Thursday, 28 June 2007

Random Contamination Screenshots

Contamination, 1980. Directed by Luigi Cozzi. With Ian McCullovh and Louise Marleau.

This is said by director Luigi Cozzi in a making off... Very charming, very sweet...





Commander Ian Hubbard: "But...but...these are photographs of the eggs."

Colonel Stella Holmes: "Yes, that is correct."

Ian Hubbard: "When we were on Mars, there were millions of eggs..."

"...They were all green, just like the one in your photograph."


"Help! Help me!"

"...There's an egg in here!"


"What is it you want to know? How many times a week I screw?"

"It's quite obvious you couldn't get it up, even if you used a crane!"

Spasmo Soundtrack: Ennio Morricone

Spasmo, 1974. Directed by Umberto Lenzi. Music by Ennio Morricone.

The two films Umberto Lenzi made 1974 are probably his most accomplished: the brutal crime film Almost Human, and the convoluted giallo Spasmo. They are also his only films for which Ennio Morricone wrote the score. With it’s complex, labyrinthine plot and it’s strange characters and dialogue, Spasmo is a film with a weird, disorienting feel to it. And this is reflected in Morricone’s score, which consists of a series of variation on three themes.

Some cool artwork on the OST's cover

, the elegant theme that also plays over the main titles, has five variations and is initially the least dark of the three themes. But by subtlety changing the tempo and orchestrations, Morricone adds an uneasy feel to it. I especially like Bambole 3, with it’s effective combination of guitars, that are of clear sound, and an organ that almost seems a bit out of tune, which results in a very mysterious sound.
Spasmo has a darker and more mournful theme. Especially as Morricone brings in a Hammond organ in the second variation, and, in the next, combines the organ with vocals.
Stress Infinito is more a reflection of the movies nightmarish qualities (or is it vice versa?) and its psychological themes. With an unusual, almost avant garde-like combination of sounds, music and instruments it creates a disorienting and disturbing effect.

This is a score that can stand on its own. The subtle, rich variations Morricone created on his powerful themes are simply stunning. Although Stress Infinito isn’t always easy to listen to, it is the combination of the pieces and the increasing uneasy feel that makes this such an interesting soundtrack.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Sexy Cop (La Poliziotta Della Squadra Del Buon Costume)

This is a scene from Michele Massimo Tarantini's La Poliziotta Della Squadra Del Buon Costume (1979), the second of three comedies about the adventures of a sexy policewoman, Gianna, played by Edwige Fenech. NoShame released all three films in a nice DVD-box, but without English subtitles.

I can't understand what they're saying, but it is so dated, and so over the top, that it still made me laugh eventually. Unfortunately Fenech isn't in this clip.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Profondo Gatto

When I watched Lucio Fulci's The Black Cat the other day, I noticed quite a resemblance between the crypt at the beginning of the film and the Museum of Horrors at the Profondo Rosso Store in Rome. Both are dusty, laced with spider webs and have these small chambers closed off with iron gates...

Jill enters the crypt in The Black Cat




The Profondo Rosso Store Website

And a few of my own photo's



Monday, 25 June 2007

The Man From The Deep River/Il Paese Del Sesso Selvaggio

Il Paese Del Sesso Selvaggio, 1972. Directed by Umberto Lenzi. With Ivan Rassimov, Me Me Lai.


Lenzi-regular Ivan Rassimov plays photographer John Bradley, who is working in Thailand. When a man attacks him in a bar, Bradley kills him in self-defence, and decides to leave Bangkok and heads for the interior. Together with a guide he travels up a river, further and further into the jungle, but then one morning Bradley finds the guide killed and himself captured by a savage tribe.

J&B: Bradley is still in the civilized world...



Initially the natives treat him badly, but with the help of the chief’s daughter Maraya, played by cannibal queen Me Me Lai, and another native woman who happens to speak a little English, he manages to win their trust. This gives him the change to escape, but when he is caught and brought back to the village, he is severely punished.


Me Me Lai

After this, Bradley seems more willing to stay in the village. He falls in love with Maraya and become more and more accepted by the natives. But there’s opposition from the aggressive medicine man, and then there is the thread of a cannibal tribe...

Bradley gets help from Taima

The Man From The Deep River was the first film in the mondo-inspired cannibal genre. Umberto Lenzi made it in between his more adventure-oriented films of the sixties, about for instance Sandokan and Robin Hood, and his string of successful gialli and poliziesci of the seventies.

The medicine man


This film feels and looks more like one of those sixties jungle adventures then like a cannibal movie. Its main focus is on the native’s rituals and tribal life, but in a clichéd, unconvincing way. With characters like the old friendly chief, the handsome daughter and the bad-guy-medicine man, it is just too slick to make a real impact. The cannibal scenes, which play more like an separate episode near the end of the film, are on the other hand pretty gruesome, especially for a pre-Deodato cannibal film, and some were re-used for Lenzi’s fun, but ultra cheap-looking Eaten Alive.


Most of the actors don’t add anything to their clichéd roles, although Ivan Rassimov, who is one of my favourite Italian actors, makes the most of his poorly defined character. Me Me Lai, who was pretty ok in Last Cannibal World and Eaten Alive, doesn’t make too much impression here, I found her sort of dumb and irritating. Who I did like is Pratitsak Singhara as Taima, the native woman who speaks English and secretly helps Bradley.


Still, as a jungle adventure, it is actually entertaining enough. And it is nice too see what genre characteristics show up here. It would take several years though before Sergio Martino and Ruggero Deodato turned it into a genre of its own. When Lenzi got involved again he was more capitalizing on the infamous success of the previous entries, than actually developing or adding something new to it.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Mondo Cannibale

This is the trailer for Ruggero Deodato’s Last Cannibal World (1977). It obviously tries to lift on the success of the Mondo films, by hinting that the film itself is in fact a sort of pseudo-Mondo. The genre had become more extreme and shocking as the years went by, as can been seen in the following shocking video from Antonio Climati’s The Great Hunting (1974), in which a man is eaten by lions.

Two years later, with Cannibal Holocaust, Deodato turned that kind of Mondo into one of the subjects of his film. And funny enough it’s with that film that some people thought, that what was onscreen, was actually real...

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Free Hand For A Tough Cop/Il Trucido E Lo Sbirro

Il Trucido E Lo Sbirro, 1976. Directed by Umberto Lenzi. With Tomas Millian, Claudio Cassinelli, Henry Silva, Renato Mori and Luciano Rossi.

Claudio Cassinelli

Tomas Milian

Another one of those lightweight Lenzi poliziesco’s, and a pretty enjoyable one at that. Inspector Sarti (Claudio Cassinelli) teams up with criminal Monnezza/Garbage can (Tomas Millian) and three other scumbags to find a young sick girl who was kidnapped by Brescianelli (Henry Silva) and his gang. Then we get a whole lot of shout outs, car chases, bitchslappings and the usual foul language, before everything comes together in the finale...

A familiar set...

Not too much story here, more a collection of setpieces, but Lenzi keep things going fast en funny. There are quite a few hold-ups and robberies, but it never gets too serious, with Millian basically being a comic relieve character, with a terrible wig. There are also a lot of familiar faces in this film, including Luciano Rossi and Giovanni Cianfriglia.
Enjoyable fluff...

Renato Mori

Giuseppe Castellano

Claudio Undari

Biagio Pelligra

Antonio Casale

Giovanni Cianfriglia

Luciano Rossi

Mario Erpichini

Umberto Raho

Fulvio Mingozzi

Henry Silva

Keoma Soundtrack: G & M De Angelis

Keoma, 1976. Directed by Enzo G. Castellari. Music by G & M De Angelis.

Finally I found the Keoma soundtrack by G & M De Angelis. The score they composed plays a big, important part in the film. The many songs, not unlike a Greek chorus, explain and reflect on the emotions and what’s on screen. The two singers do this with such dark and/or penetrating voices, that almost no film reviewer fails to mention it, mostly negative. But there is a group of admirers, and I’m one of them.


Unfortunately not all songs sung by Guy and Sybil are included, only two: In Front Of My Desperation, performed by Guy, and Keoma, performed by Sybil and Guy. The first appears in the movie when Keoma awaits Caldwell’s men, just before the major shootout, the latter is like the opening theme, only this version is sung by Guy and Sybil together. I really like these songs: they are pretty intense, just like the movie itself.

Dusty Banjo (parts 1 and 2) and Piano And A Bear are pieces that obviously work better within the context of the film. But the other four instrumental songs are very good: two variations on Keoma, one on In Front Of My Desperation and a piece called Waiting. They all capture the sadness and melancholy that makes Keoma such a great film and can be enjoyed by people who aren’t to keen on Sybil and Guy’s singing.

All in all a great soundtrack and the most ambitious for the De Angelis brothers, who had their biggest successes as Oliver Onions with their Terence Hill/Bud Spencer-scores. A year later they made another western-score in sort of the same style, but less sophisticated: Mannaja.
Only disappointed is that not all songs are included.

1. Keoma (instrumental) (04:43)
2. In front of my desperation (02:06)
3. Dusty banjo (part one) (00:42)
4. Keoma (harmonica) (01:38)
5. Piano and beer (01:25)
6. In front of my desperation (instrumental) (03:08)
7. Waiting (instrumental) (01:05)
8. Dusty banjo (part two) (01:25)
9. Keoma (04:45)

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

2 new DVDs

Today I got 2 new DVDs. Sahara Cross (1977, Tonino Valerii), with Franco Nero; and L'Allenatore nel Pallone (1984, Sergio Martino), a soccor-comedy with Lino Banfi, but it's only in Italian and no subtitles... Too bad...


Monday, 18 June 2007

Who saw her die?/Chi L'Ha Vista Morire?

Chi L'Ha Vista Morire?, 1972. Directed by Aldo Lado. With George Lazenby, Astrid Strindberg, Nicoletta Elmi, Adolfo Celi, José Quaglio.


Franco (George Lazenby) is a sculptor who lives in Venice, while his estranged wife Elizabeth (Anita Strindberg) and their 8-year-old daughter Roberta (Nicoletta Elmi) live in London. Roberta visits her father and they have a wonderful time together, as he brings her along to his friends and his art dealer, the rich and powerful Serafian (Adolfo Celi). When Roberta doesn’t come home one day, after playing with other kids at a square nearby, Franco starts looking for her, but nobody knows anything. The next day she is found dead, floating in Canal Grande.


...with her father and his friends.

In the background you can hear a child sing: "Chi L'Ha Vista Morire?"

After the funeral Franco and Elizabeth find solace in each other, but Franco feels guilty and starts a search for answers after a friend tells him of a similar case a year before. He gets in contact with a lawyer, Bonaiuti, who represented the parents of the girl who died a year before. Bonaiuti is a suspicious man who is obvious hiding something... or someone. Franco learns that this lawyer is also familiar with some of his friend and with Serafian.


Where's Roberta?

Serafian’s assistant Ginevra contacts Franco, because she wants to tell him something important, but before they can meet she is also killed, and the trail leads back to Bonaiuti and Serafian...

The child...

The mother...

The father...

I guess with Venice as a setting it is hard not to turn your movie into one big sightseeing-film, but Aldo Lado manages to show another site of this great city. Franco’s life, and the places he visits on his search, have an authentic, local feel to them. And although parts of the film concern the upper class, a lot of scenes are set in the alleys, squares and little bars where most tourists won’t come. This adds to the believability and to the overall impact of the film.

Serafian: "My dear Franco..." Bonaiuti stands in the other room.

Bonauiti and his birds.

And the impact is significant, in large part to the emotional first half of the film. Both Nicoletta Elmi and George Lazenby are very good in their roles, the love and affection between father and daughter comes across as genuine. And Lado expertly handles the scenes of Roberta’s funeral and aftermath, combining Ennio Morricone’s phenomenal score with Franco and Elizabeth dealing with their loss, resulting in some very touching scenes.

This emotional basis enhances the second part of the movie, which is in a much more traditional giallo-style: everybody acts suspicious; there are brutal murders by a blacked gloved killer; there are some red harings, and a lot of subjective cinematography. Lado keeps his film well focused on Franco unraveling the mystery surrounding his daughter’s death, with a few impressive sets and some effective supporting actors, especially José Quaglio as Bonaiuti makes an impression.

Shadows in the fog.

And a great location...

But who's following who?

A great addition is Ennio Morricone’s score, which is beautiful and haunting, and I think one of his best. The use of a boy’s choir works well with both the story itself, as with the images of Venice. And the scenes set at the fog-shrouded docks just look great.

Having seen three of Lado’s films, Short Night of Glass Dolls, Night Train Murders and Who saw her die?, I can say that I’m an big Aldo Lado fan. His movies are well made and intelligent and I hope more of his films will be released on dvd.