Archive for August, 2009

Bruno Mattei Westerns

Friday, August 21st, 2009

Wild West Summer goes seriously esoteric with a look at two Westerns created by Italian exploitation veteran Bruno Mattei in the late 1980s.

A decade after the Spaghetti Western demised, these two films show a strange mix of influences, combining exploitation gore (and lots of it in Scalps especially) with some surprisingly enjoyable and well paced storylines and good looking direction.

Recommended to Euro-cult fans looking for something different, Bianco Apache (1986) and Scalps, venganza india (1987) are available on good looking Spanish DVDs, with English audio.

Door into Silence (1991)

Monday, August 17th, 2009

With his career slipping away, Lucio Fulci jumped at Joe D’Amato’s offer to make a film, little knowing it would be his last.

Door into Silence is not classic Fulci and in fact is not recognisable as Fulci at all with only the New Orleans setting to bring to mind his classic The Beyond (1981). Still the script does have a few interesting ideas and Fulci collectors will certainly be interested in Severin’s good looking new DVD, marking the film’s first US release.

DEFA Films present the Indianerfilm

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

Wild West Summer takes a real esoteric twist with a look at the Westerns with a Twist boxset, three films from the East German DEFA’s studio’s answers to the West German Karl May Western series. Politically influenced with a strong anti-US feel, the films were the first to have Native Americans as the lead characters and were all based on the real stories of the oppressed tribes.

Certainly of interest to fans of obscure cinema and Western fans in general.

Harry Alan Towers (1920-2009)

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

We take a break from the Wild West to pay tribute to one of the unsung icons of Euro-cult cinema.

British born producer Harry Alan Towers, who died last week, was behind a huge number of films, from the Fu Manchu series starring Christopher Lee, to a number of classic soft-core cable porn films in the 1980s. His most important contribution to cult cinema however came in 1968 when he ‘discovered’ the Spanish director Jess Franco and hired him for the four Fu Manchu film.

That film was not to prove a success, but together, Franco and Towers began to explore the limits of film making at the time, looking to the works of the Marquis de Sade to make unprecedented films like Eugenie: The story of her journey into Perversion (1970). Franco only worked with Towers for a few years, but this time set him on the course that he would follow for the rest of his career.

As a tribute to Towers, I have taken a look at Skeleton Coast, a typical example of his 1980s output and a clear demonstration of his key philosopy – that having big names in the cast, even in tiny roles, will sell a film far better than money spent on scripting or effects.

You can also read more in our guide to Harry Alan Towers