Monday, 22 December 2014

BLOOD THIRST (USA/Philippines 1971) [REVIEW]

aka BLOOD SEEKERS / THE HORROR FROM BEYOND




Director Newt Arnold
Producer Newt Arnold
Executive Producer Michael “Dupont”/Du Pont
Writer N.I.P. Dennis
Director of Photography Hermo Santos
Post-Production Supervisor Lee Osborne
Editing Supervisor “Tony”/Anthony DiMarco

Cast
Robert Winston (Adam Rourke), Katherine Henryk, Yvonne Nielson, Vic Diaz (Captain Miguel), Vic Silayan, Eddie Infante, Bruno Punzalan, Judy Dennis, Max “Rojo”/Roio, Ching Tello, Minda Morena, Isidro Francisco, Felix Marfil



by JACK J

Young, beautiful women are being bumped off by a mysterious killer in the vicinity of a nightclub in downtown Manilla. The head of police (played by a young and less plumb Vic Diaz) runs to the phone and calls an American detective friend (played by Robert Wilson Mercy) who has specialised in mysterious killers who bump off beautiful, young women. The American friend arrives and soon after goes under cover as a writer with an interest in bumped off beaut... well, you get the point.

He also runs into the police chief's sister (unavoidable romance ensues), local goons, scantly clad nightclub dames (relatively scantly clad anyway. The film was probably made in the 60s altho not released until '71), and eventually a monster so diabolical your blood will freeze and you'll be tossing and turning because of the nightmares you'll be getting (I'm exaggerating by a million). Half of the film is set in the nightclub, the dialogue is aplenty, and the action and horror scenes kept to a minimum.



BLOOD THIRST is by no means a great film. Not even if we only compared it to other Filipino horror films. But I liked it and thought it had its charm.

The film has a laid back obscureness to it that I though was cool. Also, the film being so old, made way before the American-Filipino coproductions we're so familiar with from Roger Corman (i.e. mostly made in the 70s), makes for an interesting watch.

The fact that the actors are unfamiliar faces (except Vic Diaz who was probably in every Filipino film made in the 60s and 70s!!!) makes it almost seem like it's from another Philippines. Bizarro Philippines. And just who was Scandinavian sounding Yvonne Nielson??

I liked the crisp black & white look as well - and not least the cool jazz score thru out the film. And with a running time of just over 70 minutes it doesn't overstay its welcome.



THE DVD:

I watched Vinegar Syndrome's release from their "Drive-In Collection" series. The film is backed with another US-Filipino film called THE THIRSTY DEAD. Both films have also been released by Something Weird Video. VS's print is from a 35mm print presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and it looks fantastic!

There's a wee bit of noise and worn print around reel ends but that's alright and if nothing else means the film wasn't shot on fucking video. The SWV dvd is presented fullscreen and it's definitely not the way you wanna watch the film once you've seen the print from VS! Neither release carries any extras related to the film.



Andrew Leavold also reviewed the film on his blog and had this piece of interesting titbit to say:

"Robert Wilson Mercy, the smug big-chinned former stuntman and bit player who plays our Ugly American hero, has made his presence felt on the net recently, leaving some outrageous claims in unsuspecting chatrooms: that he made more lost films in the Philippines with director Newt Arnold, who he describes as one-eyed and with a malformed hand; that he was offered the role of James Bond in a serious version of Casino Royale – but he was making a B-film in Manila at the time and couldn’t get out of the contract; and that he’s stalking the producers of the next Bond film offering his services as Daniel Craig’s nemesis. I say to Robert Wilson Mercy: the world may have gotten Woody Allen as James Bond instead, but we still have your career’s crowning glory, the 1971 Blood Thirst."

I'd love to find out what other films Newt Arnold directed in the Philippines and where they are now. Are they lost? Did they get finished? Have they been screened anywhere?



You'll find a better and more incisive review here.



The credits list is borrowed from Andrew Leavold's blog.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

NIGHT OF THE COBRA WOMAN dvd from Scorpion Records

When I posted about new DVD releases of American-Filipino coproductions the other day I forgot this one, NIGHT OF THE COBRA WOMAN, - maybe because it's not released from Vinegar Syndrome (like the other five) but instead it's out on Scorpion Records (run by Code Red's Bill Olson's brother).


NIGHT OF THE COBRA WOMAN (1972) is yet another Roger Corman produced flick shot in the 'Pines. Until this release the film had only been released on VHS. I haven't got the new DVD yet but according to one online source the DVD is pretty good, and it's got a few great extras on it; There are new interviews with Marlene Clark, who plays the main character, and Roger Corman. The trailer is also included and the film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1.


"Queen of Black Magic" director dies

According to Ekky Imanjaya over at Finding Jaka Sembung blog, Lilik Sudjio, the director of the cool Indonesian horror film QUEEN OF BLACK MAGIC (starring Suzzanna) has passed away. This is sad news indeed. To read his post go here.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

THE MUTHERS from Vinegar Syndrome!

A few minutes after I had just posted the previous post about the five Filipino movies from Vinegar Syndrome I check their facebook page and, lo and behold, someone just posted the news that they'll be releasing yet another American-Filipino coproduction soon!!

The film is Cirio H. Santiago's THE MUTHERS from 1976.

The film has already been released on DVD in Australia a couple of years back. It was included as a bonus on the 2-disc release of MACHETE MAIDENS UNLEASHED doc on US-Filipino coproductions (check my old post about it here). According to the post on fb the DVD is slated for March, 2015.






I would have posted the trailer here but I can't find a copy anywhere! So instead here's the way cool Japanese VHS cover! (which I found at Video Culture. Thanks, mates!).

5 Filipino cult movies from Vinegar Syndrome...

...and one of them is a blu-ray/dvd combo release of RAW FORCE!!!


The new(ish) American video label Vinegar Syndrome has put out no less than five cool American-Filipino coproductions in the last few months!!!

The first four films came out as two double DVD releases and the last one, RAW FORCE, has been granted a blu-ray/DVD combo release! (Yay!! Spiffy!!!) Needless to say, this is pretty fucken awesome.

Only two of the films have had official DVD releases in the past (BLOOD THIRST and THE THIRSTY DEAD came out from Something Weird Video), the latter three have so far been VHS releases only (yes, you'll find DVDs if you look for 'em but they are ALL bootlegs taken from old video releases!). 


THE FILMS:
(I haven't got hold of any of these releases yet and all info is from the Vinegar Syndrome website)

DEATH FORCE
- aka Vengeance is Mine
(directed by Cirio H. Santiago, 1978)

Presented uncut and under its original title, VENGEANCE IS MINE!
110 minutes / Color / AR: 1.85:1



VAMPIRE HOOKERS
(Cirio H. Santiago, 1978)

79 minutes / Color / AR: 1.85:1
+ Dual Layer DVD-9 | Region Free | 16:9 Anamorphic | 1.85:1 AR | MONO
+ 2k scan from 35mm IPs
+ Original trailer VAMPIRE HOOKERS



BLOOD THIRST
(Newt Arnold, 1971)

74 minutes / B&W / AR: 1.85:1


THE THIRSTY DEAD
(Terry Becker, 1974)

88 minutes / Color / AR: 1.85:1
+ Dual Layer DVD-9 | Region Free | 16:9 Anamorphic | 1.85:1 AR | MONO
+ 2k scan from 35mm archival elements



RAW FORCE
(Ed Murphy, 1981)

86 minutes / 1981 / Color / 1.85:1
Newly restored from the original camera negative and on blu-ray for the first time.
+ Blu-ray & DVD Combo Pack | Region Free | DTS-HD Master Audio
+ Restored from 35mm camera negative
+ “Destination: Warriors Island” (The Making of RAW FORCE) w/ Director Ed Murphy and Cinematographer Frank Johnson
+ Audio interview w/ Finishing Editor Jim Wynorski
+ Original theatrical trailer


You'll find Andrew Leavold's review of RAW FORCE here.


DEATH FORCE 
- German Vinegar Syndrome licenced blu-ray

In addition to Vinegar Syndrome's own DVD release of DEATH FORCE the German label Subkultur Entertainment has licenced the VS print and released it as a blu-ray/DVD combo! As a bonus feature the full MACHETE MAIDENS UNLEASHED (2010) documentary film has been included!!

Unfortunately, the German release omits VAMPIRE HOOKERS so you'll still need the Vinegar Syndrome DVD for that. Also, it's limited to a 1000 copies! The VS site quotes the German info from Amazon.de so check there if you want this release.

Specs for the German DEATH FORCE release:

Both German and English tracks
German subtitles
Bonus feature length doc: MACHETE MAIDENS UNLEASHED (2010)
Grindhouse Trailershow
Filipino Exploitation Trailer Reel
Gallery
Trailer for DEATH FORCE
Booklet
Behind the Scenes Gallery



BLOOD THIRST + THE THIRSTY DEAD [VINEGAR SYNDROME DRIVE-IN COLLECTION TEASER]




DEATH FORCE (aka VENGEANCE IS MINE) + VAMPIRE HOOKERS [VINEGAR SYNDROME DRIVE-IN DOUBLE FEATURE]




RAW FORCE - Destination: Warrior's Island [VINEGAR SYNDROME TEASER TRAILER]



Mattei's FILIPINO CANNIBALS come to reg. 1 dvd

We are indeed squatting in exciting times and so it is time to put on the skull-mask and ride that flaming ghost-horse once again, uh, I mean... re-animate this slumbering blog!

Hey there, how y'all doing! "Exciting times" at least in regards to new releases of foreign films shot in the Philippines!

There's no less than five cool Filipino films on dvd (and one blu-ray) from Vinegar Syndrome, and Severin/Intervision has just released Bruno Mattei's two post 2000 cannibal movies, LAND OF DEATH and CANNIBAL WORLD, on reg. 1 DVD in the US.

The new DVDs are retitled In The Land of the Cannibals and Mondo Cannibal. They've previously been out on DVD and VHS in Japan (check my old post and see way cooler Japanese covers here).

Check Steven Ruskin's review and DVD info on AVMANIACS here. And yeah, I'll agree with Steve on the films. They're not great by anybody's standards but if you like your entertainment trashy you know what you'll get with these two films, entertaining trash. I do however think Bruno's two post 2000 zombie films and THE JAIL: A WOMAN'S PRISON are way better (they were shot in the 'Pines as well).



Sunday, 18 May 2014

Arizal - RIP


Unfortunately, I've learnt today that Indonesian film director extraordinaire ARIZAL passed away this morning. He was 71.

Arizal was an important film director to anybody who loves wild no-holds-barred world-weird action films.

He made tons of films that never made it to international shores but some of his well known films ("well known" to fans like us anyway) that were released on VHS in English dubbed form are: SPECIAL SILENCERS, FINAL SCORE, THE INTRUDER (aka Rambu), STABILIZER, and LETHAL HUNTER.

Here's an article by EVIETA FADJAR about his passing from the Indonesian online newspaper Tempo.co. I translated it with Google so don't expect a proper translation nor proper grammar. My Indonesian readers (yes, I have some) can check the original version at the bottom of the page, or you can check the original newspaper post here.


TEMPO.CO , Jakarta - Directed by Arizal , 71 years , died on May 18, 2014 at 11:00 pm . Men born Indragiri Hulu Indonesia is known as a director who is able to make films and soap operas from a variety of genres .

He has been the director of high school and Gita Love Puspa Indah Taman Hati starring Rano Karno and Yessy Gusman . Arizal also made films starring Warkop humor and became the best-selling films in the 1980s and 1990s .

After graduating from high school in New Week , Arizal continuing higher education at the University of Indonesia and then West Coast Institute of Management & Technology , Perth , Australia .

Arizal also known as a journalist . He began his career as a caricaturist in magazines Selecta . He later he joined the editorial staff at the magazine Mayapada and Panorama .

Film career began when he became assistant artistic Walt Disney cartoon at Universal Studios , Los Angeles , United States . After that in 1971 he became an assistant director on the film Hell to the chase .

In 1974 he was appointed as director of children's film Smiles and Tears . This film won the Citra award as best children's film . In the late 1970s , he made many dramatic movies .

The film Arizal , Gita Love from high school and Puspa Indah Taman Hati be one much-loved film community . In the 1980s , Arizal also working on comedies . Together Warkop group , Arizal successfully made films humor when it has not been appearing .

Some films such as smart - smart comedy Dumb and Forward Backward Kena Kena become the best-selling movie in Indonesia . Thanks to his success in comedy , director Arizal be one of the most expensive in Indonesia . His ability to make films in various genres , such as drama , comedy , and action , the lifting popularity.

In soap operas or glass screen , working Arizal Because of PT Multivision Plus in 1992-1993 with Lydia Kandouw player , Jimmy Gideon , Gideon Zion , Pitrajaya Burnama and Nani Wijaya . Then , the soap opera nonsense of PT Multivision Plus in 1993-1995 with players Nurul Arifin , Rudy Regards , Kiki Fatmala and Fuad Alkhar .

He also directed soap operas and Jun Jin from PT Multivision in 1996-2001 with players Syahrul Gunawan , Mira Asmara , Misye Arsita , Baraja and M. Fuad Amin . There are also soap operas and Miss Yul Toyol in 1997-2002 with 270 episodes Onny players all, being Slamet Joyo and Dominiq Sanda .

He also made a television commercial for Unilever soap Lux 1978 Citra Jakarta Traffic with Widyawati models . In addition, the Arizal also known as the author of the song . His work is Unread You Goda - Ernie Djohan , 1967, Why - Alfian in 1967 , the song Smiles and Tears , starring Rano Karno , 1974, the song in the movie as sincere Heart , starring Elly Tanty Yosepha & S in 1975 and the song Main Movie , starring Benjamin S in 1975.


ORIGINAL VERSION OF THE ARTICLE IN INDONESIAN:

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Sutradara Arizal, 71 tahun, meninggal pada 18 Mei 2014 pukul 11.00 Wib. Pria kelahiran Indragiri Hulu ini dikenal sebagai sutradara Indonesia yang mampu membuat film dan sinetron dari berbagai genre.

Ia pernah menjadi sutradara Gita Cinta dari SMA dan Puspa Indah Taman Hati yang dibintangi Rano Karno dan Yessy Gusman. Arizal juga membuat film-film humor yang dibintangi oleh Warkop dan menjadi film-film laris di tahun 1980-an dan 1990-an.

Setelah menamatkan SMA di Pekan Baru, Arizal melanjutkan pendidikan tingginya di Fakultas Ekonomi Universitas Indonesia dan kemudian West Coast Institute of Management & Technology, Perth, Australia.

Arizal juga dikenal sebagai wartawan. Ia memulai kariernya sebagai karikaturis di majalah Selecta. Ia kemudian ia bergabung menjadi staf redaksi di majalah Mayapada dan Panorama.

Kariernya di dunia film dimulai ketika ia menjadi asisten artistik kartun Walt Disney di Universal Studio, Los Angeles, Amerika Serikat. Setelah itu pada 1971 ia menjadi asisten sutradara pada film Pengejaran ke Neraka.

Pada 1974 ia dipercaya menjadi sutradara film anak-anak Senyum dan Tangis. Film ini meraih penghargaan Piala Citra sebagai film anak-anak terbaik. Di akhir dekade 1970, ia banyak membuat film-film drama.

Film garapan Arizal, Gita Cinta dari SMA dan Puspa Indah Taman Hati menjadi salah satu film yang banyak digemari masyarakat. Pada tahun 1980-an, Arizal juga menggarap film-film komedi. Bersama kelompok Warkop, Arizal sukses membuat film-film humor yang ketika itu belum banyak muncul.

Beberapa film komedinya seperti Pintar-pintar Bodoh dan Maju Kena Mundur Kena menjadi film terlaris di Indonesia. Berkat kesuksesannya dalam film komedi, Arizal menjadi salah satu sutradara termahal di Indonesia. Kemampuannya membuat film dalam berbagai genre, seperti drama, komedi, dan laga, semakin mengangkat popularitasnya.

Di sinetron atau layar Kaca, Arizal menggarap Gara-gara dari PT Multivision Plus pada 1992-1993 dengan pemain Lydia Kandouw, Jimmy Gideon, Sion Gideon, Pitrajaya Burnama dan Nani Wijaya. Lalu, sinetron Ada-ada Saja dari PT Multivision Plus pada 1993-1995 dengan pemain Nurul Arifin, Rudy Salam, Kiki Fatmala dan Fuad Alkhar.

Dia juga menyutradarai sinetron Jin dan Jun dari PT Multivision pada 1996-2001 dengan pemain Syahrul Gunawan, Mira Asmara, Misye Arsita, Fuad Baraja dan M. Amin. Ada juga sinetron Tuyul dan Mbak Yul pada 1997-2002 sebanyak 270 episode dengan pemain Onny Syahrial, Slamet Joyo dan Dominiq Sanda.

Ia juga membuat iklan televisi sabun Lux untuk PT Unilever 1978 Jakarta Citra Lintas dengan model Widyawati. Selain itu, Arizal juga dikenal sebagai pengarang lagu. Karyanya adalah Usah Kau Goda-Emie Djohan 1967, Mengapa-Alfian 1967, lagu Senyum dan Tangis, dibintangi Rano Karno 1974, lagu di film Setulus Hatimu yang dibintangi Tanty Yosepha & Elly S pada 1975 dan lagu Main Film, dibintangi Benyamin S pada 1975

Almarhum disemayamkan di Perum Kranggan Permai, Jalan Borobudur, Jati Sampurna, Bekasi.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

CODE RED to release Filipino post-apocalypse films





Bill Olsen has recently announced Code Red is going to release two of Roger Corman's post-apocalypse films. Great news indeed!!!

The two titles are Cirio H. Santiago's WHEELS OF FIRE (USA/Philippines, 1984) and EQUALIZER 2000 (USA/Philippines, 1987).

When the initial announcement came Bill Olsen only released info about the first film but not the second. I'm not the only one who basically creamed himself over the news that the latter is EQUALIZER 2000.
Wauw. Just fucken w-a-u-w!!! 

There is no release dates yet, nor any info on whether the films will be DVD only or Blu-ray as well. Blu-ray was mentioned on Code Red's facebook page but nothing in cement.





There's been a bit of worry among fans about which print Code Red are going to release in regards to EQUALIZER 2000, as there are cut versions out there, but Bill Olsen has stated on the CR facebook page that it is indeed the fully uncut print we'll be getting. Yay!!!

And also good to see the upcoming cover for this film is (like with WHEELS) basically the old poster art. Good on ya, Bill'o!!! 


Bill Olsen shaking hands with Roger Corman (December 7, 2013)



Sunday, 11 August 2013

Hiatus...

I've been doing blogs for the past 6 years, and before that I did fanzines for much longer, and I feel the metal fatigue. Even with the less than frequent posts on this blog I've actually kept this place afloat much longer than my other blogs. They've been floating aimlessly in Cyberspace for quite a while now and it's time to take a breather with Backyard Asia as well. Do people even read blogs any more? Hardly anybody comments on posts anymore on any of my blogs. Anyway, not the end but a breather. Be seeing you.

PS: I'm gonna turn the comments option off as I don't wish this place to be spilling over with spam. It really annoys me when that happens (I'm looking at you Worldweird Cinema blog!).

PS: Roeg Camel you're not forgotten. I'll get back to you at some stage.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Trailer for Vinegar Syndrome's upcoming dvd release of Filipino BLOOD DRINKING films

Vinegar Syndrome has just posted this trailer on their YouTube channel. The trailer for their upcoming dvd release of the two Filipino films BLOOD THIRST (1971) and THE THIRSTY DEAD (1974). I figured you'd like to see it. ^_^



Specs from Vinegar Syndrome's YouTube page:

DVD release date = 9/10/13!

Two blood drinking B-movies made by Americans in Manila!

Blood Thirst (1971)
After a series of brutal killings, an American investigator probes the violent goings on and discovers a horrifying secret.
Director: Newt Arnold
74 minutes / B&W / AR: 1.85:1

The Thirsty Dead (1974)
A sinister cult kidnaps beautiful women to use in their ghastly blood rites. Featuring Jennifer Billingsley and John Considine.
Director: Terry Becker
88 minutes / Color / AR: 1.85:1

Features Include:
+ Dual Layer DVD-9 | Region Free | 16:9 Anamorphic | 1.85:1 AR | MONO
+ 2k scan from 35mm archival elements