Sunday, April 28, 2019

dance macabre.

My top internet buddie and head of the Get Your Genki music label - Giornata Nera - posted earlier that he'd just purchased a brand new Blu-Ray copy of this and was going to give it a rewatch seeing as he couldn't remember a thing about it.

And even more bizarrely the twins were away at - gulp - dance class today.

No murders tho'.

So it's almost fated that myself and the Cassman would spend our afternoon watching this.

Murder Rock: Death Dancing (AKA Giallo a disco, Murder Rock - Dancing Death, Slashdance, 1984).
Dir: Lucio Fulci.
Cast: Olga Karlatos, Berna Maria do Carmo, Cosimo Cinieri, Claudio Cassinelli, Ray Lovelock, Geretta Geretta, Al Cliver, Silvia Collatina, Giovanni de Nava, aria Vittoria Tolazzi, Carla Buzzanca, Angela Lemerman, Christian Borromeo and Belinda Busato.

Save the last dance . . . for hell!

The co-ed dance students at the very real sounding yet entirely fictional Arts for Living Center in New York City are being worked into a disco frenzy every hour of the day as their graduation performance fast approaches.

Not only that but it seems that a prestigious New York stage show is about to open and the producers want the three best female dancers from the class for the lead roles.

And their fearsome tutor Candice Norman (Zombie Flesh Eaters harsh hottie herself - Karlatos) who had her own dancing career cut tragically short by a hit and run accident years ago knows how hard she must push her students if they're to succeed even if it means shattered dreams for all except the chosen few.

Hopefully tho' she wont be pushing them under any motorbikes and giving them shattered pelvises instead.

Just saying.

It's not all studio based gyrating tho' as after a particularly sweaty diisco inferno-esque dance routine, saucy, local nosed student Joan (the hamster like  Carmo, providing I've got the right actress it's all a bit of a haze) and her boyfriend Willy (Mark Hamill alike Borromeo from Tenebrae) decide meet up in the ladies locker room for some bumping and grinding of a different kind.

And by that I mean they're going to be having some of 'the sex'.

So after some hot n' heavy 'making out' (as the kids call it) and being aware that the automated security system is about to lock the school, Willy heads off to wash his bits in preparation for some proper poking whilst Joan has a shower to 'cool down'.

Fuck me having sex was really complicated in the 80s, no wonder I stuck to books.

Quite literally in some cases.*

"Tissues in mah mooth!"

Unfortunately for her - but bloody lucky for us after the flurry of crotch obsessed musical numbers -there's a black clad killer on the loose who sneaks into the shower cubicle and chloroforms the nubile dancer before stabbing her in the heart with an ornate hat pin.

As you do.

As dawn breaks it'll come as no surprise when I say that the rest of the dance class is shocked (or is that totally apathetic? it's hard to tell) as accusations begin to fly and gossip starts to spread like warm runny butter down a small childs thigh.

Surely it wasn't one of the other students that committed this foul (if not oh so slightly erotically charged) murder to better their chances of an audition?

Hard nosed, brick chinned chubster Lieutenant Borges (Cinieri from The New York Ripper looking for the world like a less gin - and piss - soaked Hugo Stiglitz) has absolutely no idea, but you can be pretty sure he's going to use the murder as an excuse to slap the kids around a bit, stuff his face with nuts and swear a lot till he finally solves the case.

What a guy.

Hands up if you think this blog is shite.

Remembering that even tho' the film is attempting to look - and feel - like a big budget American thriller it is in fact an Italian giallo so at some point one of the characters must experience a bizzaro dream sequence and in this case it's Candice who suddenly starts sweatily dreaming about a hunky blond guy chasing her around a kids play park and trying to stab her with a hat pin.

Seems legit.

Anyway as the plot gets more and more obtuse and more and more girls are murdered - alongside a wee chaffinch in a cage, the bastard - Borges deduces that each one is being killed in order of class merit.

If that at happened when I attended art school I'd have been royally screwed.

And not just by the sleazy librarian Mr Chisholm.

But I digress.

To take her mind off such matters Candice decides a day in the country would be nice so persuades her school girl chasing, bespectacled college Dick Gibson (Mountain of The Cannibal God's Cassinelli - seriously this movie is a veritable who's who of Euro Horror) to accompany her and with picnic packed and a clean pair of pants in her pocket the duo head out onto the road but almost immediately come across (not in that way) a billboard ad for hemorrhoid cream that features the same mysterious man as is in her dreams.

After a wee bit of rudimentary detective work on her part (which let's be honest is much more than Borges has done) Candice discovers that the mystery man is one George Webb (Living Dead At The Manchester Morgue's Lovelock), an alcohol actor cum model with a thing for pre-teen girls and a dark secret.

Because being a pedo isn't dark enough obviously.

"You may feel a tiny prick."

Obviously the best way for Candice to prove he did/didn't do the bad murders is to almost immediately jump into bed with him in and have loads of sex, oblivious to the fact  that all around her chaos is reigning supreme and everyone and their dog becomes a suspect or at the very least has a bizarre secret to hide.

For starters it turns out that Dick had been trying to bed the dead girls, one of the male students is a nutter who actually confesses to the crimes (he did it because he hates 'Spics' apparently), George once had an affair with a 15 year old who mysteriously died and Fame-like fellow dance tutor Margie (friend of this blog Geretta) hates Candice so much that she goes as far as dressing up as the Killer, chloroforming her and attempting to stick her with a pin.


As even more girls turn up on the slab and with fewer and fewer suspects left standing, will Lieutenant Borges be able to pin the crime on the killer before it's too late?

It was the early 80's and the Giallo genre was fading out of fashion in Italy, replaced by futuristic action flicks, slasher movies and an invasion of big budget American fare such as Flashdance and the like.

Silk stockings and blood red shoes were out and leather shoulder pads, crotch cutting leotards and amusing hairstyles were most definitely in.

It would take a man of unhinged genius to try and revive Giallo's fortunes and save this fantastic sub genre; and Lucio Fulci happily took the challenge.

The result was Murder Rock, a schizophrenic mishmash of murder, mystery, body popping and cheesy disco hits straight out of Fame.

From the opening scenes of a demanding female instructor putting her students thru' their paces to close ups of the shaggy haired keyboard jiving student miming to a poptastic Kieth Emerson score you know you're in for something special as Fulci treats us to consistent (and totally unnecessary) close-ups of spandex clad bouncy arses, sweaty heaving breasts and a plethora of thrusting hips.

One sequence is actually taken shot for shot from the aforementioned Flashdance, when one of the students (female thankfully) auditions for a nightclub boss.

Chair dancing and drenched in water with her backside fighting to escape the tiniest thong in living memory, Fulci's only addition to the scene is a frightening number of crash zooms into the dancers crotch at every opportunity.

And for that we must thank him.


Five fingers, never touched the side.

As for the cast well, as mentioned earlier it's a fanboy's dream come true, featuring as it does nearly ever major player from the heyday of Italian horror.

As well as those already mentioned - Olga (Zombie Flesh Eaters and later Prince's mum in Purple Rain) Karlatos, Cosimo (Manhattan Baby) Cinieri, the late great Claudio (Island of The Fishmen) Cassinelli, Geretta (Rats) Geretta, Al Cliver (and beard) in an uncredited cameo and Ray Lovelock - there are also top turns from such Euro superstars as Giovanni (The Beyond) de Nava and the scarily sexy red head Silvia (House By The Cemetery) Collatina of whom I still crush over to this day.

Tho' I'm friends with her on Facebook so I should really keep that quiet.

Don't tell anyone will you?

With fantastic cinematography from the god like Giuseppe Pinori, top gore effects and more sweaty and naked ladies than you can stick a hat pin in, Murder Rock is well worth the couple of quid it'll cost you at Cash Converters so jump in and boogie on down to one of Fulci’s greatest movies.

No seriously.

*Case in point:

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

asking for a friend....

A castle under siege from an army of the undead.....
Scared peasants training to fight....
A man with one hand arrives to help them...

Game Of Thrones or Army Of Darkness?

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

people you fancy but shouldn't (part 84).

Jan Smithers AKA Bailey Quarters in WKRP in Cincinnati.

Ask your dad.


As regular reader(s) will know, in real life I draw stuff for a living and sometimes it's even good.
Recently I've completed the artwork for a new cassette compilation of J-Pop, J-Rock, J-Psych, J-Folk (and much more).
And volume 2 has just been released. 

It's now on sale and available from Bandcamp and here's the link.
End of plug.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

just because....

Andrea Rau, Daughters of Darkness (1971).

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

perry combover.

Too much sex and violence around here lately and not enough spaceships.

Well that was short and sweet.


Mission Stardust (AKA …4 ..3 ..2 ..1 …Morte, Perry Rhodan – SOS aus dem Weltall. 1967).
Dir: Primo Zeglio.
Cast: Lang Jeffries, Essy Persson, Luis Dávila, John Karelson, Stefano Sibaldi, Janos Bartha, Gianni Rizzo, Pinkas Braun and Dakar.

"Your eyes are very quick... just like your hands!"

A group of top space-type blokes - the square-jawed Major Perry Rhodan ( Vengeance of the Gladiator, Mexican Slayride and La rivolta degli schiavi 'star' Jeffries - imagine a slightly more rapey but definitely less Autistic hating William Shatner), box-faced Captain Mike Bull (Dávila from Espionage in Tangiers), ball-bonced badboy Captain 'French' Flipper (Martín best known - possibly - for A Fistful of Dollars) and the not worthy of a first name Dr. Manoli (Mmm Bop singer Hansen) are heading to the moon aboard the top secret starship Stardust (which strangely enough appears to be disguised as a huge metallic cock and balls) on an even more top secret (topper secret?) mission. 

And the reason for the secrecy - but not the phallic stuff obviously?

Well it seems that scientists have discovered  deposits of a metal with an atomic density even greater than cobalt or lithium below the surface.

No me neither.

"Are we there yet?"

Unfortunately the evil - yet cuddly dog owning -  billionaire industrialist Alan 'Von' Arkin (Braun, best known around here for his slightly un-PC performance as Fing-Su in Der Fluch der gelben Schlange) has already discovered the facts regarding the mission and is busy plotting something or other.

To be honest I wasn't really paying attention.

Anyway back to the action where our heroes are having a wee bit of bother with their spaceship controls as they prepare for landing, that's not the only problem tho' as suddenly all communication with Earth is lost too.

Being rough, tough spacers tho' the crew somehow manage a safe landing,  Mike and Perry head off to explore in a huge white wheeled dildo whilst the doctor and Flipper stay behind to try and fix the rocket.

Well that bit of peril was over fairly quickly wasn't it?

Perry and Mike happily bounce across the moon's barren surface unaware that danger (or at least a wee bit of oddness) is lurking over the horizon - firstly the moon buggies aerial melts soon followed by the vehicle controls and when the pair step out of the vehicle to look for damage it suddenly disappears in a bright light (and dodgy dissolve)  before their very eyes.

To be honest tho' Perry seems pretty nonplussed by this and the pair continue on foot soon coming across a huge gold space-fairing testicle* parked in a nearby crater and guarded by a group of bucket headed robots.

If you're wondering how you fan tell that they're robots well the fact that they keep removing their helmets to reveal a pair of comedy chattering teeth and some googly eyes attached to a shoebox.

"We can't repel testicles of this magnitude!"

Upon seeing our heroic duo one of the robots zaps their sidearms into oblivion before leading the pair into an elevator that takes them up to the spaceships interior - and not the lingerie department obviously - where Perry and Mike are introduced to the clap riddled alien scientist Terry  'Falcon' Crest (Italian film stalwart Karlsen) and the shapely blonde bombshell Captain Thora (Actress cum visual artist cum haunter of my dreams Persson) who appears to be wearing seashells as a bra.

Well she is from outer space so who am I to judge?

No need yet every need at the same time....Why am I so confused?

As Thora stands around looking angry (or is it erotic? - angrily erotic? - bored? to be honest I could tell as I was way too busy trying to figure out what kind of shells she was sporting) Crest explains how they traveled from the highly advanced planet Baldpate to find another race to procreate with in order to save their race from extinction.

Unfortunately during a particularly intense game of space Ludo they crashed on the moon and are now stuck and with that the old bloke coughs a wee bit and stumbles into a chair because he's very poorly.

Which seems fair enough.

Obviously Perry offers to help (with the fixing of the ship and the whole repopulating the planet thing) so Crest uses his spooky alien technology to bring the Stardust closer as to allow Dr. Manoli to examine him and after a wee cough and drop explains that Crest has a special kind of leukemia that can only be treated by the world famous blood doctor Frank Haggard at his institute in Mombasa.

This is in no way a convoluted plot.


But first Thora has to change her outfit so invites Perry into her quarters to watch her get undressed before complaining that his gropey sausage fingers prove he's a savage and therefore unworthy of sticking his engorged member in her space ladygarden.

Do you think she may change her mind before the films climax?

"Look at the dog!"

Anyway taking a reconnaissance ship (which to be honest is the same model just filmed far away) the gang head to Africa to find the doctor and hopefully score some cheap crack along the way as the film veers drunkenly from hip 'n' groovy space adventure to a cut-price Eurospy caper.

It's like Moonraker in reverse but with tighter trousers.

On the way to Earth tho' Perry realizes that the spacesuits don't have any pockets so none of them have any cash to buy postcards etc upon arrival but luckily as it turns out the aliens use diamonds as we would use paperclips so Thora hands a big bag full of them over to our heroes.


Obviously flying a fairly big gold bollock into African airspace attracts the attention of not just local comedy general Roon (Bartha) and his Dad's Army style goons but also of Arkin too who is still not bothering to explain his plan other than it will involve him taking over the world to anyone around him.

And that includes Fulci stalwart Dakar which is a nice surprise.

With Thora, who despite herself is beginning to fall for Perry, remaining onboard to oversee the mission Perry and Mike head off to fetch Haggard but as is the way in adventure films of this ilk the journey is anything but easy as the pair have to deal with a variety of evil used car salesmen and scary turbaned types trying to sell them young (or "Very young!" as he proclaims) girls.**

Most importantly tho' is the fact that Mike hasn't had a fag for three days so is getting grumpy.

No really.


With Arkin closing in and a traitor in their midst it's a race against time to find Haggard and save Crest's life before Arkin does that thing that we're still not sure about.

And to be honest it's not that fast a race as Crest seems pretty OK actually, I mean it's not like he's been given hours to live or anything.

But let's not worry too much about that as there's just enough time for some zero gravity fist fights, cardboard tank battles and sexy nurses with machine gun action as we quite leisurely head toward the movies climax which may also feature our heroes storm Arkin's island headquarters (offscreen obviously) whilst dressed as Devo.

From the man who brought us Slave Queen of Babylon, Capitan Fantasma and a dozen more films no-one has ever seen comes this frankly fantastic (if a wee bit threadbare) Italian/West German co-production based on the best-selling Perry Rhodan book series that was so beloved by my granddad - and for that reason alone there's a shedload of love for this movie.

Plus the fact that Essy Persson is utterly amazing and an obvious influence on Sofia Boutella's Jayla in Star Trek Beyond.

They even look and sound similar.

Simon Pegg we have questions.

Even thinking about it would be enough to finish you off.

 Based, in part, on the first book in the series 'Enterprise Stardust', Primo Zeglio's version (adapted by K.H. Vogelmann alongside Sergio Donati and Zeglio himself) jettisons much of author K. H. Scheer's cold war paranoia and replaces it with a standard runaround Bond style romp and shiny suits in a mish-mash of Modesty Blaise and Diabolik with a dash of Barbarella style psychedelia chucked in for good measure that is unfortunately neither as hip 'n' happening or knowingly camp as any of them with Zeglio seemingly unsure of how to shoot sci-fi he instead just points the camera at stuff and hopes for the best which means the film at least picks up pace when it crash lands back to an Earth setting.

And it's on Earth that the film - and director - seems more comfortable as it mines the James Bond series for inspiration with the dog-loving, tuxedo clad baddie Arkin acting as a surrogate Blofeld and Rhodan getting involved with various traitors, crime bosses and gun-toting sexy nurses in gas masks and tiny skirts.

Which is nice.

Plus there are gadgets galore courtesy of Thora who, despite being a cold-hearted alien who sees humans as primitives you just know will eventually fall for Rhodans charms.

Which just goes to show how talented model-cum-erotic actress-cum-artist Essy Persson actually is seeing as Lang Jeffries is about as charismatic as a house brick.

Which on a positive note means there's hope for us all.


Interestingly (well to anyone who reads this blog) the films 'stunning' special effects were directed by the late great Antonio (Cannibal Apocalypse) Margheriti in what can only be seen as one of his lean periods tho' fans of cardboard and dustbins won't be disappointed.

Plus the score from the groove-tastic Marcello Giombini & Antón García Abril - especially the theme as sung by frequent Ennio Morricone collaborator Edda Dell'Orso - is a blinder.

Screw the haters Mission Stardust is well worth a look.

*Or is it a giant gold bust of Star Wars favourite Admiral Ackbar's head?

Either way it could be a trap.

**By the way and as an aside, from the soundtrack, the extras outfits and general look of the place I'm pretty sure no-one involved in the movie has ever been to Mombasa but has seen someones Egyptian holiday snaps.