GREG BELLAVIA VS SHOCK-A-GO-GO

“Street Trash” – Written by Roy Frumkes – Directed by James Muro

What It’s Like: If someone stuck a socially conscious Larry Cohen film in a blender with a late 80’s Troma flick…

What It’s About: The trials and tribulations of a homeless community that has to deal with their crazed Vietnam Vet leader, a mob boss’ missing girlfriend and last but not least the new low priced liquor of choice which happens to cause people to violently explode.

Money Shot: Almost too many to count but I will go with the game of keep away some of the bums have with a poor fellows dismembered member.

Verdict: Perhaps the gem of the festival, this print was unseen in the United States with ten minutes of added footage. While there is no real plot to speak of, the manic energy and offbeat comedy of the piece really works. It might be gory and inane but it is never less than entertaining. Plus having people explode every five minutes is not a bad way to keep the audience interested. (A certain decapitation towards the end received applause.) Anxiety Films should be commended for tracking down such a rare and bizarre find.

“Infra-Man” – Directed by Shan Hua

What It’s Like: “The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” meets Alejandro Jodorowsky.

What It’s About: Princess Dragon Mom (Terry Liu and that’s her character’s name folks) awakens from her slumber of ten thousand years and wreaks havoc along with her monsters The Octopus Mutant, The Laser Horn Monster, The Emperor of Doom and She-Demon. Nuclear powered cyborg Infra-Man (“The Killer’s” Danny Lee)! is Earth’s only hope.

Money Shot: The film is kind of a blur in my head with Infra-Man kung fu fighting the demons and the skeleton henchmen. His final assault on Mount Demon is pretty classic. (All I’ll say is that it’s a good thing that he was warned what to do in case he was frozen.)

Verdict: At first glance this might sound like a mere “Ultraman” copycat but what makes this film fly is the English dubbing. With lines like, “Greetings to you, Earthlings, I am Princess Dragon Mom. I have taken over this planet, now I own the Earth and you’ll be my slaves for all eternity” the film is given a whole new dimension. The fight sequences are insane, but the added ludicrous dialogue makes this an odd, compelling, kung fu, sci-fi epic.

“Dracula VS Frankenstein” – Written by William Pugsley and Samuel M. Sherman – Directed by Al Adamson

What It’s Like: Dracula + Frankenstein + Al Adamson’s “Blood of Ghastly Horror”.

What It’s About: Dr. Duryea (J. Carrol Naish), the last remaining relative of Frankenstein, and his assistant Groton (Lon Chaney Jr.!) kill off local girls in an attempt to create a formula for immortality. Oh yeah, Dracula (Zandor Vorkof) and Frankenstein’s Monster (John Bloom) show up.

Money Shot: The fight in all its inept, terrible glory.

Verdict: I respect Al Adamson for making movies for the sake of making movies. Oftentimes he would splice together pre-existing projects which he had been unable to finish and then release the hybrid. With the pleasantries out of the way I can say this film is truly awful. The plot makes no sense and Dracula and the Monster take a backseat to the whole Dr. Duryea and Groton mad scientist sub-plot. When Dracula speaks, his voice is amplified using a modulator providing unintentional laughs. The actual fight between the two horror icons consists of them holding one another’s shoulders while swaying! Lon Chaney Jr. looks haggard and I was more depressed for him than anything else. All the same it was hard to look away from the car crash of a film occurring on the screen.

At this point it is around four in the morning and I see there are 25 diehards left in the theatre who I would like to commend on their endurance.

“Burial Ground” – Written by Piero Regnoli – Directed by Andrea Bianchi

What It’s Like: Any Italian zombie movie you’ve ever seen.

What It’s About: Allow me to summarize the entire plot. An archeologist (Raimondo Barbieri) discovers he’s found “The secret” and upon writing this in his journal goes to examine some ruins in his basement and is killed by zombies. Three couples show up to vacation at his villa. Two couples have sex that night and the next day zombies attack and keep attacking until the movie is over.

Money Shot: The maid reaching out to close a second story window has her hand nailed to the wall and then the zombies reach up from the ground below using a reapers sickle and cut off her head!

Verdict: I love this movie! There was a time where I would have accused Lucio Fulci films of lacking plot but after seeing “Burial Ground” I realize they have far too much! Seriously, the film is 85 minutes long and 70 of those minutes are just the survivors fighting with zombies. Some other pros
1. Those barricaded within the villa use a variety of weapons to dispatch of the undead: Handgun, rifle, sword, machete, fire, rocks, anything they can get their hands on which mixed up the action.
2. The zombies use tools, a battering ram, disguises (!) and even organized plans such as guarding the cars so the living can’t drive off. It’s funny, the zombies seem to be so intelligent in going about mindlessly eating the living.
3. The character of Evelyn (Mariangela Giordano) brings her son along but he’s played by an adult dwarf! If this sounds strange wait until you see the payoff to this subplot…
4. One character runs around the back of the house and steps in a bear trap. Why was there a bear trap? Why are there zombies? What was the secret the professor discovered? No attempt is ever made to answer these questions. I also refuse to believe the secret was that zombies exist or that the bear trap was put out for zombies because let me tell you he seemed pretty surprised when they killed him.

Is this a good film? Hell no! But it delivers the goods and is a lot of fun. George Romero can sleep soundly in the fact that his Dead trilogy still remains the apex of the genre. All the same, I would rather watch “Burial Ground” instead of a lot of the other Italian zombie flicks including “Zombie” and that is saying something.

“Swedish Wildcats” – Written by Vernon P. Becker and James W. Sarno – Directed by James W. Sarno

What It’s Like: Either porn without the porn or a soap opera with a lot of nudity.

What It’s About: Susanna (Cia Lowgren) and her sister Karen (Solveig Andersson) work as high class prostitutes for their Aunt Margaretha (Diana Dors) who likes to stage erotic shows. Susanna yearns for more and pretends to be a dancer in order to attract test pilot Peter Borg (Peder Kinberg), however Peder’s EVIL co-worker Gerhard Jensen (Ib Mossin) works to make the budding relationship fail.

Money Shot: The prostitutes covered in body paint with animal themes being “captured” by the bordello clientele.

Verdict: Uhhh…I don’t know. Everytime a scene would heat up it would end, but every time the film strived for any emotional impact the porn aspect would resurface. It seems as if Sarno wanted it both ways: to have a softcore film to draw in audiences but to also tell a love story. While as a serious film “Swedish Wildcats” falls drastically short it is entertaining as a curiosity piece. We were informed after the screening that this print is ten minutes shorter than the international cut so maybe in its original form this all makes sense.

More shock in part three of GREG BELLAVIA VS SHOCK-A-GO-GO>>>




Posted on December 8, 2004 in Festivals by
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