Monday 30 May 2011

RAW FORCE (USA/Philippines, 1982) [review]

VHS / Denmark / fullscreen / English audio / Danish subs / uncut
Tonight I watched the highly entertaining RAW FORCE for the second time. The first time was a couple of years back on Danish VHS and tonight it was on a dvd-r off the Japanese VHS. While the Japanese print couldn't look any better it is unfortunately a censored print. Not censored in that there has been made censorship cuts but that all the "underhair" (as the Japanese term is) have been digitally fogged away. Rather annoying in a film that has as much nudity as RAW FORCE (i.e. A LOT!). But otherwise the print looks great. I thought about writing a review but then I discovered Andrew has written a really good one so I'll simply re-post that one here. :D
EDIT: RAW FORCE is now on bluray in the US and the UK. 
The screen grabs are all from the Japanese VHS version. The cover scan is of the Danish ex-rental tape.

1982 – Raw Force (Ansor International Pictures)

[also released as “Kung Fu Cannibals” and “Shogun Island”]

Director/Screenplay Edward D. Murphy [Captain in Mad Doctor of Blood Island] Producer Frank E. Johnson Executive Producers Rebecca Bella, Lawrence Woolner Music Walter Murphy Director of Photography Frank E. Johnson Editor Eric Lindemann Fight Co-Ordinator Mike Stone

Cast Cameron Mitchell (Captain Harry Dodds), Geoffrey Binney (Mike O'Malley), Hope Holiday (Hazel Buck), Jillian “Kessner”/Kesner (Cookie Winchell), John Dresden (John Taylor), Jennifer Holmes (Ann Davis), Rey King [Rey Malonzo?] (Go Chin), Carla Reynolds (Eilleen Fox), Carl Anthony (Lloyd Davis), John Locke (Gary Schwartz), Mark Tanous (Cooper), Ralph Lombardi (Thomas Speer), Chanda Romero (Mayloo), Camille Keaton (Girl In Toilet), Maggie Lee (Gun Moll), Garry McClintic (Steve), John Rosselli (Male Stripper), Joe Pagliuso (Milt ), “Robert Dennis”/Dennis Edwards (Man In Toilet), Janelle Pransky (Girl With Balloons), Tony Oliver (Bill), Robert MacKenzie (Clyde), Steve Elmer (Religious Freak), Jewel Shepard (Drunk Sexpot), Michael P. Stone (Bartender), Judi Brooks (Girl With Tattoo), Edward Talbot 'Chip' Matthews (Passenger), Kurek Ashley (Drunk With Cake), Brad Barnes (Passenger), Gerry Bailey (Hood), Don Gordon (Hood), Chip Westley (Hood), Bob Campbell (Hood), Willy Schober (Hood), Maurizio Murano (Hood), Roger Capilitan (Hood), Phil Guerrero (Hood), Vic Diaz (Monk), Mike Cohen (Monk), Binney Villanueva (Monk), Bayani Balingit (Monk), Louie Florentino (Monk), Frank Aguila (Monk) Corpses Geoff Wood, Tony Beso, Frank Belgica, Jimmy Navarro, Ely Refuerzo, Nilo Fortez, Jess Bonzo, Rolly Tan Hookers Anna Torino, Evelyn Beso, Violeta Beso, Evelyn Yap, Vicky Abad, Baby Serrano, Zenaida Luciano, Nannette Caragay, May Bacosa, Sonia Cervantes Crewmen Fred Strong, George Gyenes, Jay Bumpus, Peter Schultz, Roger Searcy Girls In Cabin Mary Miller, Britt Helfer

Review by Andrew Leavold:

When your writer AND director is the old boy who played the Captain in Mad Doctor of Blood Island, you may take this as an SOS call.

But fear not – Raw Force is out of its mind. In a good way, of course, but is also foaming at the mouth and howling at the moon. Imagine a film shot by Americans in the Philippines exploiting every possible angle: cannibals, zombies, samurais, white kung fu (this WAS 1982, and Chuck Norris reigned supreme!), gumby comedy, and more flesh on display than a Friday night karaoke crawl in Manila.

Executive Producer Larry Woolner used to be a mover and shaker at Dimension Pictures, who handled a few Filipino features for the Seventies drive-in circuit; Raw Force was his last hurrah, and has that weird tension between old-fashioned entertainment and what he believes the kids want to see. As such, there’s old has-beens hobbling next to young never-wills. It’s Porky’s with Sidney Greenstreet and David Carradine, and none of it meshes. But with a mess this entertaining, thank god for senile dementia.

Aging name actor Cameron Mitchell stars as the skipper of a rusty tub bound for the South China Sea and Hope Holliday is Hazel Buck, the boat’s New York jewish owner. On board are the Burbank Karate Club (actually a few no-name TV actors), plus blonde black belt champion Jillian Kessner, who had already played the lead in Cirio H. Santiago’s Firecracker (1981). It’s a motley crew on a crusty Love Boat stocked with degenerates, schmiels, and the brown end of California’s swingers circles.

A stripper at a bar who keeps dancing even when everyone else is engaged in a big barroom brawl

Onto the ship comes Speer, a nasty German with a Hitler mustache looking for white women to steal, and his karate-kicking cronies. The ship goes up in flames, and the remaining cast and crew are adrift in a life boat before washing up on Warrior’s Island. There they discover Speer has been trading jade for his plane load of tasty-looking nubiles - Warriors Island happens to be the home of a renegade group of grinning, clapping cannibal monks who can reanimate the corpses of disgraced martial artists to do their bidding. The girls… well, they happen to be the monks’ main course.

Nasty Japanese censorship

And that’s the set up for one of the strangest kung fu horror sex comedies you will ever witness. Keen-eyed Schlock viewers will recognize the chubby features of the ubiquitous Vic Diaz as one of the head monks, alongside Mike Cohen who Weng Weng fans will recognize as Dr Kohler in For Your Height Only. All I can say right now is slip the brain into neutral and enjoy, and if you ever needed proof that the Philippines exists in a parallel universe in which our laws of taste, logic and sanity are turned on their heads, it’s this: the 1982 Raw Force.


The man who was in literally 1000s of Filipino films, Vic Diaz



  1. Hi!

    I have started a fanzine called Craptastic that focus horror, exploitation, campy action, “so bad it’s good movies”, sci-fi and such. I let bloggers from around the world share their own reviews and then I publish them in the zine. As thanks to this I will name your blog with address and that you are the author. I see that you have reviewed a lot of movies and I’m wondering if you are interested to contribute to the first issue of the Craptastic fanzine? I’m interested in your review of “Raw force” and I’m begging on my knees that you let me publish it. This will be a good way for you to get new visitors to your blog. Please let me know if it's okay. You can send me an email at sportlow @

    Thank you and best regards
    /Craptastic fanzine

  2. Hey there,

    A new fanzine? That's pretty cool! We need more real print, non-Cyberspace fanzines!

    And thanks for considering this review for your premier issue. If I had written it myself I'd give you the go ahead right away but the piece is written by Andrew Leavold and I'll have to ask him first. I'll get back to you.

    PS: If you want me to I'll delete your post so you'll avoid tons of spam mail.

  3. Hi Jack, thanks for the re-post, and Sportlow, please feel free to reprint in any forum you choose. I'm just happy for these films to be "out there"! Cheers, Andrew