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Bad Bunch, The

Posted by JoshSamford On June - 28 - 2008
Plot Outline: White Vietnam veteran Jim (Greydon Clark) returns home after the war and takes it on himself to deliver a letter, that his black friend wrote before dying, to his family. He soon gets into a confrontation with the dead man’s brother and his gang. Add to all this a love triangle with two hippie chicks and the dead man’s brother out to put a hurting on Jim and you’ve got the movie in a nutshell.



The Review: Have you ever watched a movie where you were certain that the director had high intentions for his film in making a grandiose statement, but somewhere along the way he kind of lost his path? The Bad Bunch falls into this category without question. From my own personal vantage point it seems that Greydon Clark was trying to make a film that ultimately questioned all sides of the race issue, but somehow was pressured into adding a gaggle of unnecessary exploitation along the way. That or perhaps he was just let down with his own lack of talent. Clark, who should be well known to b-cinema afficianados, kind of reminds me of Ed Wood. The only difference is that as his career went onwards he didn’t sink so low as to start making porn flicks. He is a filmmaker with great intentions but limited means, and The Bad Bunch is a shining example of this.

I’m serious about this Greydon Clark thing, I’m fascinated by the guy for some reason. I know nothing about him however and I’ve only seen two of his films. The Bad Bunch and Final Justice (on mst3k) being those films, of course. Maybe I haven’t fully explored his filmography due to that recurring theme of his: Badness. Well ‘badness’ is one particular theme, lack of budget is another and the fact that he likes to cast himself often is another staple of his work. Here he’s the star, but in Final Justice he plays a sheriff near the beginning. Anyway, I realize all of Clark’s work after this film tends to be just quick drive-in fare aimed to make a buck, but I think this film is a little different. It’s just as bad as those films, but I think Clark really thought he was going to make something with this movie, but instead he delivered a film that just goes in way too many directions and gets extremely sloppy towards the end.

Unlike a review I read a while back, I don’t think the film is really all too prejudice. I think it shows both races that are explored in a particularly bad light. I think Clark was trying to deliver a racial drama that he felt was true to life, but the unnecessary nudity, cheapness and the amateur acting takes away from any artistic integrity the feature may have hoped to achieve. At one point in the film, everything kind of stops for like five minutes when the ‘bad bunch’ of the title, all go skinny dipping with a bunch of upper class white kids at their pool party. This could have been a scene to further the plot in some way I imagine, but instead it just seems tacked on. The entire film could have went without it, but it seems like a rather cheap device to get some nudity out there and is just one of the many things that feels like it could have been added so they could sell the film easier. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this film is any kind of masterpiece and Clark was a hapless pawn in the producer’s game. Heck, the man made “Satan’s Cheerleaders”, so you know he’s to blame for a whole lot of everything.

I’m no filmmaker myself, but I believe there has to be a rule about not overusing your scenery. I mean if you’re going to use the same set, at least shoot it differently. It makes sense right? Well, obviously this never crossed Clark’s mind because in the film we are treated to about four different scenes on the same plain “motel” set. Near the end of the film, we are actually treated to two scenes in a row. One woman walks out the door ending the scene and another walks in starting another. I couldn’t help but laugh because if you’re going to re-use a set so often the least you could do is make it a good looking set. Shoot on location in a real hotel if you have to, just give the audience something to look at!

The acting is shoddy, the camerawork is terrible, the sets are incredibly cheap, and the film isn’t really all that fun. I can’t really recommend it, but I’m sure there are some who would enjoy this film. I came close to it, but after thinking it over and re-watching the film I came out with a different opinion. I’ve given it one star for effort and minus four for everything else.



Author’s Note: While going through a lot of these reviews, it’s funny how you find how your opinion changes over time. I find with a lot of these earlier reviews (this was originally written back sometime around 2002 and posted in 2003) while not only being a shade of what I am capable of in terms of writing, they were written with a little less care in terms of judging films as a whole. Here I am about six years later and I still find myself wandering back to The Bad Bunch now and then. Say what you want, the film has staying power. I look at the score of one out of five and cringe now, because I think it deserves a little more than that. If I were to re-review the film now I would score it a three out of five. For what it is, The Bad Bunch is a very decent film. With time and many, many movies later you tend to learn that there are a million different ways to look at a movie and no matter what you think – there will be better and there will be worse. Greydon Clark is indeed a b-film director, but one that should draw a little more notoriety than he recieves. Overall, I now have to say I do reccomend Bad Bunch for fellow blaxploitation fans and drive-in afficianados looking for something a little bit strange.

— Josh

Antropohagus

Posted by JoshSamford On June - 28 - 2008
Plot Outline: A group of young tourists set off to spend some time on a deserted island (I can’t remember the exact reason, and won’t force myself to watch again so soon after digesting it the first time around), but once they get there one of their friends twists her ankle and remains with the boat. She is soon kidnapped by a psychotic killer, and the boat is sent sailing off to sea. The remaining kids decide to stay in town and find one of their friends. Once they find the house, there’s no one in sight but the young daughter of the people who own the house. She says there is a man who smells like blood and he took her parents. Now the kids must find a way off the island, before they too go missing.



The Review
You know you’ve got problems when you walk into a film expecting absolutely nothing, and yet still walk away disappointed. I was thinking that Antropophagus was going to be bad from the start, I had read enough bad reviews for it to know it was going to be a crap fest, and yet I was STILL let down by just how poor it is. After sitting through Joe D’Amato’s Beyond the Darkness (Blue Omega or whatever you want to call it), which I actually enjoyed a bit, I thought I would treat myself to another D’Amato ‘classic’. Before watching either film, I had seen Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals back when I was on my Cannibal hunt, and thought it was pretty bad but not incredibly bad. So, so far D’Amato was 1 for 1. Then along came Antropophagus… now I’m not sure how he’s ranking. This is just SO bad. It actually took me three times to sit through it, each time wanting to go to sleep because of how impossibly boring the film is. Honestly, D’Amato fans of the world, I don’t mean to be rude, but this was just too much for me. I sat through at least one full hour of pointless and terrible plot development, for what? For the whole freaking thing to be explained in a flashback that isn’t even a minute long? For two or three death scenes that were kinda cool? I’m sorry, but it takes more than some decent gore for me to like a flick. Antropophagus delivers nothing for me.

When I say that the first hour of the film is pointless drivel, some of you are probably thinking “ahh, there’s probably a good death here and there. Surely there’s something packed in that full hour that I can derive some sort of pleasure from”; Believe me, there is NOTHING! There are two death scenes in the first hour of the film, but both total about five seconds in length, combined, and are both amateur to say the least. Surely not the gory mess some might be lead to believe by the film’s fans. The other three (yes, only three) death scenes of any interest come in the last twenty minutes. Granted, the scenes are pretty good, but after sitting through an hour of worthless and useless crap it’s hard to find anything positive to applaud. Sure, the film has style, and I applaud that as well as D’Amato for setting up some kind of atmosphere. The only thing is, I could shoot a turd with good cinematography, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s crap. Fulci is often accused of developing atmosphere, but adding no tension. I agree for the most part, but I wonder if the people who say this have ever popped in Antropophagus. The only tension in the film comes in the last two minutes of the film where our heroine is being chased by our villain, and I’ll admit it was pulled off effectively, but for the rest of the film I could barely even tell which characters were which. The only two characters that stood out for me was the blind girl and the killer. The blind girl because she’s the only brunette, and the killer because… well, he’s the killer. Giving three women who are all the same hair color and have no real identifiable traits, even in personality, isn’t a good thing. The director had a whole hour to let us get to know each character as an individual, but somehow failed. I remember one of them was clairvoyant or something, reading tarot cards and whatnot, but I can barely remember which one it was. That’s what makes the film so unnervingly bad. If the director was going to spend so much time building tension, why are the characters so generic and tripe?

What about the gore though? Ahh, it’s alright. The fetus scene which has been spoiled many times before, isn’t exactly something to vomit over. Nor is it pretty. Still, the fetus ripping at the beginning of Terror Firmer was more disgusting to me, and that one was played for laughs instead of horror. The only thing that sometimes raised the film above mediocrity for me was the style at some points. One scene that I liked was right before the previously mentioned flashback, where the killer walks through a dark hallway and gets right in the camera’s face. Half his face hidden in darkness, with a touch of light beaming down on his face. Definitely a great looking shot and is quite menacing, but even if there were thirty shots equally as great, it wouldn’t change the fact that for 75% of the film absolutely nothing happens. This should have been a short, if anything at all. I could probably get in the editing room and make the whole film twenty minutes long. Maybe then it would at least be easier to sit through. Frankly, when it comes to bad Italian horror films, I’ll take Bruno Mattei. At least he was so bad his films were funny and entertaining.

The Conclusion
There’s really not all that much you can say, and I’m surprised at how easy it was to write this review. Maybe it truly is easier to write bad reviews than good ones. Or maybe it’s just easier when you have a passion for something. My passion is to deter people from seeing this, or at the least put doubt in their minds. Some people will see it no matter what, just as I did. So, if you’re going to see it no matter what, just remember to not get your hopes up; and bring as much patience as you can possibly muster.

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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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