In a murky, sometimes confusing tale about a future dystopia in which people are waiting — and waiting — for a rescue ship called the Ark, there are several good one-liners, but they are outnumbered by the puzzling riddles and symbolism that permeate the story. The flotsam and jetsam of humanity are huddled together in an underground labyrinth after civilization as we know it has been obliterated by the Bomb. The survivors are protected by a dome which a repairman notes is bound to crack before the Ark arrives because it was constructed under a one-year plan. The hero of the film searches for the origins of the myth about the Ark and along the way falls in love with a prostitute. It seems the world’s oldest profession has also survived the nuclear holocaust. Continue reading
Three strangers arrive at a chateau inhabited by four women believed to be vampires. But are they vampires or are they under the hypnotic machinations of an old man? Rollin shot the first part of this film as a short subject to be billed with an American vampire film bought by a distributor that just over an hour (it too was designed for double billing). His producers were impressed with what he accomplished with next to nothing and asked him to expand the film to feature length. Thus, the first half hour (part one) is an intriguing short that makes the most of its found locations, make-shift production design, and available lighting (and a very early example of a turntable effect around two arguing actors to heighten the intensity of the scene). The second half (which necessitates resurrecting several of the characters that were killed at the end of the first and introduces the Queen of the Vampires played by Jacqueline Seiger (who was an instructor at Felix Guattari’s anti-psychology clinic at the time). Lacking the structure of the first part, the near-plotless remaining hour allows Rollin to cram in an entire serial’s worth of car chases, mad doctors, vampires, fist fights, and gun fire as well as several more arresting – and iconic in the Rollin oeuvre – images to bring the short to feature length. Part 2 features also Olivier Martin (the protagonist of Rollin’s LE VAMPIRE NUE – forthcoming from Redemption USA) and, despite his large role in the part, an uncredited Jean-Loup Philippe (co-writer and star of Rollin’s LEVRES DE SANG). Continue reading
A joyfully outrageous slice of life in the slums set to a punky soundtrack, Mondomanila is a slap in the face of Western expectations of politely miserabilist depictions of the downtrodden. A hyper kinetic, super stylised wild carnival of the destitute, it follows a midget, a one-armed rapper, a ‘day-glo fairy’, a disabled pimp and their friends as they try to get as much sex and drugs as they can (‘the only solution to their problems’, we are told by main character Tony at the beginning) and tackle a racist white paedophile. A toothless showman opens this exuberant bad taste spectacle, promising something horrible and creepy, but the Mondo-style shockumentary aspect is underpinned by the crude reality of life in Manila, making the film vital and energising.
Sgt. Jinji is very interested in Yaeli, Mr. Hasson’s youngest daughter. After getting into a dispute with a fuming Mr. Hasson who falsely believed Jinji wanted to marry his eldest daughter, Jinji is kicked out of Mr. Hasson’s house. Having witnessed the scene, and unbeknownst to Mr. Hasson nor Jinji, Yaeli escapes too and hides in the back of Jinji’s jeep, intent to join him despite her father’s wishes.
On the way to his army base, Jinji picks up Konstanza, a shady businessman, who has been evading reporting to reserve duty for a while. Konstanza also happens to owe money to Mr. Hasson (due to a very dubious business deal gone awry), and Mr. Hasson decides to look for Konstanza to get his money back. All our characters end up in the middle of the desert at a small, somewhat improvised military base.
Mr.Freedom is a militaristic moron of a superhero. In his secret identity he is a United States sheriff, but when he enters his hidden closet hidden in his office behind a large American flag, he transforms into the patriotic superhuman. He takes orders from Doctor Freedom, the controller of Freedom Inc, who orders him to go to France and stop it from falling prey to the evils of Communism after the death of Freedom’s counterpart, Capitaine Formidable. Getting a less than rapturous welcome from the French, Mr.Freedom decides to save them all anyway…by destroying the entire country and everyone in it if he has to. Continue reading
Some university students change their views on sex after hearing a lecture on the blind Syrian philosopher Al-Maarri. He gets his way with one of them after sneaking what I imagine is rufees into one of their drinks which has disastrous consequences. After going to some wild bellydancing parties they are ensnared by a polyester-clad drug-dealer and womanizer/rapist. The victims’ friends plan to avenge her with the help of the local police. Includes numerous musical numbers and belly dancing scenes.
How to describe Nobuhiko Obayashi’s indescribable 1977 movie House (Hausu)? As a psychedelic ghost tale? A stream-of-consciousness bedtime story? An episode of Scooby-Doo as directed by Mario Bava? Any of the above will do for this hallucinatory head trip about a schoolgirl who travels with six classmates to her ailing aunt’s creaky country home and comes face-to-face with evil spirits, a demonic house cat, a bloodthirsty piano, and other ghoulish visions, all realized by Obayashi via mattes, animation, and collage effects. Equally absurd and nightmarish, House might have been beamed to Earth from some other planet. Never before available on home video in the United States, it’s one of the most exciting cult discoveries in years. Continue reading