FilmDungeon.com is glad to explore the video trenches to find that oddball treasure between the piles of crap out there. Off 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 Kleijngeld
The Inglorious Bastards (Italy, 1978)
OT: Quel maledetto treno blindato
Directed by: Enzo G. Castellari
Written by: Sandro Continenza, Sergio Grieco, Franco Marotta,
Romano Migliorini, Laura Toscano
Cast: Bo Svenson, Peter Hooten, Fred Williamson, Michael Pergolani
Before Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, there was this WWII exploitation flick. A group of Dirty Dozen-like US soldiers get transported through France in order to be court-martialed. After they get ambushed by Germans, they manage to escape. They take one German hostage, who is to lead them to safe Switzerland. Underway they have to battle their way through hoards of Nazi’s and the US military. This film is characterized by loads of shoot-outs, explosions and humor. And of course some naked girls; every exploitation film needs a couple of those! The ‘Bastards’ (five in total) are well cast. Williamson is excellent as a badass motherfucker. While the movie never becomes truly great, it does manage to involve the viewer in the characters’ mission, and every time the glorious WWII music plays, you can’t help but cheer for these bastards.
EXTRA’S: As entertaining as the movie, is the excellent 38 minute discussion between Tarantino and director Enzo Castellari about their influences (Peckinpah) and the art of filmmaking.
The Strangler of Blackmoor Castle (Germany, 1963)
OT: Der würger von schloß Blackmoor
Directed by: Harald Fodor
Written by: Ladislas Fodor, Gustav Kampendonk, Bryan Edgar Wallace
Cast: Karin Dor, Harry Riebauer, Rudolt Fernau, Hans Nielsen
A hooded figure invades Blackmoor Castle, during a party held by the castle’s tenant Lucius Clark. The ‘Strangler’ threatens him and demands the diamonds back that Clark supposedly stole. He also leaves one man dead with a ‘M’ marked on his forehead. A Scotland Yard inspector comes over to the estate to investigate the murder. He discovers a plot around the diamonds and a confrontation with the killer ensues. This detective movie uses the build-up of a horror. This makes the beginning quite suspenseful, but it becomes a bit dull halfway through, when it turns out to be just another mediocre whodunit. Still, it is not totally without a sense of style and humor. The electronic soundtrack is made by Oskar ‘The Birds’ Sala.
Planet of Dinosaurs (USA, 1978)
Directed by: James K. Shea
Written by: Jim Aupperle, Ralph Lucas
Cast: James Whitworth, Pamela Bottaro, Louie Lawless, Harvey Shain
The DVD cover of Planet of Dinosaurs is a true masterpiece, but does the movie live up to it? That depends on your taste for campy stop-motion creature features. The story: a spaceship crash lands on a seemingly deserted planet. There are initially nine survivors that start to scout the area. Within two minutes, there are eight survivors left. They have landed on the planet of the apes with dinosaurs!! Some observations:
– Space effects in the beginning, ships and stuff, are very funny.
– The crew has ‘four lasers’. Hmmm…[cynical]cool.[/cynical]
– One of the last stop motion creature flicks. It’s not Harryhausen, but there is quite a lot of variety in prehistoric monsters. Only too bad they are somewhat static.
– The actors are as convincing as the dinosaurs.
– Lame dialogues and synthesizer score.
Worth watching? Yes, if you find this type of thing hilarious. Otherwise avoid.
Diabolik (Italy / France, 1968)
Directed by: Mario Bava
Written by: Mario Bava, Brian Degas, Tudor Gates, Arduino Maiuri
Cast: John Phillip Law, Marisa Mell, Michel Piccoli, Adolfo Celi
Adaptation from the Italian comic book series, produced by Dino De Laurentiis and directed by horror author Mario Bava, doing a wonderful job outside of his usual territory. John Phillip Law plays anti hero Diabolik, a masked super thief who steals riches from both the government and the Mafia. His partner is the beautiful and voluptuous Eva (Marisa Mell). Together they fulfill the male fantasy: driving black and white jaguars, making love between 10 million dollars in a rotating bed and getting away with the most daring robberies. Their opponents are inspector Ginco and mob boss Valmont, who team up in an attempt to lure Diabolik and Eva into a trap. Bava directs this superhero movie with great style, while showing respect for the source material. He delivers one amazing set-piece after another, accompanied by a brilliant musical score from master Ennio Morricone. Camp was never before or after this spectacular. Diabolik = must see movie.
Mister Scarface (Italy / Germany, 1976)
OT: I padroni della città
Directed by: Fernando Di Leo
Written by: Peter Berling, Fernando Di Leo
Cast: Harry Baer, Al Cliver, Jack Palance, Gisela Hahn
Tony (Harry Baer) collects accounts receivable for gangster Luigi. His crime family gets involved in a power struggle with local bigshot ‘Scarface’ Manzari (Palance). Tony teams up with fellow collector Rick (Al Cliver). Together they plan to scheme Scarface out of a fortune and retire afterwards. This leads to an inevitable bloody confrontation with Scarface and his crew. The fuzzy plot and often inaudible dialogues (due to deteriorated picture quality) make this movie hard to follow at times. The good things are Palance’s demonic performance and the well crafted Napels underworld atmosphere. Lot’s of action and violence during the second half especially, make this worth a look for gangster film enthusiasts.
John Phillip Law and Marisa Mell in Diabolik.