AUSQUATCH or how a THROWBACK made me say YOWIE!

NOTE:  It has been brought to my attention that the MVD release of THROWBACK contains a glitch that omits NINE MINUTES of footage from the running time.  While I stand by the review as published, it certainly is unfair to all involved to judge an incomplete film.  Wait…VERNON WELLS does not have just a cameo?  Sigh… a shame that this has happened.  Let’s hope that MVD can remedy the situation.
Now then…
I certainly love Bigfoot films of any stripe, and this Australian film takes the myth of the Yowie (or as I shall call him, Ausquatch!) and brings it to life.  While not exactly a rip roaring adventure or heart rending horror, there are a few bits worth checking out.
The first thing I learned was that there is a BOGGY CREEK VINEYARDS, because they drink some wine from there. HAH!  Irony. Humor!  Actually, I need a bottle. Thank you, Throwback!!  But the film proper isn’t quite as informative.  It’s quite simple. Two rather unlikeable chaps are after the lost treasure of Thunderclap Newman, a rogue fella that apparently enjoyed taking prospector’s gold many years ago. It’s still out there, but nobody has found it. Why?  YOWIE!  No, not a Batman show expletive, but the Aussie Outback Beast…THE YOWIE!

But the Yowie is more an element of action than a full blown threat for most of the film, as the two former bug exterminators (!!!) betray each other over and over with attempted drowning and many many leg woundings (and even a hand wound…woah!) .  After a beautiful woman is thrown in the mix, and this blogger learned to pronounce Rhiannon, the action doesn’t pick up so much as the use of human bait for the Yowie becomes a strategy to find some gold. And then there is this bit, which made me smile a whole lot.

Surprise!  Yes, VERNON WELLS!  Wez!!  Plughead!!!!  Very cool, it’s a fun cameo that comes, literally, out of nowhere.  As it should be. Now I’m all nostalgic to watch T-Force again. Always room for PM and Wez.

Oh, and the leading guy, he looks like a deflated Brett Favre to me for some reason. Maybe it isn’t obvious in the still, but…wow, it just struck me.  When he has to throw something at the Yowie in the final reel, I kept waiting for Wez to reappear and intercept it!

Uh…you aren’t going to text me anything inappropriate no matter how hot it is when I say Baboon with my accent, right?
Anyhow, the movie proper is definitely more a bit of heist and doublecrossing than anything Bigfoot related, even though the monster does appear several times in the daylight and seems to have a lot of good Ausquatchy times playing “Hide Behind The Tree While I Try To Hit You!”  The movie looks pretty good and features an EXCELLENT soundtrack by Richard Band and Amotz Plessner that elevates the visuals and gives life to some of the chase sequences.

In the end, THROWBACK takes all the chunks of ‘Foot Meat you could want, stirs it around and comes up with the basic sauce, no more no less, though yes…I never heard “baboon” sound so…sexy.

The DVD from MVD Visual is interesting (and now incomplete), the transfer is solid enough and there are plentiful extras including a nearly 18 minutes alternate ending that is less explosive.  But it would have robbed me of the interception / Favre joke. I’m glad they went with this one!  Short films and behind the scenes footage are included also.  You’ll certainly get your fix of Yowie’s in cinema with this film, which says…well, it’s the only Yowie movie I know!

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Cinesludge Podcast 9 – THE LUNGING LYCNANTHROPES OF FRED OLEN RAY!

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The latest episode of CINESLUDGE – A MANGLED MEDIA PODCAST is live!  Join myself and Dan Taylor of Exploitation Retrospect as we take a look at the shockingly underrated DIRE WOLF, a mutant monster on the loose film, followed by a deep probing softcore rubbing down of one of my favorite discs of the year, THE UNLIVING featuring Paul Naschy!  It’s EuroShock action with BOOBS, BLOOD AND BEASTS galore!  Click HERE for the link or listen below!

http://www.podbean.com/media/player/i9286-549ddd/initByJs/1/auto/1?skin=108

Strippers In Peril Cinema – Midnight Tease

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For many years I found myself wanting for a Giallo set in a strip club. I was busy watching actual Italian thrillers and while the occasionally dancer would come along, it wasn’t until I turned my eye back to the United States Of Trashy Cinema that I discovered what my CINESLUDGE co-host, Dan Taylor, called the STRIPPERS IN PERIL genre.  I have found a deep and abiding love for these, as have several of the iconic directors and producers of the stuff that kept us awake and up in the cinerect sense during the 90s cable television years. Now I have what feels like an endless pile of them to pull through. While they occasionally are little more than fluf(fer) it’s a distinct pleasure when you find one that features EVERYTHING a skin n’ sin film fanatic could want.  Now, MIDNIGHT TEASE isn’t up in the stratosphere of NAKED OBSESSION or anything, but it’s got the elements of excitement for maximum delight…ment.

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MIDNIGHT TEASE gives us the tale of Samantha, a stripper with a big heart and a big chest…but something is wrong.  She has these visions! Visions of a slimy looking guy being killed and screwed in weird fantasy scenarios that usually involve naked women thrusting and gyrating and killing.  But why?  And when other girls start showing up dead, it’s on as we get positively Edwige Fenechian.  But in perfect Giallo fashion, there are some nifty red herrings. You have the scuzzy bartender that first lays on the charm, and then seduces the “good girl” at knifepoint. It’s OK, she thinks it’s sexy!  CLONK!

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And there is a positively epic relationship between Samantha and her therapist that includes him looking at his watch as she comes undone AND then heading down to watch her strip.  That doesn’t pan out, but…he still ends up in her bed.  And could we forget the good girl?  What could SHE be up to?  Fascinated by the stripping lifestyle, she seems to be transforming into…oh, you might have seen something like this before. You’ll figure that part out!

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The plot and dialog is ONE HUNDRED PERCENT on target, never getting too heavy, but also ladling in some uncomfortable and cross edited dark secret stuff with the slinky sensualism of the dance du strip!  And running just barely under 80 minutes, the opening riff AND entire WELCOME TO THE DARK SIDE track is played THREE TIMES!  That right there makes the film a must.

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Director Scott Levy does a good job channeling his second assistant director chops from the Corman exploitation cinema classes into a film that maintains a little style and translates a fun screenplay that isn’t afraid to twist on the audience by inserting a rather nasty bit while cutting back and forth to a strip club montage at the awesomely titled CLUB FUGAZI!  I was struck at how well the cast, many of whom I’m unfamiliar with, are at nailing down the vibe you get from the more established sexploitation crews.  Lisa Boyle and Rachel Reed are great as the leading ladies, playing off each other in the best Blonde / Brunette and head cases of a different variety with ease and you would swear that Justin Carroll was channeling his best Richard Grieco.  And come to think of it…. Grieco played an extremely similar role JUST LAST YEAR in the Fred Olen Ray film, AFTER MIDNIGHT!  Time warp…Stripper Drama!!  And please, you must pay respect to the great Bob McFarland (Sonny from the Half Shirt Girl Cop classic…ANGEL OF DESTRUCTION!) as he sleazes it up as a cop!  Well, I can stop carrying on, because the doc is looking at his watch and even though I’m huddled in my cinematic leather coat and ready for the Jim Wynorski produced MIDNIGHT TEASE 2, he says I have to go.  Definitely a Stripper In Peril Film for any afficiando of the genre. It doesn’t just tease, it even comes with a happy ending!

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And hey…bow down to the songwriting credits for Welcome To The Dark Side…I always do!!!

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Cirio Santiago Badass Theatre – THE MUTHERS

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Vinegar Syndrome is back with more Cirio H. Santiago mayhem on DVD!  Now, there have been plenty of discs of the Maestro’s work, but VS always goes the extra mile. Even better than the DEATH FORCE / VAMPIRE HOOKERS release, we get a standalone edition of the Badass Pirates On A Plantation Seeking Vengeance classic, THE MUTHERS!  And they did this one up proud.  I mean…look at this!

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Now that I have your attention, THE MUTHERS is the saga of a pair of freewheeling Pirate Women that terrorize the men, take what they want and live the way they want to.  But when disaster strikes and the leader of the crew’s sister is missing, it’s up to them to go deep undercover at a violent work camp on an island run by the vicious Montiero, a scenery stomping unkempt ass that will string a woman up by her hair for disobedience.  Add in one Justice Department agent that wants to use The Muthers to bring down the camp, stir some interpirate relations of a negative nature as The Muthers piss off Turko and his gang into the mix, toss a shower scene in and don’t forget to have plenty of action ranging from guns to flipping flying kung fu fightin’!  It’s perfect fun for fans of exploitation and adventure films with plenty of sass, ass and bad bad badguys. And, it even comes with this survival technique.  If you are escaping a Vicious Island Overboss and find beans be sure to have a can opener. But if you don’t..well, here you go.

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NOM.

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Cirio Santiago films are usually great Drive-In movie fare, and THE MUTHERS is one of his best. The pace is fast, the dialog is hysterical (“just like every other snake I ever met, can’t leave my tits alone!”) and there is so much action between all the cool action atmosphere that it’s hard to get bored. The cast is outstanding, with the pulchritudinous presence of Jeannie Bell (the real TNT JACKSON!) and Rosanne Katon taking no shit from the professionally sweaty and evil Tony Carreon.  And let us not forget Jayne Kennedy, who cuts one striking figure on horseback and even gets to scrap it up in good form!  Part Action Film, part Women In Prison…ALL SANTIAGO SALACIOUS SWEETNESS! This is a great little exploitation film to start your Saturday Night Supershow Of Sexy Cinema.  Grab it!  It’s so hot, it’s super cool. And when it’s super cool, it’s a bit nippley, eh?

vlcsnap-2015-03-04-10h40m01s17Vinegar Syndrome’s disc is a 2K scan from 35mm negative and it’s done damn well and damn right for a movie and a filmmaker that is always gonna be damn good.  Dig it!

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Cinesludge Updates Galore!!

 I’m back!  Now you can visit CINESLUDGE at it’s own (dot)com!  The podcast that features Dan Taylor of EXPLOITATION RETROSPECT and myself have made it 5 episodes and covered everything from Slasher films to Wynorski Insanity and Mack Bolan!  Click over and check it out.  Also, we are running a contest on the FACEBOOK PAGE here to give away a copy of TOUGH TO KILL: THE ITALIAN ACTION EXPLOSION to one winner in the easiest contests known to man!  Dig in and JOIN THE SLUDGE!

And if you need ONE place to check it out…just click this player and settle in for the latest Podcast!

http://www.podbean.com/media/player/audio/postId/5378839/url/http%253A%252F%252Fcinesludge.podbean.com%252Fe%252Fcinesludge-episode-5-cannibalistic-chompdowns-and-wynorski-western-action%252F/initByJs/1/auto/1?skin=2

Poseidon Rex — Flippersaurus Amongst Us!

I am a stone cold sucker for creature features of any stripe, but you show me a dinosaur with flipper arms from the director of CLASS OF 1984 and SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO and you can rest assured that no warning would be too great to keep me from washing ashore with a copy of POSEIDON REX!  While I can’t say I was thrilled, I wouldn’t toss my 90 minutes with an aquatic chomping machine away either.  And one lesson was learned here… movies are like physical fitness workouts. There is always somewhere to go UP too, a new level to strive for. I hope some of the folks that created this will get a try out at The Asylum to take up the game a few notches!

Now I know what my fish Maciste sees in his bowl.

Short story even shorter, a handsome hunky treasure hunter, played by co-producer of this very film Brian Krause,  blows up “The Blue Hole” in order to find some lost booty.  Instead, he wakes up POSEIDON REX, a combo of Grimlock and Flipper!  Watch out!!!  And hey, since he is a co-producer, our man Krause manages to lose the treasure but still get… BOOTY!

 Now, throw in a few very stationary gangsters with a predilection for the term YES BOSS, a lot of bikinis, a scientist in a bikini, a bunch of eggs that everyone seems to forget that contain a bunch of P.Rexoids and the same shot of P-Rex surfacing on a little boat to squash things and we are just about there.  Because not only do we have the death aquatic, but then it’s time for the Jurassic Park scenes too!

When it comes to exploitation films and monster movies of this stripe I’m a firm believer of an honest days pay for an honest days work.  It’s not like Mark L. Lester isn’t trying, but the production being called Spartan would make you assume it had even a little armor.  Everyone is working here, but the film tends to just be…cheaper than expected. And I expected CHEAP.   The effects are tolerable enough and Lester has an excellent way of introducing every woman in the film by leading with the actresses shapely breasts about to bust free. Seriously, watch for that…it’s movie magic!  Even the performances come across well enough.  The guy with a Roman Numeral III is even alright. But that may be the problem here.  In recent years you get to make a groovy monster film by being audacious and outrageous.  Poseidon Rex commits the sin of just being… safe. OK.  It’s tame by broadcast TV standards and that ain’t gonna make me happy.  Audacity beats budget (ask Mark Polonia!) and what we get is a vanilla feature that has a great concept with no real attempt to reach the wacky heights that will set it apart.  A decent little diversion for a night with plentiful drinks, but you would be better served by many other films that take the Sharktopoctopodapusanodo formula to a less logical and more satisfying conclusion.  
Worst thing about the film?  Seeing Mark L. Lester in the credits BELOW “bikini girls” was a blow.  I think I need to watch Class Of 1999 again….
 Sigh…I wanted to love this one.