With an assist from Bruce Holecheck, I’m glad to bring everyone a list of the top eurotrash films from Barrel Entertainment’s John Szpunar. Barrel has released some amazing discs over the years (the Darkness deluxe disc has to be one of the most complete packages ever produced on the format)… You can learn more about their swag at the Barrel Entertainment Website. This is an interesting list, there is one VERY great trash title that totally slipped my mind. How that happened I’ll never know, but that is what the lists are for!! Take it away John…
Off the top of my head, and in no particular order:
Cannibal Holocaust – Well, OK. This one will always be number one. First saw this many years ago on a bootleg tape courtesy of Donald Farmer, complete with trailers for Body and Soul and the mind-blowing Shocking Africa (which probably should make this list for the amazing score alone). At any rate, this *really* is the only cannibal movie you need to watch, if you know what’s good for you. “I recognize these teeth!”
The Gates of Hell – To *hell* with the snobbish City of the Living Dead moniker! This one will always be The Gates of Hell to me, complete with that blue title card from the Paragon video release. Actually, I remember looking at the movie listings in The Detroit News and the ad for this one made my head spin. And when I finally got to see the film, it spun again, courtesy of that crazy drill. “He’s a sick and lonely kid…”
Zombie – Another Fulci movie… Sue me! The shark attack more than makes up for any lull in the narrative. Come to think of it, the shark attack looks the narrative straight in the eye… and spits. “I was born on a boat.”
Deep Red – I love Suspiria, but I think that this is Argento’s finest hour. Profondo Rosso took all of the best twists and turns (and absurdity and violence) from the “Animal Trilogy” and combined them with a taste of what was to come.
Zeder – My favorite Avati film. Not loud, gory, or over the top– it’s all about atmosphere here, and Zeder heaps it on in healthy portions. This one freaked me out when I first saw it, and still does today.
Fascination – Jean Rollin’s best-realized vampire opus. Well, in my opinion at least. Brigitte Lahaie has never looked better with a scythe.
Addio Zio Tom – I am not proud, but I have to include this– if only for the reason that this is one film that I NEVER thought could get made. Period costuming, ridiculous, raciest dialogue, and a cast of thousands bring to life this strange, sordid, hateful slice of exploitation history. See it once, shame on you– me. See it twice– won’t get fooled again…
Possession – Euro-trash at its pseudo-intellectual peak. Wait– it’s still peaking! What’s that? An octopus? And it’s slithering toward us? What does it all mean? It means that someone kidnapped Cronenberg’s brain, decided to dose it with acid, and give it to David Lynch as a consolation prize for losing an arm-wrestling match with Sartre. To crib Chas. Balun: “See Zombie. Eliminate Fulci / shark reference.” Aw, shucks, I’m only kidding…
Mannaja – Back to the good stuff. Entertainment with a capital E, Mannaja is my all time favorite Spaghetti Western. Maurizio Merli bursts from the screen with a hatchet-full of revenge. And when O’Brien gives his speech near the end… To quote a conversation with Jim Van Bebber: “YOUR favorite Spaghetti Western?!? I know what you’re going to say, man… BLADE!” MORE than enough said.
Nekromantik – Low budget German semi-adaptation of Greg Irons’ / Tom Veitch’s The Clean Up Crew. With a sentimental twist. I could go on about metaphors (dead corpse being a lost love, etc.), but why bother? Everyone has an opinion on this one. Semiotics, come and bite me.