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.

Monday, July 6, 2020

farewell maestro.

Ennio Morricone,  

10 November 1928 - 6 July 2020

Thursday, July 2, 2020

big in japan.

Just because, Jennifer Connelly in Japanese print form.