Bruno Mattei Westerns

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)

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

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)

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

Another Spaghetti double from Wild East

July 31st, 2009

The summer burns long and the Westerns just keep on coming.

The latest double bill release from Wild East is an incredibly obscure pairing, but one well worth tracking down for genre fans. Made in the same year, by the same director and with many of the same cast, Kill or be Killed is a very traditional film, clearly showing its American influences – Kill the Wickeds is however a pure dose of Spaghetti – harsh, brutal and horror tinged. The pairing provides a fascinating look at how the genre evolved in the mid-1960s.

Wild East have done a good job with the prints here, although sadly KobK does have some audio problems – certainly not enough to stop this set being recommended to Spaghetti Western fans though.

Gianni Garko is Sartana

July 24th, 2009

Wild West Summer continues with two new Spaghetti Western reviews – a look at Gianni Garko’s ‘Sartana’ series:

Buon funerale, amigos!… paga Sartana (1970)

Light the Fuse… Sartana Is Coming (1971)

Plus, the first of several exclusive biographies coming during the summer – Gianni Garko.

Don’t Turn the Other Cheek (1971)

July 15th, 2009

Wild West Summer begins with our 50th Spaghetti Western review, the Franco Nero comedy Don’t Turn the Other Cheek

Stay tuned throughout July and August for all new Western reviews and features.

Amanti d’oltretomba (1965)

July 6th, 2009

Severin’s latest is a classic of the Gothic Horror genre – not the most original title by far, but so well written and directed that it hardly matters.

Severin’s DVD includes a revelation of a print, fully restored from the original negative (see the comparison pic. in the review) and with an all new 30 minute interview with Barbara Steele.

Read the full review of Nightmare Castle

Mummy Madness

July 1st, 2009

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New today, a look at three of Hammer’s Mummy films:

Lets get this train rolling

July 1st, 2009

Howdy blog readers.

It has been far too long since the last update, so lets get this train rolling again.

I’ve got three newly published reviews for you today and this weekend I’ve got two hot newly released titles, freshly reviewed.

We’ll be getting back into the flow during July and August, building up to the return of Horror September with a very cool theme this year. So stay tuned…