Monday, July 27, 2020


John Saxon

5 August 1935 -
25 July 2020

Sunday, July 26, 2020


Sad to hear of the death of genre god John Saxon today so thought I'd (re)post this review as a way of tribute.

A fairly interesting story about this movie by the way, you see I was in the charity shop a few years back and found it in a bucket by the door for a quid.

I already owned it on VHS but thought what the hell so bought it anyway.

Partly because the VHS player being in the bottom of a cupboard meant that I'd not been able to watch it for years but mainly because I needed change for the bus.

You can tell how much effort I'm putting into this tribute can't you?

Cannibal Apocalypse (AKA Apocalypse Domani, Invasion of The Flesh Hunters, The Cannibals Are In The Streets, Cannibals In The City. 1980).
Directed by Antonio Margheriti.
Starring John Saxon, Elizabeth Turner, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, May Heatherly, Tony King, Wallace Wilkinson, Cinzia De Carolis and Ramiro Oliveros.

"Charlie can you hear me?" "I can hear you. Shitface" 

Welcome to Vietnam (OK it's really the local nature reserve at the bottom of Antonio Margheriti's street), where war is Hell and shooting permits are cheap but more importantly where the evil Viet-Cong force captured American soldiers to sit in puddles of dirty water and poke them with sticks until they turn into cannibals.

Or something.

Stumbling into this jungle madness is the heroically hatted figure of Norman Hopper (the late, great Saint John of Saxon and the reason we are here), who has been given the task of rescuing his fallen (and now soaked to the skin and slightly damp smelling) comrades.

After an obligatory fire-fight our hero manages to free the prisoners only to to bitten on the arse - sorry, arm, by the googly eyed madman and famed author Charlie Bukowski (Italy's favourite whipping boy, Giovanni Lombardo Radice credited here as John Morghen), who, unknown to Hopper has turned into one of those aforementioned cannibals.

And all that's within the first five minutes.

Inside Jeffrey Epstein's mind.

Attempting to adjust back to civilian life Hopper is plagued by nightmares regarding his 'Nam man munching, waking every night in a cold sweat and suffering from an uncontrollable fear of bearded blokes in Ford Capris whilst his flaxen haired and smooth of skinned wife Jane (Turner from Fulci's The Psychic and the possession panto Beyond The Door) can only sit with her head held slightly askew in a concerned manner offering her man hugs and biscuits inbetween sly flashes of her milky cleavage.

Which is nice. 

John Saxon realizes in horror that the script requires him to perform oral sex on a bubble-permed hamster.

As it happens Hopper receives a phone call from Bukowski the very next day, it seems that he's just been released from psychiatric care and fancies catching up with his old wartime buddy over a glass of J&B or six.

Hopper, trying to forget the whole Vietnam thing declines the offer, preferring to spend the day flying kites with his son before finally giving in to the advances of his hamster-cheeked, big barnetted, barely legal neighbour Mary (De Carolis who once released the hit single Perché sei mia madre, fact fans).

But don't worry about Hoppers honour tho'....from the amount of chins she has it's more Pie-dophilia than pedophilia.

Never more so than when our hero comes face to, um fanny with her springy bush, straining as it is to escape over the top of her tiny white panties.

Overcome with grief at what has happened to his career the poor sod ends up biting her.

I mean if the saying 'you are what you eat' is true then John Saxon's going to spend the rest of the film looking like a right fanny.

Or a poodle/pound shop Barbie hybrid.

Luckily Mary's aunt calls her home before Hopper can start on dessert saving  him (and us) from what could have been the single most disturbing scene in cinema history.

Hammy the hamster, up the casino, Brighton, 1978....Yesch!

A rejected and forlorn Charlie, still reeling from being knocked back for a fat lass decides to spend his afternoon in the local 'art' cinema, taking in a few subtitled movies and, if lucky getting a wee gobble off a crack fueled whore during the Butterkiss ads.

Ah memories of being a teen and visiting the Plaza cinema Dudley in the 80s.

Alls going swimmingly until halfway thru' Jacques Rivette's classic Jane Birkin starrer Around a Small Mountain when Charlie notices the couple in front of him having a bit of 'the sex'.

The sight of Birkin back on the big screen coupled with the overpowering aroma of yeast is too much for our Charlie who, after a bit of thigh rubbing leans forward and bites the woman on the neck.

This small social faux pas on Charlie's part soon escalates into a full blown riot with the poor guy accidentally knocks over a motorbike on his way out and getting chased by a gang of Hells Angels before finally getting trapped in the middle of a shoot-out in the kids section of Marks and Spencer with the whole thing being shown live on the news.

Which if I'm honest is a pretty normal day in Glasgow.

Luckily Hopper just happens to watching and - in tribute to Paul Gascoigne grabs a can of lager, some chicken and a mobile phone and quickly heads down to the shops in order to help out his old buddy.

Shite in mah mooth!

Tempting Charlie out of hiding with the promise of a Kinder egg, Hopper is soon accompanying his friend to the hospital where they come across fellow vet and long-pig fan Tom Thompson (King from Shaft) who, alongside Charlie has the sudden urge to bite both the police and nursing staff before getting bundled into a cupboard and locked up.

Hopper's embarrassment and worry about what he's going to tell his wife is soon put into perspective when everyone who's been bitten or scratched by either Tom or Charlie start rampaging around possessed by a crazed hunger for human flesh.

Luckily Helen (Heatherly from the classic Pieces), the fairly hot nurse who gotten nibbled earlier is actually fairly sympathetic to our heroes plight and sets the former soldiers free to escape into the sewers.

Hopper feeling partly responsible for his men decides to follow.

Cinzia De Carolis: There's a snake in her boots...possibly.

Back at the Hopper house, Jane is having a wee bit of trouble using the telephone - the receiver keeps slipping thru' her sausage fingers - so she heads over to whorish Mary's house to use hers.

And her telephone if she's lucky.

Greeted at the door by an even more freakish than normal Mary and her spooky brother Radcliffe, the kids are more than happy to help, apologizing for the lingering smell of dead old lady in the house and explaining that their aunt has had to leave suddenly.

Hmmm....suspicious much?

 John Saxon mulls over his career choices to date.

Anyways, back in the stinky sewer our heroes hope of escape is dashed when Helen gets bitten on the bum by a rat, her screams leading the police straight to the cannibal chums who then politely shoot her in the face.

Mad with rage, shame and hunger Charlie goes mental only to get his stomach machine gunned out whilst Tom, annoyed at seeing his pals and the most attractive woman on screen get slaughtered in front of him attacks the police before getting torched with a handy flamethrower.


Only Hopper survives - just about - and then only after being shot in the leg destroying his chances of ever entering Strictly Come Dancing.

Or Tess Daly.

Tess Daly: Cut up like a pig in a market.

Crawling out of the sewer he steals a car and heads home for a tearful wank and a sweet n' sour Pot Noodle.

Meanwhile with her phone needs sated, Jane  decides to head back home for an afternoon of gin, chocolate and Price Drop TV but as she settles into her favourite chair she hears a strange scraping noise from the spare room.

Slowly opening the door she finds her husband, decked out in his smartly ironed - yet slightly bloody - dress uniform.


Begging his wife to stay away Jane informs him that she's gotten in touch with their friend and family physician Dr. Phil Mendez (Oliveros) and even as they speak he's racing over to help.

Which would be all well and good if he too wasn't infected.

With barmy bloodlust on both sides and a sweaty handed housewife trapped in between the outlook for a happy ending looks grim.

And that's without mentioning the crazed cannibal kids across the road....

"Is that a gun in your hand or just a strange shaped erection?"

With the enigmatically - oh go on lazily - unexplained cannibal virus becoming shorthand for the effects of the Vietnam war on the American psyche and the repercussions of said war on the general populace,  Arena hero Antonio Margheriti's foray into the mind of a post war USA and the effects of a repressive society  still haunted by their unspeakable acts is as relevant today (if not more so) in this post 9-11 world as it was on release.

Each character has a lust or urge that society deems must be controlled, from Hopper's lust for his teen neighbour to Charlie's violent breast obsession via Jane's romantic feelings toward Mendez, they are all fighting against their base primal instincts.

And when these instincts take over what better form to represent them than cannibalism?

And who says Japanese cinema design isn't subtle?

Or is it just a low budget horror movie featuring blood, guts gore and some jailbait T&A given a cheap and cheerful Vietnam opening because Apocalypse Now had just been released?

If you check out the directors other projects I think the question answers itself.

Cast wise the movie is blessed by stand-out performances by the always watchable John Saxon, aided and abetted by the brooding king of cinematic bad luck, the incredible Giovanni Lombardo Radice, a man that  made his mark playing nasty lowlifes who meet vicious ends in a handful of 80s Italian splatter flicks and who, remarkably isn't a fan of the genre, his main love being opera (a world in which he's renowned as a director).

Strange but true.

Saxon, in one of his many 'it's a shame for me' outbursts has all but disowned the movie, saying how he was drugged/tricked/blackmailed into making it.

To that all I can say is Blood Beach.

I could go on for pages trying to persuade you how great a movie this is and how it defies genre pigeon holing but the bottom line is that:

A. I really can't be bothered.


B: Let's be honest here, any Vietnam war movie featuring such quality actors giving it their all, cannibals, war is hell flashbacks and dumpy seductresses in tiny pants has to be at least twice as entertaining as one that doesn't.

Grab this, some beer and a copy of L’Ultimo cacciatore and your Saturday night will be complete.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

mental as anything.

Over a hundred days into lockdown and with a month before the schools go back (probably) the trio of terror are well and truly knackered giving Mrs Unwell and myself a rare evening free of screams and fire starting.
So what better way to celebrate than with a nice romantic movie.

Doom Asylum (1987).
Dir: Richard Friedman.
Cast: Micheal Rogen, Patty Mullen, William Hay, Kenny Price, Harrison White, Kristin Davis, Ruth Collins, Dawn Alvan, Harvey Keith, Steven Menkin and Farin.

“Yes, I am mad, mad with hatred and revenge!”

Welcome to generic country backwoods USA where divorce lawyer extraordinaire  Mitch Hansen (Basket Case 2 star and father of Seth, Rogen) along-with his client/squeeze Judy LaRue (Frankenhooker herself and one-time Penthouse pet of the month, the milky thighed Mullen) are celebrating her divorce/his trial win with a high speed, champagne fueled trip along the winding roads (with it must be said, gay abandon and to a really shite MOR soundtrack to boot), racing home in order to pack off her daughter Kiki to boarding school so that they can indulge in some of the sex.

But we're not here for a legal-eagle drama or love story we're here for some copious amounts of blood and gore (with a couple of breast shots thrown in too probably) so within minutes of this romantic scene playing out the couples car swerves out of control and crashes into a tree.

I assume it's a tree because the films budget is so low we only get some out of focus camera swirling and a scratchy sound effects LP in lieu of some actual stunt work. 

Luckily they kept a few quid back to show us the aftermath which features poor Mitch covered head to toe in strawberry jam with the arse ripped out of his trousers cradling a dirtied up and dying Judy as her severed hand lies in the grass.

Rum, sodomy and the lash.

Thanks to some top quality cutting we're suddenly at the local morgue where the studly and shaded Dr. Bob (stuntman for hire Keith obviously trying to hide his identity) and his assistant Barry (producer Menkin in a cash saving cameo) are preparing to perform an autopsy on a naked and badly burned Mitch.

But as Dr. Bob instructs Barry to start cutting away at Mitch's face the lacerated lawyer wakes up screaming and without further ado - or any reason whatsoever - proceeds to kill the pair with their own instruments before donning a labcoat and disappearing into the hospital basement where he will spend the next ten years watching old copyright free Todd Slaughter movies whilst caressing Judy's severed hand.

And wanking himself off with it.


Look we've all been there.

Especially those of us self isolating.

Anyway a lot has happened in ten years, including the hospital closing down and Judy's daughter Kiki growing up to be the spit of her mum (which is lucky as they can use the same actress) and she too is now driving along the same road accompanied on the journey by her indecisive beau Mike (Hay in his only film role - why am I not surprised?), geeky, trading card obsessed manchild Dennis (non-hit wonder Price), token black cool kid Darnell (White who actually went on to have a career working with such luminaries as David Fincher and Kermit The Frog), and the bespectacled beauty Jane (button-nosed Sex In The City babe and Stuff magazine's no. 42 in their 102 Sexiest Women in the World survey 2002 Davis in her film debut).

It seems that the group are retracing Kiki's mothers final journey on the anniversary of her death, first stopping off next to the tree where she died (where Kiki finds her mums broken mirror) before heading off for a picnic at the by now abandoned hospital.

Each to their own I guess.

"How'd ya like dem apples?" - and by apples I think they mean breasts.

Approaching the hospital the group can't help but notice the strange sounds emanating from within so Darnell decides to investigate, soon coming across (not in that way tho' I'd seriously consider it) local punk legends - and real life Pizzazz And The Misfits -  Tina and the Tots rehearsing.

Not being a fan of female based industrial post-punk Darnell sneakily unplugs their sound system much to blonde bombshell Tina's (Collins, producer of the William Shatner TV show Moving America Forward) chagrin who loudly vows revenge on these musical philistines.

Before laughing maniacally.

For around fifteen minutes.

Probably THE greatest fictional band since DeJour, the incredible Tina And The Tots - emanating so much girl power that even the thought of a sly titwank would kill you.

But as Tina issues threats from the hospital roof (where the only real threat is that of her breasts escaping from her studded bikini top) the bands keyboard player Godiva (the pixie-like Alvan) gazes dreamily at Darnell and in a sequence as brilliant as it is misplaced fantasizes about the pair running thru' wheat-fields and kissing to the cheesiest library music this side of a Cheddar ad.

Rapunzel (the mysterious Farin) the Russian drummer is less impressed tho' as she stomps about shouting about politics and stuff in an accent so thick it's as if the soundtrack had been dipped in treacle.

She does have a very pretty skirt tho' so I guess that makes up for it.

Meanwhile our teen pals are busying themselves dishing out the crisp sandwiches and bottles of Tizer as the prepare their picnic and with this being an American movie the picnic also involves Kiki and Jane stripping down to their swimsuits in order to 'soak up some rays'.

Which probably wont be as absorbent as the tissues grabbed for by the audience of horny teen boys on release at the sight of Davis looking incredibly uncomfortable in probably the highest cut all in one blue swimsuit ever committed to celluloid.

It's obvious that she picked this costume - rather than the flimsy red number worn by Mullen - in order to retain some semblance of modesty, unfortunately from the camera angles used the director had other ideas.

And I wonder why she never talks about this movie during interviews?

Somewhere to park your bike at least.

But as the group settle down for some salty snacks and excited chat a strange figure is lurking in the bushes watching them....

Cue 50 minutes of fag end gore, sexy 80s goth boots, Kristin Davis' terrifying bubble perm, punk on preppy punch-ups, condom water balloons, some quick and unnecessary nudity and a running joke regarding our heroine calling her boyfriend 'mom' that drunkenly stumbles toward a climax of pure nonsensical joy.

Shot over 8 days for $168* by ex- Goldman/Sachs banker, biblical scholar or the guy behind Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge depending on which Wiki entry you click on Richard Friedman in an actual abandoned hospital, Doom Asylum is at once the nadir and the pinnacle of lo-fi 80s horror from it's non-acting cast who all appear to have only recently discovered the power of speech to it's Blu-Tak make-up effects held together with piss and vinegar the whole exercise reeks of desperation and shame - and that's even when you ignore the look of utter embarrassment on poor Kristin Davis' face as she's forced to wander aimlessly around a hobo-paradise glad in an arse splitting swimsuit and a pair of wee boys trainers.

"Boiled onions!"

But at points it manages to transcend the limitations of its budget/editing/general cack-handedness to become something if not competent at least entertaining.

Especially when Ruth Collins is on-screen coming across like the results of an unholy union 'tween Tracie Lords and Tura Satana as she throws our hunky lead off a roof, attacks picnickers with condoms and beats the shite out of the villain with a big metal pole - all whilst laughing like a drain and clad in a studded bra.

Feminine perfection.

Thank fuck Linnea Quigley was too expensive for this movie.

Which is a terrifying thought in itself if I'm honest.

It's cheap and tacky with more holes than a crack addled whores duvet but to those of us of a certain (old) age  Doom Asylum is a guilt free way of reliving our teen movie watching years, peering closely at the flickering portable TV in our bedroom waiting for a glimpse of gore, our free hand on the cabled remote control as we awaited a flash of lady parts or a sexy 80s style swimsuit.

Just me then?

A must for anyone the wrong side of 40, tho' everyone else will probably think that it's just utter shite from start to finish.

*The extra $100 was paid to actress Ruth Collins when she agreed to flash her breasts.

True story bro.

Monday, July 6, 2020

farewell maestro.

Ennio Morricone,  

10 November 1928 - 6 July 2020

Friday, July 3, 2020


Folk on 'the Twitter' have been discussing what movie is the greatest sword and sorcery film ever.

Obviously it's this.

No contest.

Hawk The Slayer (1980).
Dir: Terry Marcel.
Cast: John Terry, Jack Palance, Bernard Bresslaw, Morgan Sheppard, Annette Crosbie, Shane Bryant, Ray Charleson, Peter O'Farrell, Patricia Quinn and Catriona MacColl.

I am no messenger. But I will give you a message. The message of DEATH!

It is a time of darkness (around 3:30 in the afternoon by the look of the sky) when evil walks the land.

Witches wander the woods whilst common folk sit on tree stumps wearing tights and tidy beards whilst every bad man possesses a shiny helmet.

One such chrome hatted horror is the wicked Steve Voltan (human handbag Palance in a performance so over the top he's almost in orbit) who, after a huge argument with his dad (probably over not paying his board or being out too late), kills the old fella before doing a runner.

It's like the late lamented Jeremy Kyle show but with more tooled leather.

Enter from stage left the luxurious locked nice son Hawk (John - not the footballer - Terry) who's just turned up to see if his dad needs any shopping done.

Cradling his dying father in his arms (but luckily not in his mooth) our hero listens intently (tho' from Terry's acting he could have constipation) as the old man mutters on about the kids of today having no respect and the price of bread before finally bestowing the mysterious 'Mind Sword' on his son.

A magical bladed weapon with bizarre powers represented by a kids torch stuck to the hilt.

As dad breathes his last Hawk turns to camera and vows to avenge his death.

But not before he gets his hair blow dried and his eyebrows done obviously.

"Don't touch the hair."

Meanwhile Voltan's evil ways have eclipsed the entire kingdom; his followers appear to have stolen all the buildings and replaced them with paintings, night time has been outlawed and replaced with a nicotine filter and the whole country has been reduced to the wooded bit next to the play park behind the directors house, just ever so slightly redressed between scenes in an attempt to confuse the locals.

Luckily there's at least one real building left in the land, a convent run by Victor Meldrew's missis and a last shining beacon of hope in an otherwise dark world.

And currently limping bravely towards this beacon is the bearded and bashed Ranulf (genre stalwart Sheppard), sole survivor of one of Voltan's massacres.

Arriving at the front door he's quickly ushered into the dining hall and in between mouthfuls of egg and cress sandwiches and crisps helpfully informs the nuns  - and by default the viewers - of just how evil Voltan is.

It appears that the evil one attacked Ranulf's village without reason or warning, hacking the women and children to pieces and digging up the adventure playground before twisting the swings around so high that no-one could use them and sitting on the slide.

I shudder as to what he did to the men folk tho' as their fate is never mentioned.

Maybe he sent them to work in his secret licorice mines?


Luckily for Ranulf he's a fucking good runner  - who seems not too bothered to lose his family, perhaps they weren't speaking?-  and managed to escape before things got too bloody.

Tho' he does appear to have left most of his hand behind and what's left of it is beyond saving,  so the nuns wrap a scarf around it and send him to bed.

On the other - only?- hand his beard and crooked teeth are perfectly fine so it's not all bad.

It's not all saucy young nuns and snacks tho' as before long Voltan appears at the convent intent on bad deeds, first he roughly takes Annette Crosbie to his lair (dirty boy), before demanding 'all the gold!' as a ransom.
Understandably pissed off at all these naughty shenanigans Ranulf, blaming Voltan for cutting short his promising career as a professional knitter decides to challenge him to a duel but unfortunately falls for the villains taunts of "I can fight you with one arm behind my back" (probably) which results in our bearded pal getting a damn good kicking.

"You should really see a doctor about that son."

Left battered, bruised and surrounded by crying nuns, Ranulf quickly rides off - he's getting good at this legging it lark - to the Abbey for a meeting with the High Abbot (unfortunately not Russ), who after much chin stroking sends Ranulf off to search for one who can help defeat Voltan.

A man named Hawk.....The Slayer.

Obviously everyone else was busy.

Ranulf quickly begins his quest to find Hawk but is almost immediately  accosted by some gypsies and after refusing to buy some pegs is locked up in a cage.

Come on, how unlucky is this guy?

Help is at hand tho' when Hawk just happens to come riding passed - with his sexy blind sorceress companion (the raunchy redhead that fueled so many teen fantasies thanks to Rocky Horror, Patricia Quinn) that he rescued from being burnt as a witch a few scenes earlier - and kills the dirty criminals using his 'Mind Sword'.

Which it turns out is exactly like a normal sword apart from the fact that it can float into its owners hand as if carried - just out of shot - by a member of the crew.

Spock: The Pikey years.

After listening to Ranulf's tale of woe, Hawk decides to help rescue Ms. Crosbie  and begins to round up his posse from 'the mystic hood' as they probably said in the olden days to kick Voltan's arse.

Contrary to what you might be thinking this isn't as heroic and selfless as it sounds seeing as he was on his way to kill Voltan anyway, it just means that now he'll be getting some readies for doing it so it's not long (well the film has a fairly short running time) before our hero has got his merry band (The Slayerettes?)  together.

"'Ere Sid! This is a real carry on!"

This (slightly) super six consists of Hawk himself, Ranulf, the aforementioned sexy sorceress, a seriously short mallet wielding 'giant' named Gort (Carry On star Bresslaw), an elf dressed in a knitted tracksuit Cameron Crow (Charleson, famous for playing the Bishop in London's first multi-racial production of Jean Genet's 'The Balcony' fact fans) and Alec Baldin (professional short-arse O'Farrell) an overly tall dwarf with a bullwhip, pointy shoes and a fish fetish.

Voltan must be shitting himself.

"Trout in mah mooth!"

Heading back to the convent, our heroes soon get to work protecting the nuns, eating sandwiches and trying to work out how to get enough gold to lure Voltan into a trap.

You see, they've figure out that it'd be impossible to literally get 'all the gold' seeing as no-one is quite sure where it's all kept but reckon that some - mixed inn with some chocolate coins and old Ferrero Rocher packets would probably be better than none.

I mean Voltan only has one good eye so it's not like he'll be looking too closely.

After much deliberation and deciding that whoring out the nuns for pennies would be a bad idea, our heroes decide the easiest way to get the gold is to head out into the woods and relieve Tony Trafficker, the local news agent cum slave trader of his stash.

Oh yeah and free his slaves too obviously.

Surprisingly this all goes without a hitch and our merry band are soon back at the convent celebrating with crisps and lashings of ginger beer.

There's always one miserable git who manages to sour any celebration tho' and in this case it's Hawk himself.

Seems he's beginning to have second thoughts about trusting Voltan to keep his side of the bargain.

Seeing as he's already killed their dad and - in a soft focus flashback sequence - Hawk's wife Eliane (the legend that is Catriona MacColl) you can kinds see where he's coming from.

Pissed up on Buckfast and spoiling for a fight our heroes grab their weapons and head out to Voltan's castle in order to rescue Annette (and no doubt keep the gold for themselves) and hopefully persuade Voltan to change his ways and therefore avoid any unnecessary bloodshed.

Or any prohibitively expensive action sequences obviously.

It'll come as no surprise when I say that this plan fails abysmally and the dirty half dozen end up retreating back to the abbey with bruised ego's and slightly ruddy arses.

From having them kicked that is.

Minds like sewers you lot.

It's not all bad tho' as during the botched rescue, Hawk did manage to run his nephew Drogo thru' with a sword.

Which is nice.

"Buns you say?!?"

Obviously this doesn't go down too well with  Voltan, who on hearing the news of the death of his son goes completely mental and after throwing a dinner service at his trusty servant decides to attack the abbey, kill everybody in it and just take 'all the gold' for himself.

Which if you think about it is much more in keeping with his evil image.

With the help of a well-meaning (yet ultimately misguided) nun he breaks into the abbey whilst everyone is sleeping/hungover and captures our motley crew, tying them up in the basement ready for a wee bit of torture porn.

And he's going to start by introducing his brother Hawk to a red hot poker.

All looks lost but can the sorceress use her magical powers plus her seemingly unending supply of glowing ping-pong balls and silly string to rescue our heroes from evil?

Five go mad on meth.

Before I go any further can I just say I fucking love this movie and nothing - or no-one - will ever change my mind.

It's sad but true that Terry (co-writer and producer of Norman J. Warren's Prey- see? this blog's not just chucked together randomly) Marcel's vastly underrated British entry into the early 80's sword and sorcery genre is often ridiculed for it's poor effects, lack of budget, pseudo-disco score and the varying quality of the performances but if you can look past that lot you'll find a gem as bright as the one in the 'Mind Sword' just under the surface.

Well maybe not that bright otherwise you'd probably go blind but you get the point.

OK I'll admit that the cast are, on the whole as stilted and wooden as the trees surrounding them, but this almost high arch delivery evokes a less sophisticated age.

Take John Terry's performance as Hawk, who's to say that medieval noblemen didn't speak in broad Yankee accents and I've never read anything in history books to say that they had to move their upper bodies whilst talking.

Who knows, it might be that seeing as the 80's was the height of the toy tie-in, Terry might just be the greatest actor of them all, choosing to play Hawk as a living, breathing full size Palitoy action figure.

Now how's that for post modernism?

Luckily the late, great Jack Palance appears to be compensating for everyone else's lack of energy, spitting and snarling every single syllable like some huge brutish bull terrier with it's balls being slowly squeezed by a fresh smelling Emma Thompson whilst Air's Sexy Boy plays in the background and all the time whilst wearing a swing bin on his head.

C'mon, what's not to love?

"Touch my ring!"

Of the other cast members Ray Charleson's portrayal of Crow the Elf, whilst seemingly spookily mysterious to me as a child now just comes across like a whispering pikey peadophile bedecked in his mums best PJ's, which I admit says more about me than him whilst Bernard Bresslaw is basically having a dry run for the same character in Krull a few years later.

Only in that they could afford to give him some built-up shoes and a mask.

Tho' in all honesty it doesn't make it any less a bind to sit thru', at least with Hawk the cast look like they're at least enjoying themselves, unlike Krull where half the budget seems to have gone on inserting poles up the casts arses.

Talking of arses, Patricia Quinn is as sexy/scary (tick as applicable) as she was in The Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Hammer House of Horror episode Witching Time (the first full frontal nudity I ever saw) even tho' she's forced to wear a headband with an eye chalked on it and an old sleeping bag but let's be honest here, can you imagine any other actress managing to pull that off and still look sultry?

Thought not.

Patricia Quinn: You would (and your dad probably did. Twice).

Of the rest of the cast, the fantastic Morgan Sheppard is all hangdog looks, world weary sighs and muscular thighs (well maybe not the last bit) whilst O'Farrell gives it his all, which seeing as he's stuck wearing a pair of child's black ballet tights, winkle-pickers and a hoodie with a plastic mackerel in the pocket is pretty damn good if I'm honest.

Talking of plastic joke shop toys, any film that makes no apologies for using silly string, glowing ping-pong balls, pound shop spiders and hula hoops stolen from the set of Superman II as a serious replacement for a lack of effects budget deserves all the praise you can muster.

I mean you have to at least admire the crews balls for even thinking about attempting a movie of this scale on a budget that wouldn't even begin to cover the cost of Lena Headey's tattoo camouflaging cream on Game of Thrones.

Headey: No reason.

And what of the high energy synth score by ex Six-Five Special and Oh Boy musical director Harry Robertson I hear you ask?

Well it's nothing short of genius, giving Claudio Simonetti a run for his money and perfectly evocative of a spooky age of sorcery, swords and magic.

Albiet one where holiday resort discos are all the rage obviously.

Just give it a listen now and see if you're not transported back to a time of mucky maidens and medieval mayhem.

Or at the very least overtaken by the urge to give your evil sibling a damn good hiding.

Had there been any justice in the world someone would have penned lyrics to this and given us another Eurovision hit thereby ushering in an age of Hawk-based fashions and films.

Instead we got Prima Donna: Love Enough For Two and the cementing of Thatcherism.


But then again, I may be just a sad, sad fan boy who needs to get out more.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

big in japan.

Just because, Jennifer Connelly in Japanese print form.