconsequence hangs over the entire film. Pistol Opera isn't so much a sequel as it is an indulgent victory lap by one of Japanese cinema's true maverick filmmakers.
- Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion (1972) - Meiko Kaji plays the titular female prisoner, a woman consumed with getting bloody payback from her former lover (a crooked narcotics detective) after he uses her as a pawn in a yakuza extortion scheme. In terms of content, the film is your standard women-in-prison story. It's the manner in which the content is presented which makes the film distinctive (it must have the most expressionistic shower room catfight I have seen). Even though she's surrounded by danger and degredation inside the prison, Kaji encases her character's dignity inside an impenetrable shell of quiet defiance that explodes into violent anger. The theme song was most recently featured in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill, Vol. 2.
- Female Prisoner #701 Scorpion: Beast Stable (1973) - Meiko Kaji returns in this third installment of the series, which finds Scorpion on the run from the authorities. Scorpion is taken in by a prostitute who's entangled in an incestuous relationship with her brain damaged brother. Scorpion makes an attempt at living a life of normalcy, but a pimp living on the floor beneath her threatens to expose her secret. What follows is a chain of sleazy scenario after sleazy scenario as Scorpion evades the yakuza as well as the police (led by a detective whose arm was hacked off by Scorpion earlier in the film!). As exploitative as the source material seems, a strong feminist streak runs throughout the film in its portrayal of two women on society's fringes struggling to get from underneath the thumb of male oppression.
- Female Prisoner #701 Scorpion: Grudge Song (1973) - Even though the epilogue at the end of the third film intimated that it would be the last, Meiko Kaji plays the Scorpion for the final time under the direction of Yasuharu Hasebe rather than series veteran Shunya Ito. The film's story structure seems to be lifted from Beast Stable, which only magnifies the fact that Grudge Song brings nothing new to the table. I hope Meiko Kaji wasn't paid per word for these films. All her lines probably wouldn't fill a sheet of paper.
- Prison on Fire (1987) - Tony Leung Ka-fai plays Yiu, a man who is sentenced to three years in prison after shoving a young punk into the path of a bus while defending his father. Once inside, a longtime inmate named Ching (Chow Yun-fat) takes the naive Yiu under his wing. Ching plays the role of peacemaker among the rival factions inside the prison, but tensions between the gangs as well as the guards (led by the sadistic "Scarface") all come boiling to a head. After spending the majority of the runtime playing like a throwback to prison films of the '30s, the film takes a violent turn in the climax when even the cool Ching reaches his breaking point. If John Woo's working relationship with Chow Yun-fat is like Hitchcock with Cary Grant, then Chow and Prison on Fire director Ringo Lam are like De Niro and Scorsese.
- Fleshburn (1984) - After a Native American Vietnam War veteran (Sonny Landham) escapes from a mental asylum, he kidnaps the panel of psychologists that had him committed and strands them in the desert. The movie is in actuality a story of wilderness survival and not a slasher film as the promotional artwork may suggest. This story of man against the elements just happens to have a deranged vet taking potshots at the characters. There's an attempt to link the tragedies that befall the doctors with shamanic rituals performed by their captor, but it's not very convincing. Based on a novel by Brian Garfield (Death Wish).
- The Killer Likes Candy (1968) - A humdrum Eurospy film about secret agents in Venice on the trail of an assassin whose target is the king of a fictional Middle Eastern country. The action sequences are playfully done (if sloppy), but there really isn't much else to recommend.
- Carnival of Crime (1962) - A French architect working in Brazil (Jean-Pierre Aumont) falls under suspicion of committing foul play when his frustrated wife goes missing. What might have been a poor Hitchcockian thriller is further marred by footage inserted by Crown International to pad out the running time for television sales.
- Superchick (1973) - Well, I can finally say that I've seen the bare breasts of the Reagans' personal astrologer. That aside, the movie fails as a comedy and as titillating softcore. It's a bore of a film.
- Weekend with the Babysitter (1970) - The story so nice that George E. Carey and Tom Laughlin (directing as Don Henderson) made it twice! A year earlier, the duo made The Babysitter starring Patricia Wymer as Candy Wilson. In Weekend, Candy Wilson is played by Susan Romen. The basic premise of both movies is the same, but there's an attempt on the filmmakers' part to appear as if they have their fingers on the pulse of "today's youth." I get the feeling that teenagers would still have rolled their eyes at Carey learning to smoke weed. Romen's leaden, dead-eyed performance does no favors to young people, either.
- Hustler Squad (1976) - I originally watched this film for the first B-movie challenge and enjoyed it. Ever since then, my fondness for it has grown with each successive viewing. It's a messy film, the actresses are none too convincing as highly-trained assassins, but it's also got a genuine sense of fun that's hard to deny.
- Hard Ticket to Hawaii (1987) - Hard Ticket to Hawaii may not be Andy Sidaris' most polished work. It may not make a lick of sense. However, it is chock full of "WTF" moments that will leave your mouth hanging open in disbelief. I personally believe that Sidaris' ceaseless efforts to confound his audience's expectations in Hard Ticket is explained by the fact he really has no understanding of what the audience expects. It may not be high art, but the film is more entertaining than it has any right to be.
- Savage Beach (1989) - Playmates Dona Speir (March 1984) and Hope Marie Carlton (July 1985) reprise their roles as undercover agents Donna and Taryn, respectively. Fate brings the duo, a Japanese WWII survivor, the US Navy and communist revolutionaries (including notorious April 1986 Playmate Teri Weigel) together on a Pacific island with a cache of gold at stake. Also starring character actor Al Leong. Savage Beach would be Carlton's final appearance in a Sidaris film, and she gets a moment to flex her acting muscle. You've got to give credit to a director that will bring the narrative to a grinding halt in order to show women taking off their clothes or frolicking in the tide at sunset.
- Guns (1990) - Erik Estrada plays Juan Degas, A.K.A., "Joaquin de Diamondes," A.K.A., "The Jack of Diamonds," an international gun smuggler with a score to settle with agent Donna and her new partner Nicole (January 1984 Playmate Roberta Vasquez). As much as I enjoy Hope Marie Carlton's bubbly performances in Sidaris films, I think Vasquez is the stronger actor. The film also has the greatest final shot of any film. Also starring character actors George Kee Cheung and Danny Trejo.
- Do or Die (1991) - Not only does Erik Estrada reappear in Do or Die (this time he's wearing a white hat as an Air Force officer), but the film also stars Pat Morita as a Japanese crime lord. In some ways, the presence of these two fading celebrities in the same Andy Sidaris film marks a high point in his popularity (or his notoriety). There are a number of stylish softcore scenes that I daresay show Sidaris reaching for a level of sophistication unseen in his prior films. Unfortunately, the plot and the performances remain characteristically undercooked.
- Hot Target (1985) - The American wife (Simone Griffeth) of a British businessman (Bryan Marshall) begins a dangerous affair with a mysterious American expatriate (Steve Marachuk) in this Kiwi production. It's a serviceable erotic thriller with effective performances (especially Marachuk), and yet there's really nothing particularly groundbreaking about the story to recommend it. There is an outdoor sex scene intercut with a cricket match, so I guess there's that.
- Blue Money (1972) - A young filmmaker (actor-director Alain Patrick) finds himself dragged deeper and deeper into the world of porno movies. I'm a sucker for films about filmmaking. Rather than primarily concentrate on the sex in front of the camera, Patrick often focuses on what's going on just outside the frame and behind the scenes. Even though the performances are never quite up to par, the film comes off as a proto-Boogie Nights.
- The Young Graduates (1971) - Patricia Wymer plays Mindy, a spoiled young brat who's JUST TURNING 18 as the film opens. We know this, because she doesn't shut up about it for the first 15-20 minutes. Once she becomes of legal age, she embarks on an affair with a teacher from her high school. Fearing that she might be pregnant, she talks her best friend Sandy into joining her on a monomaniacal road trip to Big Sur while they wait for the results. Like Weekend with the Babysitter, The Young Graduates attempts to portray itself as a topical film about "today's youth." However, it's just a dressed-up version of the "juvenile delinquency" film. Except Mindy JUST TURNED 18, legally making her an adult and making her crimes harder to forgive. She owes at the very least an apology to her best friend for getting her drugged and nearly raped by a motorcycle gang.The female characters of the film are just hollow vessels for male sexual desire. At the end of the film, the girls' boyfriends are off to their bright futures while the final shot is a close-up freeze-frame of Mindy's smiling face.
Before they were famous: Bruno Kirby makes his film debut as Sandy's boyfriend
- Boogievision (1977) - Somewhere amid the sophomoric humor in this crappy ripoff of The Groove Tube and The Kentucky Fried Movie is a satire about filmmaking and life in L.A. Unfortunately, the satire is hobbled by absolutely terrible direction, camerawork and sound. The pre-MTV animated interstitials save the viewing experience from being a complete waste of time.
- My Tutor (1983) - A wealthy Yale graduate (Kevin McCarthy) hires a sexy French tutor (Caren Kaye) to ensure that his horny son (Matt Lattanzi) gets into his alma mater. However, his son has other plans and learns a few things about the birds and the bees from the tutor. It's a fairly innocuous film as far as sex comedies go, but it delivers on the skin. Also starring Russ Meyer gal-pal Kitten Natividad and B-movie scream queen Jewel Shepard.
Before they were famous: A blond Crispin Glover as Lattanzi's dorky best friend. Glover gives the most tortured reading of the line, "Mexico!" ever.
- Iron Angel (1964) - A group of soldiers in the Korean War go on a mission to take out an enemy gun emplacement. Along the way, they encounter an ambushed ambulance and nurse. Any drama that could be mined from this boilerplate tale of wartime heroism is drained by momentum-killing flashbacks of the G.I.s enjoying their time away from the frontlines with dancing girls.
- War Hunt* (1962)
- Zeiram (1991)
- Mothra (1961)
- Rebirth of Mothra (1996)
- The Thing with Two Heads (1972)
- Cannonball! (1976)
- Smokey Bites the Dust (1981)
- The Great Texas Dynamite Chase (1976)
- The Crater Lake Monster (1977)
- High Risk (1995)
- In the Line of Duty 4 (1989)
- Death Code: Ninja (1987)
- Ninja: American Warrior (1987)
- Love and Sword (1979)
- The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978)
- Something is Out There (A.K.A., "Day of the Animals") (1977) - Viewed in observance of Earth Day.
- Hot Potato (1976)
- The Big Doll House (1971)
- Women in Cages (1971)
- El Condor (1970)
- Take a Hard Ride (1975)
- Death Rides a Horse (1967)
- Sabata (1969)
- A Pistol for Ringo (1965)
- Hercules Against the Moon Men (1964)
- Hercules and the Captive Women (1961)
- Hercules Unchained (1959)
- The Giant of Marathon (1959)
- Mr. No Legs (1979) - Youtube.
Last edited by nezumi; 05-06-12 at 11:18 PM.