Archive for the ‘Site Updates’ Category

Titles you can understand

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

Don’t worry, there will be new reviews by the end of the week…

Until then, check out the menu screens. Yep, I’ve redone the titles so that instead of using the DVD titles as before, films are known by their ‘common’ titles. So no more Bestien lauern vor Caracas instead of The Lost Continent. The review pages for these films have also been changed so that the titles are generally consistent throughout the site.
Of course deciding what to call the Spaghetti Westerns is still a bit of a challenge, Italian or English titles? Generally I have gone with which ever sounded best. English titles if they are commonly used or the Italian titles for the more obscure films.Hopefully this all makes sense, please browse around and let me know if you think any titles should be changed.

On a similar topic, I am aware that the site does not look best on monitors above 1024 * 768. I will be making some more formatting changes over the next few months. Suggestions are of course welcome.

The Legend of the Three Peplumators

Saturday, January 19th, 2008

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If you hadn’t guessed, we’ve got more Peplum reviews up today, this time from the Historical Peplum field. Read and enjoy:

The Colossus of Rhodes – Sergio Leone’s directoral debut starts slowly but provides some genuinely awesome spectacle and is certainly worth watching.

Messalina – Based, loosely, on real history this is a very unusual film, more akin to a Shakespeare play than a Peplum, with not much action and loads of court intrigue and murder. Worth checking out.

Gladiators 7 – a rather generic, but enjoyable adventure film set in Sparta, with Richard Harrison in the lead role. Genre fans should check this one out.

So, this takes us up to 11 Peplum reviews and there are plenty more to come, keep watching this blog! As usual, comments, corrections and suggestions are more than welcome, via e-mail or the comments form below.

Soledad Miranda sampler

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

Jess Franco, you either love his films or hate his films and even his most ardent fans will admit that he is at best unpredictable in his output.

Often most highly spoken of was his tragically short lived union with the beautiful Spanish actress Soledad Miranda. Today we take a sampler of their work with one of the best and one of the worst of Franco’s films:

Vampyros Lesbos – undoubtedly on of Franco’s best, this genuinely erotic and mysterious Dracula riff is highly recommended.

Nightmares Come at Night – probably one of his worst there is nothing here to keep you interested and even the beautiful Soledad makes a mere cameo appearance.

I’ll be covering lots more Franco later on in the year with a particular look at his three favourite women…

Steve Reeves: Peplum Icon

Sunday, December 30th, 2007

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Stunningly handsome, amazingly muscle-bound Steve Reeves is without a doubt the hero of the Peplum and our guide to the genre would be useless without a biography of the actor.

So, to round off 2007 in style, here is the all new Mondo Esoterica Guide to Steve Reeves.

We also have all brand reviews of three of Reeves’ best performances:

Throw away your PD discs, all three titles are available on great looking German DVDs and look out for even more Peplum entertainment in 2008!

A Spaghetti Western please, and make it a double…

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

There really is no rest for the wicked. Mondo Esoterica is back in action with two all new reviews.

Sadly neither of these titles comes recommended, but for Spaghetti Western fans it makes another two to add to the list of English friendly DVDs, and both films are more than watchable:

W Django (1972) РAnthony Steffen is the star of this clich̩ genre entry, for years relegated to awful looking bootlegs, it now boasts a beautiful anamorphic 2.35:1 print.

Pistol for 100 Coffins (1968) – Peter Lee Lawrence is the star and Umberto Lenzi directs, but the film simply doesn’t gel with lots of missed opportunities. The print from X-rated is not the best, but at least there are no forced subs.

This takes our Spaghetti Western review count up to 42, and rest assured I have a shelf of genre titles awaiting review in 2008. Don’t forget to check out the Mondo Esoterica Guide to the Spaghetti Western for links to all the reviews and more.

Black Emanuelle’s Second Box…

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

The stunning Laura Gemser with the incomparable smouldering beauty of Ely Galleani in Emanuelle and the White Slave Trade (1978) the last of the Joe D’Amato Black Emanuelle series, and with its recent release from Severin USA, the chance to complete the collection of all five titles.

For more information on this, and two other lesser seen erotic films from the 1970s, check out the all new full review of: Black Emanuelle’s Box Volume 2

Fear not, there will be more from the delectable Ms Gemser next year, with a full review of the ultra-sleazy duo of Emanuelle in America and Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals plus a detailed biography.

Stay tuned to Mondo-Esoterica for some more reviews to round off 2007…!

Lucio Fulci

Sunday, December 9th, 2007

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Many people dismiss Fulci as a mere gore loving hack, but it is clear that they have not seen his early Giallo films. Between 1969 and 1977 he shot 4 of these murder mystery films.

Severin have recently obliged by releasing Seven Notes in Black (1977), while Blue Underground have recently re-released Don’t Torture a Duckling (1972). Read the all new full reviews. Nothing more to say about these films here, except that for Giallo and Fulci fans, they are both must haves.

If you want to learn more about Fucli himself, I have written an all new, and thoroughly exclusive 2,500 word biography of the director: Lucio Fulci

Watch out for more Fulci reviews, including the rest of his Gialli, his classic horror titles, and some of his lesser later work early next year.

Nuns and Guns – the early films of Lucio Fulci

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

We know him today for such gory excesses as Zombi 2 (1979) and City of the Living Dead (1981). However, Fulci was making films since the end of the 1950s, and covered many of the popular genres of the day. Most of his early works are comedies that were never released outside Italy, and are sadly unavailable on English language DVD. However, Severin USA in November did release his later comedy The Senator Likes Women (1972), part rude-comedy, part strong political satire, it is very enjoyable and a great looking DVD.

In between the comedies, Fulci directed a Spaghetti Western, Massacre Time (1966). Not boasting the most original plot, it does have some shocking brutality that teases of Fulcis’ later work, not to mention a solid pairing of Franco Nero and George Hilton. The Italian DVD is not great, but it is the best currently available.

Stay tuned next weekend for a Fulci Giallo double bill, with a look at Severin’s other recent release, The Psychic (1978) and the Blue Underground DVD of his grim Don’t Torture a Duckling (1972). I will also be presenting an all new and highly detailed biography of this notorious director.

An all action Alistair MacLean double-bill

Saturday, November 24th, 2007

Now here is an interesting contrast of films. Two films based on popular Alistair MacLean novels, made within two years of each other, both starring upcoming actors in the lead roles with some well known supporting casts, and both helmed by lesser known directors. The difference comes therefore in the writing – Fear is the Key was scripted by Robert Carrington, while Eight Bells Toll is adapted for the screen by MacLean himself. Both films follow a similar pattern with the adaption, basing the script strongly on the book with some trimming for time, however MacLean shows infinitely more talent in doing this than Carrington, who leaves Fear is the Key with a mess of storylines, that is almost incomprehensible, and completely loses the Nihlistic tones of the book. Fortunately the film is saved by one of the best car chase sequences in cinema.

I have to admit to surprise over this result, many other writers have trouble cutting their works for the screen, getting rather too attached to the storylines. Hammer’s Quatermass and the Pit (1967) is a perfect example, with Nigel Kneale attempting to cram his 3 hour teleplay into a 90 minute film, leaving it overly rushed and chaotic.

Both of these films have been released with little flair but good looking prints in R2 land, and are now fully reviewed:

Eight Bells Toll (1971)

Fear is the Key (1972)

Chase a Crooked Shadow

Sunday, November 4th, 2007

Optimum UK have a very mixed record on their DVD releases, with many titles being simple re-issues of existing discs, frequently changing release dates and a complete lack of publicity for many of their releases. However, every so often there is a gem, and the new British Thrillers collection released on Monday contains two. Fear is the Key (1972), an Alistair MacLean adventure film (review coming soon), and this film Chase a Crooked Shadow (1957), a two rather little known titles and completely unavailable on DVD before, they both get good looking (if barebones) prints.

The film is enjoyable, and very reminiscent of the Hammer thrillers of the early 1960s and comes recommended to fans of this time.

Check out the full review: Chase a Crooked Shadow