Cult Radar: Part 1

FilmDungeon.com is glad to explore the video trenches to find that oddball treasure between the piles of crap out there. Of Course, a treasure in this context can also be a film that’s so shockingly bad it’s worth a look, or something so bizarre that cult fans just have to see it. Join us on our quest and learn what we learn. Hopefully we’ll uncover some well-hidden cult gems.

Researched by: Jeppe Kleyngeld

Stink of Flesh (USA, 2005)

Directed by: Scott Phillips
Written by: Scott Phillips
Cast: Kurly Tlapoyawa, Ross Kelly, Diva, Billy Garberina

Matool roams a zombie-infested America armed only with his fists, some large nails and a hammer. After he escapes some tight situations he gets abducted by the mysterious couple Nathan and Dexy. It turns out that Nathan likes to watch other men bang his wife while he watches. Matool takes on the job enthusiastically while zombies and other lusty survivors head towards their hide-out. Ultra low-budget sexploitation splatter film has the occasional outrageous moment, witty line and stylish kill. But too many flaws are still transparent. The acting sucks and so does the sound (despite some good use of music). And the story, though original in a way, goes ultimately nowhere. It’s a shame this flick’s great tagline: ‘how do you lead an alternative lifestyle…When everybody’s dead?’ is better than the flick itself.

Zombie Holocaust (Italy, 1980)

Directed by: Marino Girolami
Written by: Fabrizio De Angelis, Romano Scandariato
Cast: Ian McCulloch, Alexandra Delli Colli, Sherry Buchanan

Body parts go missing in a New York hospital. It quickly turns out that Moluccan cannibals are terrorising the country. An expedition leaves for the Muluccan island Kito to investigate the case. Over there, they stumble upon a cannibalistic tribe and a bloodthirsty doctor that experiments with reviving the dead. So begins a terrible struggle for survival. Although the story isn’t really carried in a convincing way, one can see why this is a favourite among fantastic film lovers. It certainly contains enough gory action, suspense and beautiful locations to forgive it it’s clumsy mise-en-scène and not too great acting. If this is your thing, you should certainly check it out.

Santo Vs. the She-Wolves (Mexico, 1976)
OT: Santo vs. las lobas

Directed by: Rubén Galindo, Jaime Jiménez Pons
Written by: Jaime Jiménez Pons, Ramón Obón
Cast: Santo, Rodolfo de Anda, Gloria Mayo, Jorge Russek

The legendary Mexican wrestler Santo stars in his 48th feature film (out of 54!). Our silver masked hero takes on an army of werewolves that want to take possession of the earth and destroy all humans. To do this he has to annihilate their entire army before the night of the red moon ends. Weird and often ridiculous plot takes some fun away from this campy mix of supernatural mystery and action. Santo gets far too little chance to display his fantastic wrestling moves. Only during some matches in the beginning and a few brief action scenes towards the end he gets to show who’s the boss. Therefore, the viewer starts to wonder how tough Santo really is, a fatal flaw in a superhero movie. The acting, costumes and effects are pretty terrible, and the extremely disappointing ending deserves special mention. Reasonable DVD transfer available from Yuke Pictures, but maybe it’s better to wait for some other Santo movies to come along.

Detroit 9000 (USA, 1973)

Directed by: Arthur Marks
Written by: Orville H. Hampton
Cast: Hari Rhodes, Alex Rocco, Vonetta McGee

Quentin Tarantino is never shy to lend his name to exploitation film presentations. This flick was recently released under the Rolling Thunder Pictures label, just like The Mighty Peking Man and Switchblade Sisters. Tarantino’s name is all over the cover, so it can profit from the buzz around Grindhouse. One can easily see why he likes this. It’s a pretty gripping cop-drama that contains sex, a blaxploitation message, plenty of shootings, and a funky soundtrack. The characters are not really compelling, except Alex Rocco’s cynical detective Danny Bassett. There’s a little too much yakking about black and white issues, but it is still a pretty entertaining viewing. The twisty ending is also a nice touch.

War of the Monsters (Japan, 1966)
OT: Daikaijû kettô: Gamera tai Barugon

Directed by: Shigeo Tanaka
Written by: Nisan Takahashi
Cast: Kojiro Howgo, Kyoto Enami, Yuzo Hayakawa

This second instalment in the Gamera series sees three treasure hunters find an opal that turns out to be the egg of monster Baragon. I was hoping for some inventive special effects but ended up very bored and disappointed. First I had to sit through forty minutes of sleep-inducing build-up. Then the action arrived in the form of two men dressed in ludicrous monster-suits fight each other around terrible looking scale models. Gamera (a ‘huge’ turtle) gets defeated within five minutes, so we are forced to watch Baragon (a dinosaur of sorts) roam around, looking stupid for another forty-five minutes. I thought the movie was black and white, until I noticed a blue ray (no pun intended). That’s how great the DVD-release from Alpha Video is. No redeeming qualities at all which makes this a complete piece of garbage.

Zombie Holocaust

 

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