Thursday, January 7, 2010

the late late deadfast show.

Been a wee bit of a Fred Williamson week round our way seeing as he seems to be in every movie we've watched recently.

It's enough to turn the most heterosexual man gay.

Warriors of The Year 2072 (AKA Fighting Centurions, Rome, 2072 A.D., The New Gladiators. 1984).
Dir: Lucio Fulci.
Cast: Jared Martin, Fred Williamson, Howard Ross, Eleonora Brigliadori, Cosimo Cinieri, Claudio Cassinelli, Al Cliver, Haruiko Yamanouchi, Penny Brown, Valerie Jones and Donal O'Brien.

"It was maths that saved us!"

It's the near future (2072 to be precise but I guess you knew that) and (after a nuclear war probably) all of planet Earth's major cities have been rebuilt using Lego, egg boxes and toilet rolls, topped off with Christmas tree lights.

The only outlet for the citizens of this new square world order are violent teevee shows (well two of them) broadcast daily to keep the populace subdued and entertained.

Purves: Purveyor of teevee violence
and fan of Steven's tailor.

The biggest of these is 'Death Bike', a cross between Junior Kick Start (albeit without Peter Purves) and a Friday night out in the centre of Birmingham where a bunch of mad men on motorcycles kick seven shades of shite out of each other until only one is left standing.

Well, sitting actually.

On a bike obviously.

Undefeated world champion of Death Bike is the enigmatically pube haired Drake (Martin, pigeon chested star of teevee's Dallas, War of the Worlds and Fantastic Journey).

The other show is called 'Pretend Scares' or something similar and features (from what I can gather from the little amount of it shown) a large headed, sweaty Italian woman with hi-tech wires attached to her head watching clips of old Fulci movies and having to pretend that:

A. It's real.


B. She's not really scared.

It'll come as no surprise to find that ratings for this have been slipping more than Michael J Fox on an icy path, so the makers of 'Pretend Scares' (after failing to get 'Bastards Hole' past the pilot stage) decided to resurrect the age old idea of the gladiatorial arena.

Huge cotton bud or tiny lady?

This ultra-violent battle of the damned will see twelve convicted killers (but not Dave Vanian) slug it out in a modern day Roman Coliseum until only one survives.

To make certain it'll be a sure fire ratings winner, the slimy teevee executive in charge, Bob Cortez (an unusually clean shaven Cassinelli) decides to firstly employ Russell T Davies as show runner before hiring what looks like Spandau Ballet to murder Drake's hot young wife and then framing him for their subsequent murder.

Yes the plot is that convoluted.

"I raff I ruse?"

Taken in chains to the training area before being given a sexy bracelet (tho' no pearl necklace) that can administer pain, Drake is introduced to his fellow combatants including genre king Al Cliver as the hunky Kirk, The Last Hunter's Yamanouchi and Fred Williamson as the super suave Tommy Abdul.

There are a few other folk but frankly none of them are that memorable.

Under the auspice of evil trainer Frank Raven (Ross from such classics as The New York Ripper, Naked Werewolf Woman and Poppea: A Prostitute in Service of the Emperor) Drake endures, oh, minutes of torture and bench presses before our hero begins to break the corporations programming.

It seems that he's beginning to realise that he didn't kill Tony Hadley and co. after all.

Luckily the janitor of the faculty is an old friend of Drakes, an ex-racer named Monk (Doctor Butcher himself, O'Brien), who had to leave the business after hitting a wall and melting his face like a half chewed caramel who, alongside the sexy computer boffin Sarah (the fantastically fringed ultra-MILF Brigliadori from Beyond Kilimanjaro, Across the River of Blood and, um, my dreams) believe his story and begin to investigate further, uncovering a plot by Junior, the sentient computer that runs the station to do some bad stuff to folk.

"I never done it!"

Whilst Sarah goes to visit Junior's creator, Monk makes our hero swallow a magic silver Lego brick that enables him to open doors and turn off force-fields by simply pulling his cum face and with this special gift our hero plans his escape.

Whilst all this sex face fun is going on, Sarah has gone to visit Professor Towman (Murder Rock's Cinieri, tastefully blacked up with a red spot daubed on his forehead), the inventor of Junior to see if the computer could really be mental.

He reckons not but gives Sarah a special key to his control room and a box of plans to turn him off just in case.

Which is a wee bit of luck seeing as the next instant he's shot and killed alongside the not as attractive Sybil (Brown, the costume designer on Fatal Frames) a bad lady that was sent to follow Sarah (to pick up fashion tips I reckon).

Monk was also following her (in a good way) and manages to sneak her out of the building and back to the studio in time to see Drake and his merry band recaptured and made to do press-ups over an electric floor as punishment.

"OK muthafuckas! Who's
ready for a mooth shite-in?"

As the clock counts down and the contestants are prepared for battle, Sarah races to find the key to stopping Junior and save humanity from something slight and inconsequential....

Claudio Cassinelli checks out the
official Fred Williamson night light.

His misogynistic horror tendencies exhausted (for a short while at least) after the sleazy hate-fest that was The New York Ripper, Lucio Fulci decided to take time out from spooky scares and throat cutting (well, maybe not from throat cutting) to bring us this fantastically accurate prediction of the rise of reality teevee and corporate whoredom, never realising how prophetic the films concepts were to become.

His trademark visual style, surreal plotting and (sometimes over) use of extreme close-ups (usually of actors pulling what appear to be officially termed their 'sex faces') are all present and correct, adding a sense of the comfortable to the otherwise alienating futuristic feel of the film and Fulci's predilection for copious amounts of blood and violence firmly place the characters in the here and now for it seems that no matter how shiny and silver the future will become blood will always be deep red.

The cast with it's familiar Fulci regular faces and smooth, mini-skirted thighs (yes, that's you
Eleonora Brigliadori) play their roles with a stoic, earnest conviction rarely seen outside the Hallmark Channels true life drama output whilst Fred Williamson, so obviously on autopilot whilst awaiting his delivery of malt beer and cigars, is still better than any number of similarly disinterested actors not named Fred Williamson tho' if I'm honest it's scary to see chisel jawed sex pest Al Cliver slowly morph into a puffy cheeked hamster during the duration of a movie.

Eleonora Brigliadori today,
just because I can.

Three years before Arnie became The Running Man, Jared Martin was The Biking Bully and Fulci was showing the world the future as would be.

Genius? Prophet? Mad man or just lucky?

You decide!

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