Archives for September 2009 | Varied Celluloid - Page 2

Archive for September, 2009

Five For Hell Review

Posted by Josh Samford On September - 8 - 2009

Here we are again. Thank goodness for this new laptop, as it has allowed me to actually get to watching some cult films! Woot! Also, it allows me to write! So I’m back a week later with my review for the Macaroni Combat crusade Five For Hell. Definitely a fun flick, that while it has it’s own problems now and then it’s overall a ambitious low budget actioner. Plus, there’s Klaus Kinski and John (Gianni) Garko in there! Can’t beat that!

The Plot: John Garko plays Lt. Hoffman, who has recently been put in charge of an extremely dangerous mission that will involve he and a platoon of his choosing going behind enemy lines, sneaking into a nazi fortress and gaining access to Plan K. A dangerous and important document that could very well help secure a win for the allies. He picks his ragtag team of soldiers, all with their own unique expertise and vulnerabilities. However, on the opposite side of the playing field is Hans Muehller (Klaus Kinski), a nazi officer placed in charge of watching the very same fortress that Hoffman will be attempting to break into. Muehller is a brutal leader who will acknowledge no weakness. Without his knowing, right underneath him is Helga a spy working with the Americans who will be attempting to assist Lt. Hoffman when he and his crew arrive. Which side will win in this epic battle of good versus evil?



CONTINUE READING THE REVIEW HERE

Five For Hell

Posted by Josh Samford On September - 8 - 2009
The Plot: John Garko plays Lt. Hoffman, who has recently been put in charge of an extremely dangerous mission that will involve he and a platoon of his choosing going behind enemy lines, sneaking into a nazi fortress and gaining access to Plan K. A dangerous and important document that could very well help secure a win for the allies. He picks his ragtag team of soldiers, all with their own unique expertise and vulnerabilities. However, on the opposite side of the playing field is Hans Muehller (Klaus Kinski), a nazi officer placed in charge of watching the very same fortress that Hoffman will be attempting to break into. Muehller is a brutal leader who will acknowledge no weakness. Without his knowing, right underneath him is Helga a spy working with the Americans who will be attempting to assist Lt. Hoffman when he and his crew arrive. Which side will win in this epic battle of good versus evil?


The Review: The Macaroni Combat subgenre, which to my knowledge was only recently given it’s title, is one that very few can say that they have a full grasp on. It has hidden in the background behind the slightly less obscure Polizioteschi subgenre, and then that hidden behind the almost “popular” (by way of comparison) Gialli and Spaghetti Western genres. I personally have only heard the title within the past few years, but these films do have their own specific style and place in film history. Quentin Tarantino’s recent Inglorious Basterds certainly has its hands in this genre, with many references to these movies as well as taking its name from a very famous entry in this style. Five For Hell could likely be considered an ideal film to show someone who is unfamiliar with this subgenre or what it is supposed to be all about. You could simply place it in front of them with no explanation, and afterwards they’d know the precise style and format that other such films should follow in order to be considered a part of this subgenre. That doesn’t necessarily mean this is a fine example of how great these films likely can be, but it just means that it follows the genre by definition. Especially the “guys on a mission” ideal, that films like The Great Escape, The Guns of Naverone or The Dirty Dozen helped to establish. Five For Hell, well, it really doesn’t do much of anything to break away from genre type. It’s so strung to the cliches of what it’s supposed to be that it never sticks its neck out on the line at any point. However, that doesn’t necessarily make this a bad flick. I’ve said it before, but sometimes there’s a lot of fun to be had when the filmmakers just let go and decide to make a very fun film that simply wants to do things bigger and better than what they’ve previously seen – even if at the same time they’re essentially ripping off every other flick of the same genre. It’s not a sophisticated approach to cinema, but for us film geeks this is essentially the reason we all loved the horror scene from the eighties. Not a lot of invention, but still a great amount of creativity and naive filmmaking that was more in tune with entertaining their audience than re-inventing the wheel.

Five For Hell comes at you from the very start and never relents. The pace of the film is just brutally quick, clocking in at a very brisk eighty-something minutes. The very opening lets you know what to expect, as it rockets us into a “cool” training sequence with various members of our outfit excelling in various parts of their training regiment, while a raucous military score that is far too upbeat for a film of this variety just pounds away in the background. You’ll get used to this little tune because it pops up every time our Americans are on display and for the most part I would say it works. Take note that I say “for the most part”, because there are a few musical cues that feel grossly inappropriate for their respective scenes. Especially in the latter part of the film where some rather serious moments are completely disrupted by this trumpeting and massive soundscape just destroys your ears. Still, it sort of fits the tone of the movie in the fact that at no point does it ever stop long enough for you to really get serious with it. I suppose that’s never the point, as this was apparently made with the idea of the audience simply having a blast. Director Gianfranco Parolini (credited here as Frank Kramer) seems to do well when sticking to genre, and his work in the Spaghetti Western (God’s Gun, If You Meet Sartana Pray For Your Death, the Sabata series, etc.) genre tends to reflect that same mentality.

There’s a lot of camp and gimmickry at foot as you might suspect from a flick such as this one. Things like every member of The Five having their own unique situation. There’s one character who is an acrobat and can flip in and out of any situation. There’s the master safe cracker with the toughguy attitude, who is crucial to the plan. There’s also the Goliath looking strongman who actually rips his own shirts apart while trying on new clothes due to his massive girth. Then there’s the timid member who’s a good shot but is considered a chicken by most everyone else, but has the blind faith of his allies to strengthen him. That just leaves Lt. Hoffman, Mr. Garko, as the leader of the group who can also throw a baseball like no one’s business – knocking out several enemies throughout the film. Garko himself is as good as ever was here, exuding a lot of charisma but not pushed terribly hard here. Klaus Kinski who is probably a major selling point for some viewers almost seems like he’s taking part in a cameo here as he’s in the film for what feels like roughly ten minutes. Regardless, it’s Kinski though so you know he’s bound to be memorable and of course he is. His manic personality all but guarantees something out of just about any role.

Although not making my favorite films list any time soon, I did have a good bit of fun with Five For Hell. It’s an all out action fest with several funny bits in between all of the explosions and shootouts. However, it’s also the sort of flick that starts fading from memory the moment it’s out of your vision. It’s like eating a handful of candy as opposed to a full meal that you might get from something like Castellari’s Inglorious Bastards. For what it attempts though, I have to consider it a success. I give it a three out of five and recommend it to others looking to get into the Macaroni Combat subgenre.



VCinema Secret Society – A Fun Ride

Posted by Josh Samford On September - 7 - 2009

deatheggdvdAhh, what a blast. For those of you who don’t know, VCinema is our monthly (every last Sunday of the month!) stream-show that features a chat for all of us here on the forum and twitter to get together and watch a movie at the same time and chat alongside it. The Secret Society meetings are those that we come up with on the fly with no real advertising outside of the forums and twitter. So we’ll be having them sporadically from here on out and tonight’s meet-up was our first attempt. Coffin Jon, our fearless host, had us guessing all weekend on just what the film he had chosen might be. Giving us a few clues via twitter, including “cluck, cluck, cluck”, a quote about “leather gloves” as well as a Django connection. Suffice to say we were all stumped but this evening we finally found the movie: Death Laid An Egg. The sixties giallo from the same experimental director who brought us the bizarro Django Kill!… If You Live, Shoot!

Now, if I had watched this in my own time in my room with the lights off – I think maybe I could have taken it seriously. Maybe. However, as it was with roughly 13 other genre fans all looking to have a good time it turned into an absolutely hilarious pairing. I’ve been to quite a few of these type of gatherings before, but I think tonight’s showing was possibly the funniest I have ever taken part in. With everyone just being dumbfounded by bizarre and illogical the main film was. As soon as we’d start to get used to what was going on in the movie, it would switch things up and go in some other oddball direction. After a while, we were all just asking one another what in the heck was going on. Some memorable moments from the show:

Apparently it’s completely impossible for wind to actually blow objects over! Who knew?

God help any poor soul who dares drive a CAR in front of Marco’s home.

You don’t even want to think about all the freaky stuff going on before the show featuring lotion.

Bag Man, the greatest superhero who never was. Unfortunately, ‘his superhero mask had a critical design flaw’

Special guest appearance from Dr. Herbert West!

Where oh where did the yellow spunk come from?

The line “WHERE DID YOU GET THESE BULLETS!?!?” will NEVER die!

WHAT!? – Was echoed by every member in the chat after the strange and totally unsatisfying finale

So, I would like to thank everybody who was able to show and I sincerely hope you’ll all make it back for our regular show on September 27th at 5:00pm Pacific/8:00 Eastern when we will watch Shogun Assassin! Check a few posts down to see the lobby card and keep checking the forums as well as both the VCinema twitter page posted above as well as the VariedCelluloid twitter! We’ll see you on the 27th!

Tetsuo: The Bullet Man Trailer

Posted by Josh Samford On September - 7 - 2009

tetsuo_bullet_man


I don’t care what that TwitchFilm review had to say, I’m still pretty excited for this one. Even more so after reading their plot synopsis which goes like this:

Tetsuo The Bulletman stars Eric Bossick as Anthony, a young white man born and raised in Tokyo by his researcher-father who is now raising a young family of his own. It should be a happy time in Anthony’s life but his wife is plagued by crippling anxiety, anxiety that largely prevents her from leaving their home and centers on recurring nightmares around a horrible fate for the pair’s young son Tom.

Tragically, those dreams turn out to be prophetic and Tom is cruelly run down by a car in the street. Anthony tries to hold it together, much to the anger of his wife who wants to see him fly into a rage. And Anthony does eventually lose the firm grip he has on his emotions, the slide into anger triggering a bizarre transformation within his own body, Anthony transforming into a strange metallic monster much to the delight of the strange man – Tsukamoto himself – who ran down Tom and continues to taunt Anthony from a distance.



I really like the ideas at work here, so I’m hoping Mr. Brown and I just have different tastes. I can’t say I’m expecting much, since Tetsuo II was far from Tsukamoto’s best work – but really, how much worse could this be? I’ll be picking this one up as soon as it’s available. Check out this trailer released from Venice where the film made it’s premiere.

Maskhead Pre-Orders

Posted by Josh Samford On September - 5 - 2009

MaskheadWith the disappointing review of Tetsuo The Bullet Man I just read over at Twitch (although if you ask me, that plot synopsis still sounds pretty rad and I’m not 100% convinced), I really need something to cheer me up. Although it’s a few days old at this point, I still thought I’d post the latest from the good folks over at Toe Tag Pictures who brought us all the unforgettable August Underground flicks. Their new feature Maskhead is due to be released on DVD, but they now have it available for pre-order for just $19.99. Expect tons of gratuitous (and awesome) violence and hopefully some perverse and awful things randomly happening to others. It is described on their page like so:


MASKHEAD tells the depraved tale of Syl and Maddie, a lesbian couple who produce extreme fetish and dark specialty movies. With the help of their sociopathic associate, The Cowboy, the ladies audition numerous up-and-coming talent to star in their top selling, stomach-turning fetish series: “MASKHEAD,” which features a large man in a bizarre mask who tortures and kills his “co-stars” on camera.

They had me at Extreme Fetish and Dark Specialty Movies. Don’t know about you. Drew McWeeny’s (Moriarty from Aint it Cool News) co-writer in his projects for Masters of Horror, Scott Swan, is also on board as writer/co-director with Fred Vogel – so I’m actually building some decent expectations for this flick. Check out the Pre-Order Deal Here!

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Varied Celluloid is a film website intent on delivering views on movies from all genres. Started in 2003, the website has been steadfast in its goal and features a database of over 500 lengthy reviews. If you would like to contact us about writing for the website or sending screeners, please visit the about page located here.

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