Spaghetti Frenzy

April 15th, 2007

Being a Spaghetti Western fan is tough work, once you’ve gone through the rather limited selection of DVDs available in the UK/USA you’ve got to start importing discs from Europe or Japan – especially with boxsets, trying to find one with English options and no repeated films can really be a chore. So when I heard about this new set from Italy, with five great looking and sounding films, all with English soundtracks – all five of which are not available anywhere else on DVD – not to mention English subtitled interviews and bonus features, I thought I was dreaming, but I wasn’t, and I duly ordered and reviewed the complete set, and very good it was too:

The Pistole Non Discutono Western Collection – fully reviewed!

Emanuelle and Emmaneulle – from art to sleaze!

April 5th, 2007

A quartet of all new reviews for you today, and all of them of a distinctly adult nature:

Emmanuelle (1974)  – the original softcore film from the masters of erotica – the French, although rather a disappointment with a slow and poorly placed plot. A first look at the upcoming Optimum UK DVD of this film, uncut for the first time in the UK.

Black Emanuelle’s Box (1976/7) – this trio of films from the very unofficial Black Emanuelle series, starring Laura Gemser, runs the gambit from softcore nunsploitation, to some very sleazy almost hardcore antics. An all new boxset from Severin Films USA.

No news is good news!

March 28th, 2007

Sorry its been a while between updates but I’ve not been napping. There are 6 new reviews sitting on my hard drive waiting to be uploaded along with a brand new Guide, and I just unexpectedly received some exciting preview discs which I’ll be reviewing over the next few days.

I have been trying to keep on top of the DVD announcements from the various cult companies. There are some more trashy exploitation films coming from Dark Sky, and a couple of new titles announced by Severin. The latest news on the BCI Naschy discs is that the first two titles will street in May with the rest of the collection to follow in the future. Read more at my Upcoming Pages.
There have also been some surprising announcements from the majors, most notably the Cult Camp Classics collection from WB, including a peplum and some classic airborn disaster movies, the potential for future releases in this series seem boundless and there are already rumours of a Hallowe’en horror boxset coming later in the year. Read more at DVD Times.

Ferdinando Baldi retrospective

March 16th, 2007

From his early days directing sword and sandal pepla, to being the only Western director to voluntarily shoot a film in North Korea, Ferdinando Baldi should be one of the best known Euro-cult directors, but has slipped into almost complete obscurity, known now only for his interesting selection of Spaghetti Western titles – which are sadly some of the only titles of his currently available on DVD.

Using some of the few available resources to learn more about this director, we present the all new Mondo Esoterica Guide to Ferdinando Baldi, including all new reviews of Blindman (1971) and Little Rita nel West (1967), as well as updated reviews of his other films…

Five Golden Dragons (1967)

February 27th, 2007

Our prime directive here at Mondo Esoterica is to bring reviews of obscure films, and obscure DVDs, that no other websites offer. We may be accused of losing our way a little recently (surely no-one can call Airport (1970) obscure?) but here is a little something to make it all better!

Five Golden Dragons is a completely overlooked film, despite its cast list boasting Klaus Kinski, Christopher Lee and Brian Donlevy – plus a barrage of other well known actors from mainstream and cult cinema. Shot in Hong Kong it is a well made Edgar Wallace thriller, with plenty of surprises. It comes on a neat little DVD from Italy that has a superb print and great sounding English audio (with no forced subtitles). I recommend both the film and the DVD, but check out the review for lots more.

The Fu Manchu Collection (1965-69)

February 24th, 2007

Released without much attention outside of Germany last year was this five disc boxset from Kinowelt containing all five of the Fu Manchu films produced by Harry Alan Towers and starring Christopher Lee.

Full review with loads of background information: Dr. Fu Man Chu Collection

You can also check out a brand new Mondo Esoterica Guide, to producer Harry Alan Towers.

Emmanuelle (1974) coming soon to DVD

February 22nd, 2007

On April 23rd, Optimum UK are releasing the classic Emmanuelle – the “original” soft-core porn film, onto DVD. Not currently available on English language DVD, and previously censored in the UK, the film is being released fully uncut and includes a new 30 minute interview with director Just Jaeckin and the film’s producer, as well as the original French trailer.

The film is presented in anamorphic 1.66:1 ratio and retains the soft-focus feel of the original print with a good transfer. Sadly, only the English language dub track is provided, instead of the more subtle French language track that was included on the earlier Anchor Bay US release of the film.

A full review of this film, and many of its contemporaries will follow closer to the release date.

The People that Time Forgot (1977) mini-review

February 18th, 2007

People that Time Forgot

The People that Time Forgot (1977) was the direct sequel to the late Amicus adventure film The Land that Time Forgot (1975) and based on the book of the same name by American author Edgar Rice Burroughs.

It tells of an expedition, lead by Major Ben McBride (Patrick Wayne), thats set out to track down Bowen Tyler (Doug McClure) who was left trapped on the lost island at the end of the first film, and had put his journal and a description into a canister and thrown it into the sea. A group set out in a plane to fly over the island to look for signs of Tyler, but they are attacked by a flying creature, and forced to ditch. Three of the group head off and meet a native woman who was taught by Tyler, and tells them that he has been captured by the island’s most advanced tribe…..

The People that Time Forgot is far more exciting and enjoyable than the first film, with some a gripping storyline – unfortunately the pacing does seem very off in places, so we get some very long human vs. dinosaur sequences that really drag the film out, while some of the key plot points are hurried over. Burrough’s notions of metamorphosis and evolution that were briefly described in the first film, are simply overlooked here. Filmed on location in the Canary Islands, the film does look very good, and the advanced tribe with their pseudo-feudal-Japanese costumes are very sinister as is their mountain lair, although the soundtrack is rather sparse, certainly not as effective as the strange Mike Vickers score for At the Earth’s Core (1976).

There is an interesting mix of cast present. Patrick Wayne (who looks a lot like a young Terence Hill!) is well cast as the hero, while frequent Hammer star Thorley Walters plays well as the eccentric scientist (although they cannot recreate the superb double-bill of McClure and Cushing in Earth’s Core). Doug McClure himself gets little more than an extended cameo, but is obviously putting in some good effort. A duo of pretty girls, the very attractive Sarah Douglas and the amazingly scantily clad Dana Gillespie, look good in their roles, while the rest of the cast put on good shows – look out for several bit part Star Wars (1977) actors, and the big man, David Prowse in a small role.

An entertaining, if rather simple script, some good looking, if rather poorly paced direction and a generally solid cast make this an above average family friendly adventure film that comes recommended (although watch The Land that Time Forgot (1975) first to make more sense of it all).

The film is available on good looking DVDs in the UK/Europe and the USA from MGM. IMDB. DVD Rewind. Look out for a full DVD review later this year.

The Django Italo-Western Collection

February 16th, 2007

We’re back to basics with a trio of Spaghetti Western reviews, this time, a rather impressive German Django boxset from Koch Media.

FULLY REVIEWED

Plus, the Spaghetti Western guide page has had a few new tweaks.

And now a word from our sponsors!

February 10th, 2007

No, not really, just something to help pay the bills.

Mondo Esoterica, and my source site r-t-c.co.uk have been hosted for 2 years now by Dreamhost, with minimal downtime and great amounts of bandwidth and webspace for about £60 a year. Plus friendly customer service and a very easy to use online panel.
So… if you plan on getting some webspace and plan to use Dreamhost, why not save a little money – as you sign up, enter the discount code MONDO25 and you will save a full US$25 on the first year of any contract. Rather swish eh?! And even better, we here at Mondo Esoterica will make a few pennies to keep those obscure DVDs coming!

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Editor’s note – don’t worry, we are not about to start advertising on the site, I’m going to keep it banner free, and obviously I recommend you shop around before buying web hosting – but if you plan to use Dreamhost, enter the discount code and we all win!

Thanks for listening – normal service will resume shortly…