Saturday, 26 February 2011

Eddie Romero's THE WOMAN HUNT (Philippines, 1972) - trailer

aka ESCAPE (UK)



This is the rare trailer for Eddie Romero's THE WOMAN HUNT. It's not on DVD but I have an awesome Danish ex-rental VHS of it. Big thanks to Diabolik who sent it to me as a nice gift, and uploaded the trailer when I asked about it (even tho the nudity in said trailer may get him booted from YT if any PC dickheads flag it down!!).

Thursday, 17 February 2011

WONDER WOMEN (Philippines, 1973)



I received this Filipino flick today from Something Weird Video; It's WONDER WOMEN (aka The Deadly and the Beautiful, directed by Robert Vincent O'Neil) from 1973. I haven't watched it yet but I've checked the print and it looks great. Sure it's got scratches but it doesn't have a "soft" picture nor is it foggy like some of the old Greek video tapes. The picture is crisp clear and detailed. Sid Haig and Vic Diaz are in it. Bruce Holecheck mentioned (thanks!) over on my other blog that the film is actually going to get a proper release later this year on both DVD and blu-ray! It would be nice if some more of these old Filipino flicks would get re-released on DVD in proper versions! :D

The SWV DVD is available here. 10 bucks plus postage. If you're outside the US you can pay with PayPal (however, you'll have to send them an email as you can't pay thru their website).

NB: And 5 minutes ago I discovered that SWV have actually closed down their eBay store! I wonder why. @_@


Something Weird description:
Karate-chopping sex kittens! Organ transplants! Zombie sex slaves! Monster Mutants! Go-go boots! SID HAIG! Wonder Women! Yup, here's one of our Philippine faves, a wild and sexy shot-in-Manila grindhouse gem from the Seventies that plays like a live-action sci-fi comic book complete with a title that should've been a disco hit.

Fourteen of the world's top male athletes are shot with hypos, stuffed into coffins, and shipped to the Philippines by the lethal Linda (MARIA ARAGON, also in Love Me Like I Do, who should've had a bigger career than she did), and her beautiful-but deadly glamour girls -- who trade their mini-skirts for mourning attire in order to accompany the "bodies." When one of their targets is a famous jai-alai player with a hefty insurance policy, Lloyds of London hires ex-cop, ex-CIA, and all-around-tough-guy-stud Mike Harber (ROSS HAGEN, who also produced ) to investigate. With the aid of giggling cab driver VIC DIAZ (who's apparently in every Filipino film made in the Seventies), "the indestructible Mr. Harber" battles Won Ton Charlie's motorcycle assassins, then is seduced by Linda who kicks the crap out of him in his hotel room before the violence spills out into the streets of Manila where passerby stare, get startled, and even chase after her!

Mike eventually arrives at the island fortress of Dr. Tsu (NANCY KWAN, a looooong way from Flower Drum Song and The World Of Suzie Wong), a Su-Muru-style mad scientist "a hundred years ahead of her time," who's selling black-market organs and protected by an all-girl army. The missing athletes are there too, in comas and garbed in Saran Wrap, where they're used as unwilling organ donors and as sex robots fo Linda and her squad of killer cuties. Also on hand is Tsu's happy-go-lucky business partner Gregorious (the great Sid Haig of Spider Baby); a millionaire geezer eager to have his old brain put into "the body of a healthy, young, virile, athlete"; and a handful of hilarious motley monsters dubbed "Dr. Tsu's Freaks" which include a former basketball player whose exposed brain has a flashing light atop it. But the operation on the old coot goes bad, Linda is scheduled for "a complete dissection," and the monsters go on a killing spree...

Plus: brief titty; slow-motion cockfights; a killer kid; two quick cameos by MARILYN JOI; big bald BRUNO PUNSALAN (a fixture in Blood Island films); Dr. Tsu's "brain sex" machine; and the classic line: "Hands off, bitch, he's mine!"

Similar in many ways to Franco's equally goofy The Girl From Rio -- there's obviously more than one futuristic city populated entirely by shapely young centerfolds -- Wonder Women isn't exactly the sort of tongue-in-cheek entertainment one expects from ROBERT VINCENT O'NEIL, the director of such grim sex-noirs as The Psycho Lover and Blood Mania. In fact, Wonder Women is so fast, funny, and fetishistic, you'll barely notice it's rated PG>
From a 35mm print pumped full of anti rejection serum.
-- Cadet Happy



Product Details

SKU: 3298
Weight: 0.25 lbs
Format: DVD-R
Year: 1973
Color: Color
Starring: Nancy Kwan
Co-starring: Ross Hagen
Other cast: Maria de Aragon, Sid Haig, Vic Diaz
Directed by: Robert Vincent O'Neil
Produced by: Untamed Video


Betamax / Belgium / FS / English audio / Dutch subs

Monday, 14 February 2011

Shopping for that thar rare world-weird film?



Here's a quick recommendation for you; The rare and highly entertaining Indonesian film JUNGLE HEAT (not to be confused with the Taiwan film of the same English title, also known as "Last Breath") is on eBay right now!

The auction runs for about one more day. The film is directed by Ratno Timoer who also did the awesome movies THE DEVIL'S SWORD and THE BLIND WARRIOR and also acted and directed many more films (check his huge filmography here) and Peter "Rambu" O'Brian from THE INTRUDER (aka Rambu) is in the movie!

It goes without saying the film is not on DVD and probably won't be. And also, this Greek VHS is the only English dubbed release anywhere! Do notice that the tape is in the European PAL format so you'll need a multi system player if you're in North America or any other area that uses the NTSC format.
For the auction go here.

I should point out I'm not the seller.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

SATANIC CRYSTALS (HK, 1989)

Original titel: DUO BAO LONG HU DOU



Check out this wild trailer!!! SATANIC CRYSTALS is released on German DVD (English & German dub), Taiseng/Pan Asia VHS (Cantonese with English subs), and HK laserdisc (Canto & Mandarin with English subs).

Director: Cheng Kei-Ying

Cast:
Leung Kar-Yan
Cynthia Lee
Christoph Kluppel
Chiang Tao
Sun Chien
Ng Man Tat
Stuart Ong
Ha Chi Jan
Shing Fui On
Wan Seung-Lam
Paul Wong Kwan
Cheung Kwok-Leung

Released on German DVD (English & German dub) & Tai Seng VHS in the US (Cantonese audio with English & Chinese subs).

Thanks to Spannick for the trailer upload and credits info.

Friday, 4 February 2011

CANNIBAL MERCENARY (Thailand, 1983) review #1

Reviewed by Günter Müller (originally posted on "Weird Asia")

[also check out review #2 by Andrew Leavold]



aka MERCENARY (US vhs)
aka EMPLOY FOR DIE (Thai vcd)
aka JUNGLE KILLERS - CANNIBAL MERCENARY (German dvd)




"This story is told ... by the man who can not forget a brutal war"

VHS / USA / fullscreen / English dub / no subs / 102m44s
[click scan for bigger size]


VCD / Thailand / fullscreen / Thai audio / no subs / original Thai version
[click scan for bigger size]



By GÜNTER MÜLLER (originally written for his sadly long gone site "Weird Asia")


CANNIBAL MERCENARY
aka MERCENARY
aka MERCENARY CANNIBAL
aka MERCENARY CANNIBALS
aka JUNGLE KILLERS - THE JAGUAR PROJECT
aka THE JAGUAR PROJECT
aka LAST BREATH
[This alternative title is NOT correct. The mistake stems from a post on Dvdmaniacs where Linn Haynes (RIP) mentioned it was the film's original title but he confused the film with another war film from Taiwan called "Last Breath" and which is known internationally as "Jungle Heat" /Jack]

Thailand 1983
Directed by: Hong Lu Wong
Cast: Lek Songphon, Sugud Namchan, Rom Rachan, Sormud Charekchema...
Running Time: 103 min.

Ready for one of the most infamous and sought-after Asian exploitation flicks of all time? Yes? Fine! ‘Cause here it is, the notorious CANNIBAL MERCENARY, one of the goriest jungle shockers ever to hit the screen!


CANNIBAL MERCENARY tells the story of Wilson, a former soldier who scrape a bare living in a clinic and is haunted by memories of the horrible war he has taken part in. His only daughter is seriously ill and this makes him even more disillusioned. One day he is visited by a Colonel who offers him 500.000 dollars for a secret mission - for his native country, he adds earnestly. After a short time of hesitation he accepts the offer, mainly because with the money he is able to finance his daughter the much-needed operation. Soon he finds himself back in Vietnam, as a leader of a small group of mercenaries, and his first objective is to find his contact who will give him further details of the operation. The jungle turns out to be pure hell, full with kill-happy enemies, nasty booby-traps, dangerous animals and an unpleasant climate. The mood is extremely tense and the slightest spark can be the trigger to a terrible explosion, as all the guys are extremely irritated and their nerves strained to the limits.

Soon the group is decimated but the surviving mercenaries continue their mission unperturbed. Finally they meet a woman who turns out to be their contact person. After some more ordeals (some of the men are mistaken as enemies, tied to the ground, and pissed on) Wilson and his men have a breather in a small village, but not for long as the enemies are already informed of Wilson’s arrival and want nothing more than to get rid of him. Eventually the woman spills the beans and informs Wilson about his mission: he has to kill a certain disloyal Colonel who lives in this area and is the head of a well-organised drug trafficker organisation. How brutal and uncompromising this Colonel is can be seen in his camp where he tortures prisoners and slowly hangs them to death. And, as fate will have it, our group of mercenaries finally falls into the evil hands of the crazy Colonel, and to their horror they find out that most of the Colonel’s men are bloodthirsty cannibals who particularly like to feast on fresh human brains. So, once again, one question remains: who will survive and what will be left of them?

Before the film kicks off we can see an on-screen information that “this story is told... by a man who can not forget a brutal war!” This is followed by several images of war, like tanks rolling around, machine gun fire, and numerous explosions. Then the dark story slowly unfolds on the screen, bar the slightest trace of humour. We get to know the ‘hero’ of the piece, a disillusioned, cynical ex-soldier who voluntarily goes back to the horrors he can not forget in order to help his sick daughter. And as soon as Wilson enters the jungle we learn immediately that this is the kind of movie that makes no prisoners. “It’s either kill... or be killed” as one character points out accurately. Soon the group stumbles upon a few Vietcongs and before you can ask yourself ‘what will Rambo do in a situation like this?’ our heroes eliminate the enemies by decapitation, slashing their throats, crushing their skulls or simply gunning them down. All this is presented in a vicious, gruesome, but realistic and effective way and you know right away that CANNIBAL MERCENARY isn’t your ordinary jungle action flick.

Surprisingly, the acting is quite good and convincing. Special mention must go to the guy who plays Wilson, who gives us a credible and memorable performance of the broken anti-hero. But the other cast members are pretty good too, and one can almost feel their pain when they are confronted with the most horrific things imaginable. The camerawork is also very good, as it manages to give us the impression that we’re almost amidst the terrible goings-on (it’s really a shame that the camerawork can’t be fully appreciated as the only remaining uncensored version of this film is in horrible full screen). While the editing is not that good the music certainly is. Although some pieces are lifted from the Goblin soundtrack of the European version of DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978) I have to say that these pieces also work very well in this movie and perfectly underline and intensify certain key sequences. The story is interesting too, even though some parts have a lot in common with Francis Ford Coppola’s APOCALYPSE NOW (1979), mainly the Vietnam setting and the crazy Colonel. The idea to add some brain-eating cannibals to the already cruel proceedings eventually lifts the film into ultra-gore territory.

Truth be told, I have to say I came away with mixed impressions. On the one hand it portrays the horrors of war very well, and on the other hand it revels in unnecessary brutality and detailed gross-out gore moments. I think the ambition of the makers (if there ever was one) is somehow marred by this exploitative approach, though gorehounds certainly will be more than pleased by the on-screen violence. There are decapitations, slashed throats, knife wounds, bullet hits, crushed skulls, bisections, castrations, bullets in the heads, swords through bodies, and arrows that bore into flesh. But all this probably can’t prepare you for the gory sights in the finale, when one unfortunate man is buried up to his neck and his unprotected head is cracked open with hammer and chisel in loving detail. Blood gushes, the brains are exposed... and soon the hungry cannibals have the feast of the day. Before you have time to recover from this shock another prisoner has his eyes gouged out by the insane Colonel! No wonder the major part of these scenes are missing from the export print.

Even if the splatter effects look quite cheaply they are very realistic and pretty convincing and no worse than those seen in Italian cannibal gut-crunchers. CANNIBAL MERCENARY is an immensely gripping, brutal and shocking exploitation flick and when the 103 minutes running time are finally over all you can admit is that it does live up to its notoriety. The great ending is kind of schizophrenic by the way. One part of it is happy and optimistic, while the other part is very dark and nihilistic. This somehow reflects the whole movie that sometimes is a riveting anti-war film and sometimes a cheap and ultra-violent exploitation flick. The cover scan seen on the top is from the German DVD release, but before you surf happily to your next online shop let me tell you that this version is the export print of the movie, which infamous producer Tomas Tang cut together some time in the 1980s. While the full uncut CANNIBAL MERCENARY runs 102 min. 25 sec. the export version runs a mere 82 min. 38 sec. Both lots of story elements and most of the gorier moments are cut out, and - to add insult to injury - someone shot brand new scenes with three American idiots searching for a treasure that later were inserted into the movie. This doesn’t make much of a sense, but in this way the running time clocks in at over 80 minutes, since about 30 to 35 minutes (minimum!) are removed from the original version! So do yourself a favour and stay clear of the export version.

As stated above the uncut and uncensored CANNIBAL MERCENARY is the version to look out for. It was released in the 1980s in the USA on tape (with the on-screen title MERCENARY), but this version was out of print years ago so chances are pretty much nil that you are able to track it down. This version (as far as I know the only uncut release of this great film) is in a horrible full screen format and dubbed into English, and not very good at that. The German DVD states that it is based on the only remaining print of the movie but I refuse to believe this and continue hoping for an uncensored, widescreen DVD in the (hopefully) not-too-distant future.


DVD / Germany / letterbox / English + German dub / 83 min cut & paste version!!!

[not only is this German dvd heavily cut, it has also received the 'Thomas Thang treatment'! In other words; yes it's a cut 'n' paste version with inserts of Western actors to make it look more, well, Western!!]

UK / dvd-r / fullscreen / English dub / uncut 104 minute version.

This UK bootleg from ZDD contains the long uncut version from the US tape. The picture quality is good and as there is no official release available at present time this is the only way to buy the uncut film.



Thanks to Günter Müller for sending me his old review from "Weird Asia".

Also thanks to Andrew for his review.

And lastly but certainly not least big thanks to Kiba of Cinehound forum who sent me the scan of the Thai VCD cover.

Cheers, mates!!

CANNIBAL MERCENARY (Thailand, 1983) review #2

Reviewed by Andrew Leavold


[also check out review #1 by Günther Müller]



aka MERCENARY (US vhs)
aka EMPLOY FOR DIE (Thai vcd)
aka JUNGLE KILLERS - CANNIBAL MERCENARY (German dvd)




"This story is told ... by the man who can not forget a brutal war"

VCD / Thailand / fullscreen / Thai audio / no subs / original Thai version
[click scan for bigger size]



by ANDREW LEAVOLD

"This story is told... by a man who can not forget a brutal war!"

Around the time Antonio Margheriti was engaged in the unholy work of wedding the Vietnam War film with the cannibal genre in Cannibal Apocalypse (1980) and splicing the best bits of Apocalypse Now (1979) and The Deer Hunter (1978) into his blood soaked, shot-in-the-Philippines actioner The Last Hunter (1981), Thai filmmakers were also busy making their own demented backyard redux of Coppola's bloated paean to man's inhumanity. And oh, the inhumanity!

The film signposts its intentions early, through the overhead ceiling fan denoting "instant Vietnam flashback". Our hero - Namchoke? Prompit? Let's call him Wilson - has returned from a tour of duty and almost immediately is cajoled by his former commander to accept a mercenary job deep in the Vietnam jungle. It's not clear if the Vietnam War has ended, and even more unclear what a Sergeant in the Thai Army was doing there in the first place; nevertheless he needs the money for his daughter's polio operation and, since his wife was killed (cue blood-streaked flashback), they're both dependent on each other. So much for the sentiment. Onward, Buddhist Soldiers.

Wilson hits the Vietnam jungle running with a Mercenary squad under his command, a group of ugly Thai misfits with more than their share of chips on their shoulder. It's a treacherous trip up the figurative river, with the ever-present Viet Cong and their bamboo spiked traps executed in graphic, close-to-the-bone style, yet their most dangerous enemy, it's soon apparent amidst the spiraling paranoia, is themselves. After slashing and mutilating their way through a VC village they stumble on a pregnant Thai woman begging for their protection. With a cold, mean glare and a radio up her skirt, it seems she's leading them into an ambush, and succeeds with surprising ease in turning the men against each other. One private had riddled his wife and her lover with bullets, and thus wants to save the girl; another private, a relentless would-be-rapist, has his way with her - only to find his cock almost severed. Exit pregnant Thai in a hail of Wilson's pistol fire, and they carry off their mutilated buddy. Miraculously, he's cured twenty minutes later into the film, only to try the old "involuntary surprise sex" routine once more.


VHS / USA / fullscreen / English dub / no subs / 102m44s
[click scan for bigger size]

Wilson finally reaches his jungle contact, a glamorous commando named Choompah, but not before the rest of the squad are captured by Choompah's men, staked to the ground, and urinated on while her 2IC, an almost hairless, toothless and practically eyeless circus freak with a frotting fetish, rubs himself against one of his piss-stained victims. His disturbing bubble-head looked familiar; the actor turns out to be famous comedian Santhong Sisai - which translates to "ugly as sin"! - who was also a country singer and jailed in the Seventies for attempted murder. Which certainly didn't hurt his career, before his untimely death in a car accident around 1982. It's not the first pissing scene, either - but in a Thai film that throws in kung fu, cannibalism, outrageous gore and every conceivable 'Nam and post-'Nam cliches while making up a few of their own, a few bubble-headed toilet antics certainly aren't out of place.

Choompah fills in Wilson's remaining squad on their mission: to bring down a crazed VC Colonel (and it's at this moment when the Heart Of Darkness references tear though the grass roof) operating a drug empire - known as The Empire - out of a fortified camp guarded by flesh-eating aborigines - known as The Draculas! Once Wilson's men are captured, the film kicks into top gear and it's previous scenes of graphic mutilation and dismemberment are washed away in a river of gore. There's maggot licking, eyeball squishing, a knife through skull followed by a regulation cannibal chow-down on its contents, and seemingly endless rounds of ammunition tearing through flesh and bone: It's the ending you secretly dreamed of for Apocalypse Now, delivered by the trailer-load, yet somehow redeemed by its main offender's daughter wrapping her arms around him and gushing, "I wuv you daddy!" Awwww....

In addition to the Thai original and export versions, there's a THIRD titled Jungle Killers, edited by Hong Kong producer-hack Thomas Tang with much of the gore trimmed, but with the added bonus of three Euro-Trash actors looking for treasure. Looking for the Temple of Doom, perhaps? Move on, assholes. Make no mistake, Tang's Mercenary is to be avoided like the Plague, in favour of its longer, infinitely more excessive version. And yet, at over 1 hour 40 minutes, Mercenary is a fat-free exercise in cinematic brutality - a simpleminded one but not without its own dumb, animalistic, bludgeon-carrying charms. Its camera flourishes and manic montage leave little time between grotesque setpieces, thus allowing little time to contemplate just how primitive the soundtrack is. And I'm not just talking dialogue, with those regulation Hong Kong dubbing-booth Brits trying American accents and exaggerated Orientals (and Choompah's real voice replaced by Pam Ayres'). Even the foley and atmos tracks are poorly stitched, and the music a hodgepodge of library music and Goblin's Euro-score for Dawn Of The Dead (1978). No, we forgive its shortcomings because of the film's sheer onslaught of mind-bending imagery. The mud-daubed ghouls in denim, the Deer Hunter atrocities punted into Cannibal Holocaust (1978) territory, and above all, the blinking, puckering, rubbing form of Santhong Sisai frotting his way into our hearts and minds.


DVD / Germany / letterbox / English + German dub / 83 min cut & paste version!!!

[not only is this German dvd heavily cut, it has also received the 'Thomas Thang treatment'! In other words; yes it's a cut 'n' paste version with inserts of Western actors to make it look more, well, Western!!]

UK / dvd-r / fullscreen / English dub / uncut 104 minute version.

This UK bootleg from ZDD contains the long uncut version from the US tape. The picture quality is good and as there is no official release available at present time this is the only way to buy the uncut film.



Thanks to Günter Müller for sending me his old review from "Weird Asia".

Also thanks to Andrew for his review.

And lastly but certainly not least big thanks to Kiba of Cinehound forum who sent me the scan of the Thai VCD cover.

Cheers, mates!!