Thursday, December 29, 2022

cut it out.

Woke up this morning to the sad news that director Ruggero Deodato had died.

Remember meeting him way back in 2009 at a rare big screen showing of his classic drug-fueled actioner Cut And Run so reckoned I'd revisit that (very old) review today.

Godspeed sir!



Cut And Run (Inferno in Diretta, 1985).
Dir: Ruggero Deodato.
Cast: Lisa Blount, Leonard Mann, Carlos de Carvalho, Willie Aames, Richard Lynch, Richard Bright, Michael Berryman, Eriq La Salle, Karen Black, John Steiner, Valentina Forte and Gabriele Tinti.

Our story opens with a group of sweaty drug runners (or it could be rogue cake makers?) doing interesting things with loads of white powder (flour?) on a makeshift pier whilst a fantastically 'wah-wah' Simonetti synth score frugs away on the soundtrack.

The pound shop Miami Vice vibe is soon shattered tho' when this fantastic free market commune comes under attack from genre god Michael Berryman (clad in tiny green pants), what looks like Moby in a sarong and a squad of Beatle wigged natives who within minutes have violently murdered all the drug types and nailed all the ladies present to the floor.

Oh but not before fiddling with and then beheading them obviously.

"Need any scissors sharpening?"

Meanwhile in sunny Miami, a harsh faced South American woman cradling a crack filled doll has arrived at the airport to be met by two shady foreign types (are there any other sort?) who drive her to a rundown apartment.

Unbeknown to these hoodlums, ace cable news hound Fran (the late, great Lisa Blount who was in everything from Dead And Buried to Prince Of Darkness via An Officer And A Gentleman) and her tight trousered, tussle haired cameraman Mark (The Humanoid's Leonard Mann who, no doubt does whatever a Leonard can) are hot on their trail, looking for a scoop on the rising drug problem facing America.

Keeping tabs on the building from afar, our heroic duo soon get bored waiting for the police to arrive and decide it'd be a good idea to just wander in and ask the drug dealers for an interview.

Sneaking inside, Fran is just about to knock the door and shout "Oi! drug dealers NO!" whilst Mark waves his camera at them menacingly when she notices a pool of blood on the lino.

Nervously pushing the door open they find the apartment has been ripped apart, the bodies of the swarthy men are lying in piles of their own intestines, whilst the stony faced woman is stripped naked, her throat slit and her frighteningly unkempt bush on show for all to see.

Seriously it's so overgrown it'd cause heart palpitations in the public gallery at Holyrood.

Not wanting to waste the opportunity tho', they record a hard hitting (for Newsround) report amidst the carnage before Fran rifles thru' the dead woman's purse and legs it back to the studio.


Intrigued by a photo that the dead, nude woman had on her, Fran heads over to her informant - the groovy strip club owner and part time pimp Barry Fargas (future star of ER LaSalle, wearing one of Jon Pertwee's old suits and by the look of it the one he was buried in) to let him have a wee gander at it.

Being a man with his ear to the ground (and from the way he walks a pole up his arse) he recognizes not only her bosses missing son Tommy (Aames, creator of Bibleman) in the pic but also one Colonel Brian Horne (insectoid like genre stalwart Lynch), Vietnam War veteran, and former right-hand man to the notorious cultist and fizzy drinks magnate Jim Jones.

Obviously Tommy's parents (doe eyed genre goddess Black and the permanently tearful Bright, he of all three Godfather movies and The Sopranos fame) are delighted to know their son is still alive (seeing as he told them he was only popping out to buy some sweets) and eagerly send Fran and Mark off to the Amazon to find their son and interview the illusive Horne.

"I'm sorry, I have my women's period."

Whilst all this is happening Tommy is having a fairly bad time of it in the jungle. 

Forced to wear a kiddies Mickey Mouse t-shirt and dodging getting shot (for being white apparently, which is a surprised cos I thought it'd be for having ginger pubes for hair), he spends most of his days getting kicked and pissed on, unlike his only friend Ana (Blastfighter's Forte) who spends all her time being bullied into having 'the sex' with various pock marked Italians.

Just like your Nan during the war.

Being a strong feminist type Ana soon gets bored with all the forced sex, public showering and wipingTommy's tears and figures out a way for them both to escape (and no, it doesn't involve her hiding Tommy up her ample arse). 

You see she plans to sneak aboard a plane that's due to land shortly.

And can you guess whose plane it is?

This is how I felt watching this movie.

But best laid plans and all that because as soon as Ana and Tommy start to light the runway fires guess who comes a calling? 

Yup it's Berryman and his pants revealing posse out for justice.

From here on in it's action all the way (well, kinda) as Ana and Tommy are separated in the attack (by separated I mean Tommy runs away crying) and Fran and Mark's pilot is killed by a pygmy cosplaying as one of The Beatles.


Hiding in a bush for most of the night, Fran and Mark relay a live report to the news station before exploring the makeshift camp and finding Ana jammed sideways in a cupboard begging to be taken home. 

The duo agree to help her and after collecting a bag of tinned peaches and Vimto for the journey head out into the jungle in the hope of finding a taxi or something.

Tommy, meanwhile, is wandering through the bushes crying and snottering everywhere until he stumbles across his nasty, pube bearded boss (Sole Nudo's de Carvalho), tied to a couple of trees and being slowly pulled apart whilst begging Tommy to kill him.

It's obvious that he is not a happy chap.

Instead of helping the poor sod on his way, Tommy stands about with his face screwed up and watches as his boss is ripped to pieces.

Then he shoots him.

Tommy, as you can tell, is a complete arse.

Don't be like Tommy.

"Aya mah BCG!"

Back with the cool posse and Mark, Fran and Ana are busy traipsing down river and getting ready to send another report home to Tommy's anxious parents along the lines of "It's dead hot in the jungle and we think your son went this way due to the trail of empty Pot Noodle cartons and discarded stiff tissues". 

Frustrated at the lack of progress, Tommy's dad (also crying, you can see who he gets it off) decides to go visit Fargas himself, partly for more info on that Horne fellow but mostly to get a lapdance off the fairly hot barmaid.

Which is fair enough I guess.

Nearing the local boating lake (next to the shop selling 'kiss me quick' hats) Mark and Fran take a well deserved rest whilst Ana wanders off for a tinkle in the bushes.

Her wee is cut short by Berryman tho' who stabs her violently up the arse and ties the poor girl to a tree before giving chase to our heroes.

Faining mild concern for Ana when she doesn't return the pair just shrug their shoulders before carrying on towards the boats where they find Tommy hiding under a dirty sheet (yup, you got it) crying.

Dodging balsa wood crocodiles and Tommy's never ending streams of snot the trio make it onto a boat and head in the direction of a nearby friendly tribe only to be captured in big butterfly nets by Horne and his team....

"Put it in me!"

But help is coming in the corduroy clad form of Tommy's dad and a helicopter full of gun toting soldier types, the question is will they arrive in time?



They always say start as you mean to go on, and Ruggero Deodato's fantastically violent exploiter does just that.

Drug dealers, sexy sweaty ladies, topless poison dart firing natives and bad toothed cokernee's getting torn in half, this film has it all, plus about seven opening sequences and a rocktastic Claudio Simonetti score.

Perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Playing out like an ultra-violent episode of Miami Vice (on budget that wouldn't pay for one pair of Don Johnson's deck shoes) drunkenly gene spliced with liberal helpings of Heart of Darkness and the directors own Cannibal Holocaust, Cut And Run so wants to be a serious adult crime drama Ala The French Connection but comes across more like a secondary school video club version of Apocalypse Now with added breasts.

And frankly it's much better for it.

"Put it in me!"

From the 'hard bitten' female reporter to the purple hatted pimp via the Nam vet gone native, every single character is a comic book cliche made flesh, the ramshackle plot stopping only for even more bloodshed or needless nudity. 

The plot (what there is of it) moves so quickly (only stopping for a beheading or a quick glimpse of lady parts) that you happily forget that none of it makes sense and just sit back, switch off and enjoy.

And the reason it works so well is all down to Deodato's direction, his jovial personality and sheer entertainer-like persona seeps into every scene and every performance be it good or bad.

Except, of course where Willie Aames is concerned that is.

Which in it's own perverse way is one of the most enjoyable things about it.

Cinematic gold from a cinematic genius like whom we'll never see the likes of again.


Saturday, December 24, 2022

merry christmas.... all you readers at home!

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

hp source.

T'was my birthday on Thursday so I thought "fuck it" I'm starting my Christmas holidays as of now.

Sort of.

Beginning with rewatching this beauty as it's become a wee bit of a tradition that we watch it every Chrimbo.

Curse of the Crimson Altar (1968).
Dir: Vernon Sewell.
Cast: Christopher Lee, Boris Karloff, Michael Gough, Rosemarie Reede, Virginia Wetherell, Barbara Steele and Mark Eden.

"It's like Boris Karloff is going to pop up at any moment!"

You have to feel sorry for square jawed antique dealer Robert Manning (Marco Polo himself and latter day Corrie mad man Eden), not only has his better looking brother Peter gone missing - kidnapped by a pervy tea towel wearing Satanic cult led by a turquoise breasted witch named Lavinia (swinging sixties sex goddess Steele) - we got to see this amazing spectacle in the pre-credits teaser - after sending him only one of a matching pair of candle sticks but, and this is much more important, his attempts at flirting with his assistant Esther (Reede) have all the erotic pulling power of your dad pissed up and trying it on with a bridesmaid at a wedding.

The mighty man tits don't really help either if I'm honest.

With only a hastily written note detailing Peter's last whereabouts - which if you think about it is more than most folk have to go on - Robert heads off to the typographically odd Craxted Lodge in the quaint English village of Greymarsh, which by some bizarre twist of fate and plot convenience is where his family originally hails from, for some answers.

And maybe even a shirt or two that fit from the local tailors.

Barbara Steele: Ask yer granddad.

Driving into town in the middle of the night Robert is welcomed by the sight of a nearly naked young girl being chased by two mob filled cars and with him being an heroic type he pulls over, leaps out of his motor and to her defence.

Wouldn't you know it tho', it's all a huge misunderstanding and the group are actually playing a grown up version of hide and seek called run and ravish.

Sounds reasonable I guess.

Making his apologies for trying to punch everyone involved our hero is surprised to find himself invited along to the annual whacked-out witch party - of the type that only exist in the minds of middle aged film producers in the late '60's - being held at the Lodge.

Cut to ten minutes of saucy body painting, exotic types pouring cheap Cava over their overripe breasts, besuited Brylcream boys smoking dope and girls timidly touching each others thighs whilst licking their lips.

Robert, realizing that with all the drinking going on he might actually pull immediately grabs a large one and proceeds to fire into the first girl he sees, blonde bombshell Eve (Weatherell, best known for playing dishy Dyoni in the first Dalek story and waving her breasts at Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange) who just happens to be the niece of J.D. Morley (Christopher 'the kids school fees are how much?' Lee), the man he's there to see regarding his missing brother.

Lucky that.

Christopher Lee tries out Mark Eden's new Ronco anti-mooth shite-in mask.

Escorted by Morely's monosyllabic manservant Elder (the shameless Gough) to the drawing room, Robert is informed that Morley has never met his brother and has absolutely no idea who he is but does offer to let him lodge at the house until he either finds him or nails his niece.

Which is thoughtful of him.

Thanking his host before heading off for a quick Pot Noodle, Robert is waylaid by the arrival of the wheelchair bound local witchcraft expert Professor John Marsh (Karloff, nuff said) who, armed only with a bottle of home brewed tonic wine and a bag of torture instruments proceeds to regale our hero with the tale of the luscious Lavinia Morley, a witch burned by the towns folk a hundred years ago that very night.

The party it seems is the locals way of celebrating the event because nothing says community spirit like a good burning.

Except maybe abusing the local mentally unstable man by tying ribbons to trees..

How your mum earns the money for all your Christmas presents.

Now that the entire cast have been introduced we can get on with the plot good and proper.

And my word what a plot it turns out to be featuring as it does a Joe Orton style mute manservant with a gun fetish, LSD fueled dream sequences full of middle-aged men in bondage gear alongside tassle-titted butch babes in animal masks, horrible bri-nylon Kung Fu style pyjamas and, most disturbingly a bizarre sixties style revolving lamp that communicates from beyond the grave using Barbara Steele's voice.

Tonight live on stage....One Direction!

It's not all breasts, booze and beasts tho' as Robert is soon dragged headlong into an hallucinogenic hellhole of soul selling and rare silverware that even Bargain Hunt's Tim Wonnacott would be wary of.

Tho' saying that he'd have had absolutely no problem bedding at least half of the party goers by now.

Even Christopher Lee would have been tempted.


So, will Robert find his brother and manage to get a good price for the candlesticks?

Will bubbly Barbara pop out of her gravity defying dress?

And most importantly will Robert's frankly over aggressive pulling technique of attempting to force himself upon Eve culminate in a kissing session or a restraining order?

Five miles...roughly speaking.

Executive produced by Tony Tenser, the man who gave us Witchfinder General, The Sorcerers, Cul-de-sac, Repulsion and Frightmare amongst others, written by Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln of Doctor Who fame, based on a story by HP Lovecraft and with a cast to die for (oh and Mark Eden), Curse of The Crimson Altar should be one of the Greatest British horror movies ever made.

I say should be because what we end up with is a gloriously cliched and convoluted pot boiler of a 'B' picture that's so simplistic in it's plotting as to make Scooby Doo look like Eraserhead.

Barbara Steele: She'll have plenty of energy left for me long after you've crawled into a corner for a cry.

That's not to say it isn't still wildly entertaining and worth a look tho', if only for the legendary Karloff and Lee sharing screen time.

It's just a pity we don't get to see more of the magnificent Ms. Steele in all her technicolour glory which frankly would be far more attractive than a topless Mark Eden grubbily pawing at Virginia Wetherell's flimsy nightie with his massive sausage fingers.

Erotic as that maybe for your grannie I'm sorry but it does nowt for me.

Wetherell: Nip slip and side shed.

Adequately directed in a workman-like manner by 'B' movie stalwart Vernon Sewell, director of The Blood Beast Terror - the film that Peter Cushing decried as his 'worse ever' - Crimson Altar isn't necessarily bad or unwatchable it's just that with hindsight and seeing the film as the last gasp of the whole Roger Corman led/Hammer following gothic horror cycle of the fifties and sixties before gruesome realism and grittiness took over that both the audience and the actors deserved a wee bit better.

Bloody Hell that's a bit of a downer to end on isn't it?

Monday, December 12, 2022

peachy keen.

 In tribute to Angelo Badalamenti…Pour yourself a coffee, cut a slice of cherry pie and relax with 90 minutes of Badalamenti beats, sinister soundbites and toe tapping tunes.