Blaxpo | Varied Celluloid - Page 2

Foxy Brown

Posted by JoshSamford On September - 13 - 2008


Plot Outline: Foxy Brown is a young black woman trying to make her way through the seventies. She has plans to get out of the ghetto along with her boyfriend Michael who works for the government in stopping the local gangsters. See, Michael faked his death along the way and has recently been let out of the hospital after facial reconstruction. So now it looks like Foxy has finally got her man and life is looking up. Well, things aren’t going to stay that way and pretty soon the word is out on the street that Michael faked his death, and he is shot to death outside Foxy’s home. Now, an average woman might turn away, being outnumbered and outgunned, but Foxy isn’t an average woman and she’s got revenge on her mind. Bodies fall, guns blast and Pam Grier changes costumes more times than you could shake a stick at!


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Dolemite

Posted by JoshSamford On August - 22 - 2008
Plot Outline: Dolemite is one bad mother, the only problem is he’s locked up on some phony charges set up by the crooked police, but that’s about to change. You see, the warden along with the mayor and a unidentified third party realize that their only chance to clean up the streets (because the peddling of drugs and guns seems to have worsened since Dolemite was sent up the river, don’t worry I don’t see how this could be considered logical either) is to let the big ‘D go free. Dolemite agrees after he hears that his cousin was shot dead for no good reason, and now he sets out for revenge… kinda. Two crooked cops stand in his way, as well as the insidious Willie Green who has taken over all of Dolemite’s territory and works with the crooked police. Thankfully while Dolemite was in the can, Queen Bee (Dolemite’s female helper who keeps his Ho’s in check) paid to have all of his hookers learn Karate in order to protect themselves more efficiently. With his Kung Fu hookers, Dolemite aims to take back his former Club and territory, but it seems many in town plan to stand in his way. Even the mayor!

  

The Review: I’ve been hearing about Dolemite since forever. I knew about it before I even knew about the blaxploitation genre it’s self really. I remember reading the review for it over at badmovies.org, listening to their audio clips and thinking to myself, man I have got to see this. A pimp who curses with every breath, sometimes rhymes and has a stable of karate fighting ninja Ho’s? Could it really be as great as I have it built up in my head? Well let me tell you, the film exceeded all of my expectations. I knew it was going to be bad and funny, but I had absolutely no idea. I remember a few years back Mad TV used to have a skit that made fun of the character of Dolemite, basically making fun of how completely inept the films are. Dolemite would fight off the ‘honkeys’ using the hokiest karate you have ever seen, with the actors deliberately doing their absolute worst. I remember one episode where I believe Dolemite had to go to The Moon (or something along those lines) to retrieve his ‘pimp cane’, of course when he did much bad karate ensued followed by Dolemite getting it on with some foxy ladies. The little skits were actually some of the best things that were happening on Mad TV at the time, of course only in my opinion. This was somewhere along the time “Stewie” and “Mrs. Swan”, two somewhat annoying characters with even more annoying catch phrases, took over the show. It seems to have been on a steady decline since it’s conception as a tv show, but I’m moving off topic. Watching Dolemite the other day, it’s pretty shocking how much the movie and those skits do have in common. The skits were taken to even higher degrees of stupidity of course, but Dolemite truly is the Plan 9 From Outer Space of blaxploitation. It’s unintentionally hilarious at every corner, the paper thin plot doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense at all and much like Plan 9, there appears to be some heart to the film. This, and that fact that it truly is one of the most entertaining films you’re going to see within the genre, is what makes you truly grow to appreciate and like the film. You have to imagine no one on set really knew what they were doing, had no budget and tried their best to make as entertaining a film as they knew how to do. They succeeded, but probably not in the way they had hoped. When I laugh at a movie for being ‘bad’, I like to think that I’m not doing it out of some need to hurt the creators of the film or to insult the film it’s self, it’s just that with all of the heaviness of any genre, there’s always the need for something a little lighter. Sometimes a film can be bad and suck the air out of the room for being horrendous and awful, and sometimes a film can be cheesy and inept by critical standards, but can truly bring a smile to your face. Maybe just because it’s fun to spot the mistakes within the film, sure, but there can be a special magic to a good b-movie, and I think Dolemite has just that. Between the hilarious and over the top dialogue, atrocious acting by pretty much everyone involved and all of the bizarre edits and plot inconsistencies, it gels into something wholly it’s own. Something bad, yet appealing. Something genuinely entertaining even if it’s not exactly something you’ll be showing to your family over Easter Holiday. It will take a special soul to really enjoy the inadequacies of Dolemite, but for the right person under the right circumstances, you’ll no doubt leave as entertained as I.

There isn’t a vast audience for the film out there, but the many reviews that take focus on it generally tend to focus on the same things, and with great regret I can’t help but do the same thing. You can’t talk about Dolemite without mentioning all these little idiosyncrasies that make it so memorable. It’s not a film that has too many layers or deserves a vast article focusing on the superb cinematography. The reason to love the film so adamantly is how very stupidly fun it is. You can’t talk about Dolemite and not mention his karate fighting stable of Ho’s. It’s a package deal, even if the Ho’s don’t get to do a great deal of fighting. Being that I rented this film on vhs (that would be the reason I took the images from the badmovies.org review, sorry Andrew but I needed some screen caps. Hopefully my linking the site twice in one review is substantial enough payment, because I’m a broke mutha), I was lucky enough to get the ever so classic Xenon video box, which I love completely. Dolemite, or perhaps just the Xenon vhs, is the only film where in the credits on the front cover there is someone listed as “Martial Arts Champion”! Is it really necessary to have a martial arts ‘champion’ on set? Wouldn’t it be more valuable to have a fight choreographer? I have no idea what the ‘champion’ title means, it’s as if someone on set had a tournament and whoever’s martial arts won received their name on the front of the film’s poster. It’s truly bizarre, and considering the complete lack of decency within the fighting it’s self, it just makes things even more hilarious. I’m not speaking out of turn either. The ‘karate’ within Dolemite is the stuff of legend. The very first fight sequence that establishes our character had me laughing so hard I was afraid I would wake the neighbors. It happens during a flashback to when Dolemite was arrested by the FBI (err, I think they were FBI. If not, they were all plain clothes detectives). Some cops come up, demanding to look in Dolemite’s trunk (considering this was a clear violation of his rights, it seems that if Dolemite had so much money he could clearly take this to a higher court through some fancy lawyers. Racist G-men or not). Not surprisingly, when they open it up a bunch of fur coats and cocaine are found and they want to take Dolemite to hit the mainline express to prison-town (don’t ask me where I came up with that one). Dolemite, being the bad mofo that he is, let’s loose his fury with the ever classic “you’re going to have to TAKE ME!!, what proceeds is one of the most astonishingly bad displays of martial arts that cinema has ever seen. The camera follows the punches from behind our fighters, the punches and kicks don’t connect very well and it’s all so very sloppy. It truly is quite the display. The greatest fight scene has to come when Dolemite is accosted by the two racist cops who lay a few punches on him. Dolemite jump kicks one in the back, this somehow knocks him unconscious. Since the kick hit him dead in his back I can only imagine he hit the ground face first, but that’s really putting too much thought into a Dolemite fight scene. The other cop isn’t so lucky when he receives some very badly aimed punches followed by a kick to the head that is easily TWO FEET away from ever touching his face, and yet our cop falls to the ground writhing in pain. These two scenes, gathered with a large and very sloppily edited bar brawl are only one of a million reasons you and everyone within your family deserves to see Dolemite and obviously should see Dolemite.

It’s 110% pure campy fun, sure it’s horrendously made, but as much as it is unintentionally humorous there are some very intentionally entertaining additions to the film. The dialogue is atrocious by university standards of course, but when you watch the film as a viewer and not a critic, a lot of this is truly classic. Who could ever forget when Dolemite is informing a police officer to please make room for him to get into his car, only Dolemite puts it a little more blunt when he says “Man move over and let me pass ‘fore they have to be pulling these hush puppies out your motherf***ing a**!” (censored because, well, as stupid as it is, my reviews are for everyone even if the films in question aren’t). Dolemite spits out things as equally as clever and obscene throughout the course of the film and this is why we like him so much, why kids everywhere (well, not everywhere) want to be Dolemite. He’s such a larger than life character, a true bad mofo if ever one did truly exist. It’s stupid to say about such a bad movie, but that’s the way it is with me. The characters other than Dolemite are just as widely drawn, Creeper – The Hamburger Pimp is probably one of the weirdest characters ever written. Perhaps Rudy Ray Moore had talked about this strange heroin junkie during his standup act, but for those of us who haven’t heard any of his albums, it’s just one more thing never explained throughout the course of the film. I personally wanted to know more about The Hamburger Pimp, did he sell the hamburgers to get smack? Why was it important for us to waste thirty seconds watching him doing a jive strut down the street after ‘pimping’ a hamburger from that fast food place? Things the audience may never know. We’ll also never exactly know why the local preacher was given guns, or really even what he wanted to do with them. Sure, he was a militant, but he didn’t exactly seem to have a fanatical following. Another big question is to what is even going on in the film. The plot literally makes no sense at all. The mayor wanted Dolemite out of jail, and that mysterious third party, was that the FBI agent? What was he doing making deals with the mayor? Why didn’t the mayor have Dolemite killed while in the prison? Why did the warden of a prison have so much authority when letting a prisoner go? How did Dolemite get out of prison on bail when he had just committed homicide and already had a criminal record even though if he was released he would likely be on a serious probation? You just can’t ask questions like this! There are no answers! The film’s script wasn’t meant to be questioned, it was only there to form a shell for Rudy Ray Moore to ham it up as the biggest and baddest pimp to ever come from the realm of blaxploitation. Dolemite could chew up The Mack any day of the week. Max Julien never displayed any Kung Fu of note anyway. Yet, while the plot is filled with more holes than Clyde Barrow’s Sedan (that’s a historical reference kiddies), it’s the amazingly bad production that gives Dolemite a lot of the cult appeal it has. The film has what is easily one of the worst pieces of editing I’m familiar with, right up there with the teleportation of a character directly into scene in The Girl With The Golden Boots (I swear I’ve brought that same error up in a previous review). During a lovemaking session between our main man Dolemite and one of his Ho’s, we are given a shot of Dolemite and his honey lying in bed wrapped in sheets. They begin caressing and preparing to do the horizontal jig, when all of a sudden, the film cuts to the same exact shot, but after the sex! The camera remains in place, only Dolemite and this girl have moved a little on the bed (neither in a position that looks remotely like they could actually be doing ‘it’) and are both now moaning. There was no cut to a clock, or a shot of the windows to show the gradual loss of time. Not even a closeup on clothing or the camera fading out. No, we’re treated to the exact same shot we started with in what is such a ridiculously clumsy edit that I almost lost faith in the idea of cinema as art. The film is full of a million other herky jerky edits that make the film look like it was put together by a blind man, but in the end it’s all a part of why the film has to be seen to be believed.

The acting, as mentioned, is almost pitiful to watch. A favorite bit of drama for me comes near the beginning where Queen Bee is so excited that Dolemite is being released from prison that she begins to tear up. The complete lack of any resemblance of emotion in the way she says “Dolemite, I’m so happy” should provoke uproarious laughter throughout any average human being, as a matter of fact if you don’t laugh, I have to think that you are insane. I still can’t get that out of my head and I doubt that I ever will. The direction in the film doesn’t even really seem worth mentioning, because I find it doubtful he was really instructive in the making of the film. I could be wrong and he was making the best of a bad situation, but I find it hard to believe he was very interested in what was going on while the cameras were rolling. His portrayal of Willie Green is actually one of the better performances throughout the film, but that doesn’t say much. Perhaps he just wasn’t that great of a teacher at this point in his life. Never the less, the lack of true guidance on the set seems to have been a blessing for the film, because I have to imagine if the story had been told in a mediocre (rather than horrendously bad) way, the film probably wouldn’t have taken on the cult following that it has. Tough guy gangster films were a dime a dozen at this point in cinema history. The film is a finely crafted piece of seventies cheese, whether you’ll like it is truly based upon your character. If you don’t dig it, that doesn’t make you a square, but it does mean this type of cinema might not be up your alley. If you do love this seemingly noxious piece of b-cinema, join the club because I can’t get it out of my head. Sure, it may seem offensive to the ‘art’ to give such a bad film a four rating, but if you don’t have fun while watching this film it’s hard for me to sympathize. A classic in the area of b-films, a king amongst slop. I love it adoringly, and as should anyone with a heart.



Mean Johnny Barrows

Posted by JoshSamford On August - 8 - 2008
The Plot: Johnny Barrows was at one time a football prospect, with the whole world ahead of him. However, after some controversy with a young woman he skips town and joins the army. He is awarded the silver star and is an excellent soldier, but unfortunately some of his superiors are of the racist variety. After a routine training exercise lead by Barrows where a minefield is supposed to be completely dead and his troops are to sweep it – those superiors plant a live mine that Johnny steps on. When Johnny de-activates the mine and confronts his superior, he belts him one right on the kisser. This gets Johnny a dishonorable discharge. Once Johnny arrives in the states, he is mugged immediately after stepping off the bus. He wanders the streets looking for food before finding an old football foe who runs a restaurant, turns out this restaurant is a mob front and Johnny’s old adversary is looking for some new muscle. In particular, a new hitman. Johnny however has no intentions of killing anyone. He takes his chances on the street, but times are tough and work isn’t exactly plentiful. Johnny finds work at a local gasstation where he is put to work cleaning bathrooms and doing all the dirty jobs. The mob won’t quit calling though, Johnny needs to make a decision, what will it be?




The Review: Fred “The Hammer” Williamson is without a doubt my favorite male lead from the blaxploitation era. My all time favorite lead from these films would most definitely be Pam Grier, such a beautiful woman with such sweet charisma… ahh, doesn’t get much better. Umm, oh yeah, Fred Williamson! Williamson in my opinion was probably the most talented leading man in any of these films. He had a lot more going for him than simply his charisma and charm, Williamson always seemed to invest himself a little more than the likes of Jim Brown or even Richard Roundtree. Just my opinion is all, but Williamson had a certain Brando quality about him where he could be tough as nails but also convincingly emotional and hurt. It really is a shame that his time seemed so exclusive for this one small era, when in my opinion he could have followed in the footsteps of Sidney Poitier – but also a man capable of bringing an action movie to life. The guy was so much more than just a football player turned action star. With Mean Johnny Barrows Fred not only steps in to deliver his own special take on yet another tough but fair leading man, he also sits in as director. With Barrows, Williamson lives up to just what I have described here. He delivers a subtle and nuanced performance in the midst of this small but engrossing crime film. Although the Italian stereotypes are in full effect, Williamson’s film delivers a lot of the things that can make a mafia-based film great. Sure, it seems silly to have a la cosa nostra based crime film set in the middle of Los Angeles, and sure the Italian accents seem like overkill – but the sense of the culture is thick in the film and the back and forth messages to one another are the things mob movies are made of.

Did I mention the Hammer-fu? I didn’t did I? Boy, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen The Hammer breaking it down with his unique brand of fighting. To see Fred Williamson taking on a kung fu pose whilst fighting in a poorly choreographed fight sequence (probably not his own fault) is just another reason to see this flick. The final fight sequence is actually pulled off fairly well, but still just as funny as the first one I am thinking of. The real meat and bones of Mean Johnny Barrows isn’t in the action however, it is mostly a character driven crime drama. Resembling a little of that art-house style of something like Sweet Sweetback’s Badasssss Song, only much more linear. Much of the film is about Barrow’s deep contemplation on what he is going to do and his dealing with homelessness. It’s only after about a hour into the film that Johnny actually takes on a direction, with many sequences preceding just showing Johnny trying to figure things out and cure his own moral dilemma. One segment even features Elliot Gould in a small cameo as a bum who is very well spoken and calls himself a professor, who introduces Johnny to the soup-kitchens where he can get some desperately needed food. His time as an employee at the gasstation is equally memorable, however I’ve done a lot dirtier work without as many complaints as Johnny seems to have – but it all becomes understandable when it comes out how little the gasstation owner tries to pay him for a month’s work. Mean Johnny Barrows is not what you would really call an action film, even though that is generally what most consider Blaxploitation films to be – however, if you’re patient enough and can dig on the crime elements as much as I did you’ll be treated to some “cool” crime oriented shootings and plot twists in the third act of the film. The double shotgun shooting rampage that Williamson goes on at one point is worth the price of admission alone, giving the film a healthy dose of bloody violence at the tail end. Blood definitely goes a long way, but hey, there’s even a kiss of death in here to keep up with all the other Godfather influenced mafia cliches. I live for this sort of stuff!

So in the end, is Mean Johnny Barrows worth your time? You bet it is. Generally anything with Fred Williamson is going to be worth your time but you throw in a cleverly scripted mafia story featuring as many betrayals and cheesy genre cliches as you can shake a stick at – and you’ve got a winner. The last act of the film shows Fred in classic form, delivering some outstanding lines before putting an end to several mafiosos. They all have it coming through! Williamson drops the hammer (ZING!) and has never been more cool. His character and the arch that he is on seems to bend slightly to the will of the movie rather than being a fully natural growth but by the end of the film everything comes together just fine. I’m not going to say it’s the best of the blaxploitation genre or even Williamson’s best – but I don’t feel bad about calling it a classic at all. I give it a four out of five, which is probably exceptionally high for this film – but I enjoyed it thoroughly and see it as a film deserving of a larger audience. It’s a mostly serious, sometimes wacky and all times entertaining crime story about a man coming to terms with his own violent past and his search for happiness. It’s probably a high three rather than a four, but until I make a three and half rating, the four will serve its place.



Sweet Sweetback’s Badasssss Song

Posted by JoshSamford On July - 30 - 2008
The Plot: Sweetback is a young African American entertainer at what appears to look like some form of brothel/cabaret that takes place in someone’s living room. Well, after being escorted around one night by a couple of crooked white cops who pick up a young black kid and proceed to beat him unmerciful. Sweetback, unable to deal with seeing a young black man being treated in such a way he retaliates to the police and proceeds to half-kill them. Now Sweetback is wanted by the law and with no where to hang, he must simply: run!




The Review: Sometimes being the first in something will carry you quite a long way. You’re not really held to any standards yet when you’re inventing a genre. The films of Bruce Lee never had the stunning choreography of Yuen Woo Ping or many filmmakers who came much later. Sure, but his charisma is what carried those films and great storytelling were also integral in the success of Enter the Dragon. Black Christmas didn’t push the slasher subgenre further than many later films would do – but it relied on a great premise and the delivery of suspense. Sweet Sweetback’s Badassss Song is definitely one of the first of what we might consider the “blaxploitation” genre – but unlike the previously mentioned films – what is it that Sweetback has to offer? Not simply in comparison to the many great films that the genre would later produce – but I have found that many tend to share my opinion that while Sweetback certainly helped give birth to and influence the work of many independent young African American filmmakers throughout the seventies – it lacks in so many departments that it simply isn’t the sort of film you can bare to watch all too often. Working more like a film of the French New Wave told through the eyes of an oppressed young black man; the film is often needlessly stylized and comes off as slightly pretentious. It’s hard to completely deride the film, since who am I really? I surely didn’t start any subgenre of cinema that grossed millions and influenced the world – but I can’t lie and say that I was theroughly impressed with Sweet Sweetback simply because of the influence the film has had instead of the actual character of the film.

Watching the film, it comes off as if Melvin Van People’s wrote the script certainly with the idea that he would be playing the lead – and that since that was the case he might as well portray his character with as few flaws as possible and as superhuman as they could get away with. Although he does take a few punches in the film, for the most part when the character of Sweet Sweetback isn’t running – he is either knocking out a cop with very little effort or bringing women to orgasm without so much as a thrust of his pelvis. Aside from the displays of his amazing fighting skills and incomprehensible sexual prowess, Peoples does show his character as a testament to perseverance and a fighter of police brutality. These are good things, and I realize/hope that this was the main intent of the film. I’m sure in its time it provided hope and a character that young African Americans could look up to; which is likely the reason it became as popular as it did. Also being such a new thing surely didn’t hurt. However, as it is today it is such a hard film to try and sit through. Featuring scene after scene of random shots of the city, with Sweetback running down streets or across railroad tracks with the very repetitive theme song playing in the background. Then, eventually we somehow stumble into a new mini-story with Sweetback wandering into a location and either laying a chick or fighting a cop/being shot at. There are also the times where Sweetback runs into someone who proceeds to give a long monolauge of advice or simply swear words. This looks like perhaps improv meant to expose a few talents; but it just gives the film an even more fragmented feel – which doesn’t even seem possible.

Sweet Sweeback’s Badassss Song is an oddball flick that should be seen simply because of the cinematic relevance of it, but I won’t lie and say it is anywhere near a favorite film of mine. It is enjoyable if you sit back and take the whole feel of the picture into account and enjoy that. Just be prepared, as the film doesn’t feature a solid narrative and plays out like the editor wanted the film to feel like an acid trip. Lines of dialogue are repeated over and over again while the same sequence is shown in repeated camera angles with fades and effects layered over it. For what reason, your guess is as good as mine. Melvin Van Peoples probably has many reasons behind everything he did in the film, but these things aren’t always evident to the viewer. I give the film a rating of two, because sometimes will carry you a way – but really; if the content of the film isn’t up to the reputation it carries then the distance it will carry you can only be so far.



Black Shampoo

Posted by On July - 30 - 2008
The Plot: Mr. Johnathan (no last name needed) is a hairdresser, who loves the ladies. He essentially lays just about all of his clients, and is the man around town all the women folk are just dying to get their hands on. After sleeping with a gaggle of women to start our film, Johnathan apparently meets his match in Brenda the new receptionist at the salon. However, when Brenda’s old flame finds her things get real ugly. See, Brenda used to date the head of a crime family and now that he wants her back; it seems she’s going to have to leave the salon. Johnathan promises her he’ll protect her – and when the mob goons break into HIS salon and trash the place – things go from personal… to deadly!


The Review: I’m going to start this review off by offending many readers out there by asking a question: you ever hear that song by The Bloodhound Gang “I Wish I Was Queer, So I could Get Chicks”? The song is about a man who pretends to be a homosexual in order to hook up with women, so of course the ladies hang out with gay guys all day long – so if you could fool the ladies into thinking you in fact loved the fellas; you could conceivably play up the friend role before springing the “more than friends” role on her. Well, Black Shampoo apparently shows this line of thinking to not only be correct – but indeed the greatest idea man has ever possibly conceived. See, the character of Johnathan isn’t gay – doesn’t act gay – but his job? Way gay. When I think of hairdressers, generally the ones that I have known have all been so far out of the closet they are in the driveway. Get it? Closet… driveway… differrent area of the house?… regardless, this film has inspired me. I thought for a while there the reason I was getting no play from the ladies was simply because I don’t speak to them and when they approach me I can hardly mutter a coherent sentence. What has been missing though is a much easier fix. Hair cutting prowess! I wouldn’t know the difference between a beehive and a perm but that’s soon to change! I’ve enrolled at a beauty college and if this site is not here in three months time – you’ll know I’m rollin’ in the deep seas of feminine sexual deviancy! However, if I’m still here we can all assume I still have no life or ladies – such is the way things are.

However, no matter how much I look to prepare – I honestly don’t see myself getting the whole “black Lou Ferrigno” look that Mr. Johnathan carries so well. I mean really, if the guy was green he could have been The Hulk’s stunt double – just as long as he didn’t have to take his shirt off of course; as Johnathan isn’t quite as ripped as old Lou but he’s certainly a buff dude for sure. I might could sway that but my ability to grow an Afro is unlikely. The basic premise of Black Shampoo is a pretty insane one, about as insane as these past paragraphs – but even more insane. Mr. Johnathan essentially spends the first twenty minutes of the film nailing as many chicks as he possibly can and the height of awesome is reached as he visits a “customer” who is looking to get her hair fixed on a house call. So here’s good old Johnathan being greeted by the daughter of said “customer”, who both look impossibly young (I hope they were 18!). The girls take Johnathan by the ppol whilst flirting with him hard and heavy, before dropping the payload as they claim “you know, we’ve shared a guy before! Twice!”. Whoa nelly, we have liftoff! The girls begin to stick their head in his lap and rub his body down before Mommy Dearest comes out to bullwhip the girls for attacking their guest. Next thing to happen? Mommy’s lifting her dress and riding his lap by the pool in front of the girls to show them how it’s done. WHAT!? How can this not be a porno? Soon enough, once the mob gets involved however – all the fun stuff comes to a halt. Then we get the violence! Okay, well, there’s a lot of set-up before the conclusion to the film but by the end of this process we’re treated to some fun stuff such as a hair curler shoved right up someone’s anus! Does it get much better than that? I think not!

I’ve read good and I’ve read bad aboutBlack Shampoo. Director Greydon Clark has some less than notable films under his belt, but ever since seeing his film The Bad Bunch I have been very interested in his work. Black Shampoo solidifies my view of him. Whether it’s bad, good, well meaning, exploitive – Greydon Clark makes interesting films. That doesn’t mean they’re going to be Godfather II, but his drive-in flare seems to hit all the right notes with me. I gave a pretty flamingly bad review for The Bad Bunch a few years back but I’ve grown to appreciate it over time – and Black Shampoo caught my liking with just the first viewing. It is by no means a “great”, you can read this review and figure out we’re talking exploitation here and you won’t be sucked in over the mesmorizing character development – but it gets the job done. John Daniels plays the character of Johnathan with enough flare that he isn’t mundane and turns out to be a lot of fun. Tany Boyd helps stabalize the film in the leading female role and is probably the strongest of the performances – but I watch the film and I see Greydon Clark and I see a film that makes me happy. It’s goofy, it’s fun and we all know Johnathan isn’t even talkative enough to be such a beloved individual with all of womenkind – but who cares; all the more reason to enjoy the work. You might think I’m crazy, giving the film a four out of five – when for some reason it’s a two out of ten on the IMDB – but if you like your drive-in exploitation as genre-dependent as they come then this will leave you entertained and then some. Seriously though, a two out of ten? What ARE the people on that site smoking?




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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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