Sunday, 26 August 2007

All the colors...


I pre-ordered the book Mario Bava: All the colors of the dark by Tim Lucas, and I'm very excited about it. And it finally seems to be (almost) ready to ship...

Check the Bava Book Blog.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

B Cult Link

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Renato Polselli

This is the site for Associazione Culturale B Cult, an Italian-based Film Society dedicated to international B movies. It contains articles about for instance Antonio Margheriti, Renato Polselli (with video, in Italian), Rosalba Neri and others, and there is a Trade Area, which is only open to registered socio-cultural members, whatever that means. Still, some pretty cool things to check out.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Quack! Quack! Quack?

"But you won't understand me, you'll never understand me! You're too stupid! Quack! Quack! Quack!" - The New York Ripper, 1982.

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A changing expression...

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And a freezeframe.

Something weird happens at the end of Lucio Fulci’s The New York Ripper. In a scene that seems to come out of nowhere, we see Dr. Paul Davis standing on a sidewalk smiling at something, then his expression changes to a more serious one and he walks away. Then he looks back and de image freezes mysteriously for several seconds before it fades out....

Is something implied here about Dr. Davis? What does it mean?

The funny thing is that it is actually a remainder of a previous scene, which comes after the first attack on Fay. Dr. Davis and Lt. Williams (Jack Hedley) discuss this attack and Dr. Davis claims that it is The Ripper’s first big mistake. Then Davis turns down the offer to ride with Williams, and Williams drives off.

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My guess is that, while editing, it was just used to fill some kind of gap. But why the freeze frame? To “hide” the meaninglessness? Or do you think there is some (un)intentional significance?

Friday, 6 July 2007

Beyond The Beyond

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I think I was about 10 when I first saw The Beyond, my brother rented the most gruesome horror film he could find and we watched it together. I thought it was extremely scary and shocking, I really had trouble watching it. But then my mother came home and when she saw what we were watching (we were in the middle of the spider scene) she became extremely mad and we had to turn it off.

Still, the film had made such an impact on me that I never forgot it. I told people about it and searched for reviews in film encyclopaedias. But I only became aware of such a thing as Eurotrash when I first search for this film on the Internet, about 7 or 8 years ago. At that time I was also finally able to watch The Beyond again, and so began my obsession with Italian B films.

It is obvious that on a personal level The Beyond is a very important film for me, but I also think that it is just one of the best films to emerge from Italian genre cinema and also the best film Fulci made. And when I see the film’s poster, I always have to think about that VHS from the Video For Pleasure label that my brother rented.

So for me The Beyond is the single most important and influential Italian genre film, the core of that entire cinema and of my obsession with it.

How about you?

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Violent Rome/Roma Violenta

Roma Violenta, 1975. Directed by Marino Girolami. With Maurizio Merli, Ray Lovelock, John Steiner, Richard Conte and Luciano Rossi.

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The very first shot: a J&B sign.

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Inspector Betti (Maurizio Merli) tries to find two criminals who killed a young man during a robbery. He gets help from a young undercover cop, Biondi (Ray Lovelock), to whom he is an example and mentor. Betti is also after another group of brutal murderous robbers, which leads to a major car chase, Biondi getting paralyzed and Betti’s resignation. Then Betti is contacted by Sartori (Richard Conte), a lawyer who wants to assemble a vigilante-group....

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Betti and Biondi

This is the first poliziesco that stars Maurizio Merli. It made him a star and in the next five years he made about 12 more of these police films. Like most of these films there isn’t too much of a story, but that isn’t a bad thing per se. Betti’s ongoing fight with a whole bunch of brutal, ruthless criminals on one hand, and his superiors on the other hand, who’s main concern is with following the rules and avoiding bad press, is just what his films are all about.

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Bystanders...

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...and the victim getting her ass kicked like there's no tomorrow.

The action is plenty and pretty cool, both Merli’s one-on-one’s with various criminals, as well as the big car chase scene halfway through the movie. Maybe there isn’t too much depth in Merli’s performance, but as sort of an iconic cop-figure, whose main concern is with the victims and catching the criminals, he’s just right. He comes off as passionate and sympathetic. There are also quite a few familiar faces, like John Steiner, Luciano Rossi, Lovelock and Silvano Tranquilli, which really adds to the fun. This is a very enjoyable, well made film, with a great soundtrack by G & M De Angelis.

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A mysterious, open ending suggests that Betti might die, but the following year Merli was back for two more Betti-films: A Special Cop In Action (Italia A Mano Armata), also directed by Marino Girolami, and Umberto Lenzi’s Violent Naples (Napoli Violenta), which is my all time favourite poliziesco.

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