fredag 24 augusti 2012

Last Caress / Blackaria

It doesnt happen very often that I want to watch a movie again just moments after finishing it, other than for the odd commentary track but that is fairly rare too. For this feeling to appear with two movies in a row is actually quite astonishing but this is what François Gaillard and Christophe Robins two wonderful giallohomages does to me. I've had the awesome soundtrack playing on my iphone for weeks now and I can assure you that it won’t leave for quite some time.

Let us start with Last caress. A group of friends arrives at a remote house now knowing that the friend they are about to visit has been brutally murdered by another woman. Said female has also been murdered by an assassin sent to retrieve a mysterious painting and it doesn’t take long before everyone is graphically killed while in various states of undress and the final victim starts to play a bloody game of cat and mouse with the spectacled killer. Stalk and slash in its purest form here, and everything is doused with style and great love for the genre.

Blackaria is no different, even though the plot is a bit more strange and dreamy. A young woman living in an apartment complex is having trouble with her loud neighbor who is prone to having lesbian orgies. When the neighbor is gorily dispatched by an unseen killer she finds pieces of glass that allow you to see the future while looking through it. Realizing that this was what the killer was after, she fashions them into a pair of glasses that will allow her to stay one step ahead but this results in visions of murder.

What we have here is a loving patchwork of the filmmaker’s favorite movies, I can smell hints ofBava, Argento, Fulci, you name it. At first I wanted to describe this with the old phrase "Style over substance" but that would be unfair. Yes, these movies were designed with maximum style in mind and the stories are clearly written as such, not that this is a bad thing - on the contrary. This is thrilling stuff that spends no time with meandering filler; this is pure and streamlined entertainment at its finest, drenched in violence and nudity. Actually, the exploitation geek in me starts to drool just writing this sentence. The special effects are all lovely practical old school stuff, straight out of De Rossi or Stivaletti and they sure are plentiful. Some of the kills could be called tribute pieces, the prime example being the chain to the face scene in Blackaria that has a not so slight similarity to the opening in Fulcis The Beyond. This is a nasty piece of work that like the rest of the violence makes you giggle with glee.

While on the subject of superlatives I have to mention the awesome score by Double dragon, a riveting mixture of old school Goblin-ish atmospherics and pounding 80s electro pop. It suits the movie perfectly and, as I mentioned before, hasn’t left my iphone since the day I bought the dvd. If you buy the Swedish dvdrelease (which you should. English subtitles *hint hint*) there is an extra cd with the entire Blackaria soundtrack and parts of Last caress.
No negatives then? Well, yes. There are. Some of the acting can be a bit stiff and the camerawork doesn’t feel as polished as it ought to be but these things are just small nitpicks, nothing that diminishes the enjoyment of the whole picture. There is one other small thing that is on the negative side and that has to do with the extra material on the dvd. There is an awesome 15 min short called Die die my darling which has a hot lady assassin duking it out with a half-naked nazi chick, really good stuff. The problem with this is that the music isn’t included on the cd, I want it! Oh well, can’t have everything.

So, in short, it has been ages since I had this much fun. Both of the movies (and Die die my darling) are excellent and you should really track down the Njuta films release which has both of them + a soundtrack cd. These flicks have everything, tons of violence and nudity. You can’t hate them. You really can’t.

tisdag 21 augusti 2012

Black magic rites (1973)

When a movie starts with a group of men in red bodysuits sacrificing a naked woman to Satan in order to resurrect their mistress you know you are in for a good time and Renato Polsellis Black magic rites strikes all the right notes for me. Not that it is a particularily coherent and meaningful experience, it's just so full of violence, nudity and plain weirdness that you cannot do anything other than like it.

A group of people gather at a castle for a lavish party and before you know it we are in flashback heaven. In fact, there are so many flashbacks that it is at times hard to know if it is supposed to be a flashback when it happens several times in the same scene. Hundreds of years earlier a witch was burned at the stake and now her reincarnated husband wants to sacrifice seven virgins to ensure her return and this means we get to see lots of nudity. Lots of nudity. The scene with the burning of the witch is an absurd example of what this movie is all about when they tie her up, tear off her clothes to display a pair of magnificient breasts and then proceed to shove a wooden stake into her heart. Now, this goes on for about five minutes with the woman moaning and crying with a wooden stake shoved straight through her heart! Clearly her body is ripe with satanic powers that enables her to survive so long!

And this continues on without anything really resembling a coherent plot. One by one these women succumb to hidden lesbian lusts and weird flashbacks before being bitten by what appears to be vampires but have no sharp teeth and leave no marks. How do I know that there are vampires? Well, halfway through the movie there is talk of someone being Count Dracula. Uh. I will admit that my attention to the intricacies of the plot was at times very limited, my mind was more focused on the nudity and the plain weirdness of it all. The good thing about all of this is that is is so full of weird lighting and outlandish cinematography that you just sit there amazed by the whole thing. Not a good film by any means, but sure as hell more entertaining than most. And now it is out on bluray, dear lord. Do I want to watch this on bluray? Yes I do.

Yes, this isnt for everyone, afficionados of italian sleaze will lap this up but the rest of the world probably not. You know which camp you belong to.