Sunday, March 31, 2024

baked being.

It's Easter Sunday.

This film is set on Easter Sunday.


Oh and before we begin....

The Being (1983).
Dir: Jackie Kong.
Cast: Martin Landau, José Ferrer, Dorothy Malone, Ellen Blake, Kinky Friedman, Kent Perkins, Ruth Buzzi, Marianne Gordon, Bill Osco (as Rexx Coltrane), Roxanne Cybelle Osco and Jerry Marin.

Laurie: "But if this thing is actually killing people, then why is the mayor trying to keep it quiet? "
Detective Lutz: "Potatoes."

Welcome to Pottsville, the potato capital of the good ol' US of A where our story (well it's more of a sketch really) begins with a disheveled teen is busying running thru' a high-tech nuclear waste facility (impressively played by the old scrapyard behind the directors house) as he attempts to escape from an as yet unseen assailant.

The chase appears to go on for hours - seeing as it starts in broad daylight yet continues into night time -  but luckily it's not in real-time meaning it's only a few (on screen) minutes before  we can breathe a sigh of relief as the troubled teen finally finds an abandoned car (not too sure if that's nuclear too) and drives off into the night.

Unfortunately as he's tuning the radio for the local traffic news a huge claw rips thru' the roof and proceeds to tear the poor kids head off causing the car to crash into a nearby potato warehouse.

Obviously the police rush to investigate this spud-based bust up but can find no sign of the driver or his head.

What they do discover however is that the entire interior of the car is covered in blood and green slime.

The towns top tec - and our hero for the evening - Detective Mortimer Lutz (producer and husband of director Kong - Osco, which if nothing else goes to show exactly who he had to fuck to get in the picture) is baffled by the lack of evidence so heads off to the toilet leaving local mechanic Steve Soontodie to carry on examining the wreck.

Unfortunately he neglects to check in the boot which unsurprisingly is where a big monster (or 'The Being' as he's known to his pals) is hiding.

Ain't that always the way?

As you can guess he pops out and eats the mechanic whole.

And I've just realised that I can't do the 'they usually spit that bit out' shtick seeing as I worded the last sentence wrong.


"Are you looking at my bra?"

After a few minutes (it obviously wasn't a poo) Lutz returns to find the boot open, a huge pile of slime on the floor and the mechanic nowhere to be seen save his tool belt lying discarded on the floor..

Being a great detective Lutz reckons Steve just got bored and went home and with a shrug of his shoulders decides to do the same.

Taggart this ain't.

Whom I kidding it's not even Scots Squad.

Anyway there's a murderous monster based mayhem to be getting on with so to this end we're quickly introduced to local lass Brenda Slagg who is all dolled up and waith for her boyfriend Jeff Studley to arrive so they can head to the local drive-in and rut like bunnies on the front seat of her car.

Who says romance is dead?

As the pair are getting down and getting it on as the kids say they singularly fail to notice the green slime oozing thru' the dashboard until it's too late and the gunk has manifested as a scaly clawed arm that tears the pair limb from limb, their screams drowned out by the screams on the big screen.

Within minutes the beast - sorry The Being - has ripped the head off a stoner, shouted out the ending of the film and shit in the popcorn before disappearing into the night leaving poor Lutz with yet another unexplained killing or three to investigate.

Sitting in the couples car to look for clues our hero ends up with his arse covered in slime yet none the wiser as to what is going on so with that he heads home for a tearful wank and a Pot Noodle in the hope of figuring out not only what or who is killing folk but how he ended up as sheriff of a town built on spuds and how he'll managed to get his jeans clean for the next day.

But he's not alone as something - or some being - is watching him from the shadows.

Hearing a strange noise as he slowly slips his tight bums out of his shrink to fit jeans Lutz heads outside to investigate only to be pounced on - OK pounced at - by the creature but Lutz is too quick the beast and manages to run away, jumping across a railroad track in front of an oncoming train to lose the beast.

Again I've no idea how long he was running as the scene begins in the dead of night yet ends in broad daylight.

The fucker must be really fit.

Or Pottsville has really short days.

Either works for me.

Martin Landau tries to count the cost of his divorce.

Now totally convinced that something bad is afoot Lutz heads to the local diner where his college sweetheart Laurie (ex Missis Kenny Rogers, Gordon from Rosemary's Baby) works alongside the toothsome yet scarily pillowed Jenny (Glasgow's own Blake from The Last Starfighter and Hill Street Blues who really should have way much more to do here as she's fab) in order to convince her to let him walk her home as he reckons that some crazy shit is going down.

She smiles at him with the smile of a mother to an idiot child and agrees, with a happy face and a skip in his step Lutz heads off to meet with Mayor Gordon Lane (Ferrer - paying for a new pool) to discuss how to deal with the killings.

Oh and to ask for a mop and bucket to clean up the slime.

Talking of cleaning up the slime he also has to contend with the mayor's wife Virginia (Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In legend Buzzi) and her "Clean up the town of pornography" campaign that she's started due to the fact that a massage parlour may be opening on the high street.

On arriving at the mayor's office Lutz is surprised to find him in the company of the famed toxic waste specialist and advisor to the state of Idaho on regional and environmental safety Dr. Garson Jones (Space: 1999’s Commander John Koenig himself, Landau, still paying a shit load of alimony to ex-wife Barbara Bain - hence his appearances in stuff like this and The Dark) who is currently explaining that the toxic gunk being empty into the local water supply is in no way harmful to the townsfolk or their potatoes.

Hmmm....I'm not too sure.

"Can I have a cup of coffee please?" "Neigh bother!"

Obviously writer/director Kong felt that there wasn't enough strange shit going on so later Lutz retires to bed early to catch a few ZZZZs before meeting up with Laurie only to experience a lucid dream of Pee Wee's Playhouse proportions as he imagines sharing a romantic plane journey with Dr Jones that's cut short not just by the mayor's wife flying by on a broomstick shouting "Arse!" but also by the beast/being dragging Jones out of the plane to his death.

Waking in a cold sweat and with a noticeable erection, Lutz realises he's overslept and quickly heads out to meet Laurie who by this time has decided to walk home alone, stopping only to stare at local crazy lady Marge Smith (Oscar winning star of Peyton Place Malone) who has taken to wandering the streets in a onesie since her son Michael has disappeared

Interestingly her son vanished just before the spate of killings started.

Could this be related?

Frankly by this point I don't care.

And to be honest I don't think the writer does either.

Back to the plot (and I use that term loosely) and Lutz has caught up with Laurie just as she reaches her car but as she's about to get in a large spunky cushion is thrown at her from off set, causing the pair to scream and run back to the diner.

No hang on I think that was meant to be the monster.

Never mind.

After a game of cat and mouse so tense it puts the bit in Alien with Dallas in the air vent to shame the pair finally trap the creature in the freezer next to the waffles before ringing the mayor to come and take a look but who'd have guessed it the beast liquefies and escapes down the drain before he arrives leaving him little choice but to berate Lutz for being a bit shit then returning home to the dinner party cum music recital organised by his wife.

Meanwhile the beast is busying itself eating three local men who've sneaked into the building earmarked for the massage parlour in order to torch it.

Which is nice.

If totally irrelevant to the plot.

"Put it in me!"

Anyway, arriving home the Mayor is shocked to find that the creature has hitched a ride on the roof of the car so as anyone would do in that situation he accelerates out of the garage (and thru' the doors) leaving his poor wife standing on the lawn looking bewildered as he drives away.

Bewilderment soon turns to horror tho' - or it may be ecstasy or trapped wind, I can't really tell - when the beast wraps its forked tongue around her skinny
bird-like neck and kills her.

To death.

Obviously bored with being sidetracked from the action Laurie decides to go have a chat with the aforementioned Marge at her house but is shocked to find the toilet seat covered in the same slime the creature leaves everywhere.

Marge however is unconcerned saying that it's just Michael making a mess around the house as kids do.

Could Michael be the beast after ingesting radioactive goo?

Was he mutated in the womb due to contaminated water?

Was he the creatures first victim?

Frankly we'll never know as this plot thread is quickly dropped in favour of Lutz, Garson and Laurie heading off to the dump to hunt the creature down before getting a wee bit scared and heading back to town for a quick snack and a chat.

Crisps eaten and fizzy pop drunk Lutz heroically locks Laurie in a jail cell before heading back out with Garson to hunt down the creature again, this time armed with guns.

Guns to kill a creature that can turn into liquid.

Go figure.

"Laugh now!"

After a bit more chasing around and shooting - and a moving speech about radioactive waste - the pair decide that they've definitely killed the creature so head off to a local warehouse to celebrate but, surprise surprise, the beast isn't dead and quickly kills Garson before biting Lutz's ankle.

Limping and alone our heroic cop must face down the beast armed only with some huge containers of sulphuric acid and a massive axe.....

Same shit, different smell.

The first movie from director/producer/screenwriter Jackie Kong The Being is a trashy, lo-fi throwback to the atomic monster movies of the 50s - with added gore and breasts - that makes up for its lack of logic and plot by just being great fun to watch.

I must be getting soft in my old age.

From Martin Landau's OTT scientist to Ruth Buzzi's uptight comedy conservative via Ferrer's drunken, potato obsessed mayor everyone plays it perfectly - true they may all appear to be in different movies but it actually works even Osco's charisma free  and obvious uncomfortable lead performance feels right, even down to the way he clumsily walks in his slightly too tight jeans.

But to be honest I think his character choices may have been intentional when you look closely at his career.

Originally a producer/director whose 1970 film Mona the Virgin Nymph was one of the first 'erotic art films' to receive a national theatrical release in the United States, he went on to produce Flesh Gordon (1974) as well as the comedy porn musical Alice in Wonderland: An X-Rated Musical Comedy (1976) as well as a stage version of the very same film in 2007.

In addition to his porn output he also produced Kong's output during the 1980s - and between this and the rather splendid Blood Diner is where his surreal - and sometimes downright silly - sensibilities totally compliment Kong's lo-fi John Waters-esque directing choices perfectly.

Tunnel or funnel?

To be honest the only thing that could make this any more enjoyable was if the kills were intercut with musical numbers but you can't have everything.

Plus any movie where the director casts her daughter as a toddler who may or may not get eaten by a slime encrusted monster during a cheerily scored Easter Egg hunt gets top marks as far as I'm concerned.

Sub-atomic bare arsed genius.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

let's hear it for the boy.

To celebrate Phantasm's 45th birthday, here for your entertainment is the complete set of Spanish lobby cards from the films original 1979 debut.


Wednesday, March 27, 2024

kaiju kuts!

 Celebrate the release of Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire with 60 minutes of Gojira grooves, Kong cuts and massive monster mixes!


Thursday, March 21, 2024

language timothy!

Seeing as today is the birthday of my favourite James Bond I thought It'd be a good time to share an overview I wrote of the ultimate Bond movie from way back in 2015.

Partly because it's not too badly written (for me) but mainly in the hope of attracting some (any?) new readers.

Originally published in the late lamented Multitude of Movies Magazine - hence the distinct lack of 'mooth shite' and 'laugh now' gags - sit back and enjoy (again if you read it first time around) some classic bondage as we revisit....

Licence To Kill (1989).
Dir: John Glen.
Cast: Timothy Dalton, Carey Lowell, Robert Davi, Talisa Soto, Anthony Zerbe, David Hedison, Benicio del Toro, Everett McGill, Desmond Llewellyn, Robert Brown and Wayne Newton.

“loyalty is more important than money”

It’s 1989 and the world of cinematic heroism is in a state of flux… as Indiana Jones rides off into the sunset in the company of his dad and Captain Kirk has a cut-price family-friendly face-off with God, a hero from our childhood is about to emerge onto the big screen darker, dourer and much, much more leathery than ever before…

Indeed, 1989 was the year of the Bat.

But Bob Kane’s eponymous Dark Knight detective wasn’t the only character of old being dragged kicking-and-screaming into the modern age.

Another 60’s pop culture icon was about to receive a much needed make-over.

Bond was back.

And, after the frankly schizophrenically scripted The Living Daylights tried somewhat unsuccessfully to mix Moore-style quips with Connery era arse-kicking, 007’s new adventure Licence Revoked looked to return to a Bond with a more realistic edge (but with a dreamy Welsh accent), the likes of which hadn’t been seen since the franchise’s very beginning.

But evil machinations of which Blofeld himself would be proud were about to scupper the super spy in his attempts to regain his action crown.

The least of which was the worry from Eon that no-one in America would know what ‘revoked’ meant.

And, if they did, would they assume that the title referred to Bond’s driving licence?

There is no such thing as a totally straight man, just a man who's never experienced Timothy Dalton as James Bond.

A dozen meetings and one swift title change later – well, I say swift… but not swift enough to save Eon from having to dump Robert Peak’s darkly daring promotional artwork and quickly replace it with what looked like a hastily Pritt-sticked community centre panto poster – and Licence To Kill was born.

And with it a grittier and, let’s be honest, a damn sight sexier Bond for a new and more dangerous age.

A Bond out for revenge and out for justice.

A Bond that bled, cried and wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.

And, unfortunately, a Bond that no-one save the die-hard fan seemed to have had any interest in seeing.

Which is a pity really because those of us who did see it at the time realised that we were witnessing probably the greatest Bond movie ever.

And if you don’t believe me, then I’d happily listen to you explain why they’ve been remaking it every few years under a variety of titles only this time with Daniel Craig in the lead role.

Welcome to the weird, wonderful and high-wired world of Licence To Kill.
And by its end the Bond franchise will never be the same again.

But first, for those few who’ve still not seen it, I think a wee recap is in order.

Helping his best bud Felix Leiter (David Hedison, the only other actor save Jeffrey Wright to play the role twice) prepare for his wedding, suave super spy James Bond (Mr. Vegas himself Wayne Newton – nah, only joking, Timothy ‘Bloody’ Dalton obviously) finds himself and Leiter sidelined by the DEA to help in the capture of the evil drug kingpin Franz Sanchez (the great beast himself and star of Maniac Cop II and III, Robert Davi).

In a feat of airborne daring so great that Christopher Nolan would later rip it off for The Dark Knight Rises, Bond and Leiter – using only a big hook and a few metres of old rope – capture Sanchez by literally ‘fishing’ his plane out of the sky before parachuting into the wedding ceremony to a sexy Gladys Knight theme.

Phwoar indeed.

Unfortunately (for Felix, that is… I mean for us it’s a godsend, otherwise the movie would be over), Sanchez bribes slimy DEA agent Ed Killifer (Twin Peaks‘ Big Ed himself, Everett McGill) and escapes, but not before setting in motion a raging rampage of revenge that begins with feeding Felix to a shark before murdering his wife.

Bond, upon discovering this, is understandably a wee bit upset.

His temper isn't helped by the fact that the DEA refuse to assist our hero in bringing Sanchez to justice, due to him being out of his jurisdiction, leaving Bond – alongside his buddy Sharkey (Frank McRae) – to start their own investigation.

The dashing duo soon discover that not only is the nearby marine research centre run by a henchman of Sanchez, the twitchy, bitchy Milton Krest (the always fantastic Anthony Zerbe), but it’s also in reality a cover for Sanchez’ cocaine smuggling operation. As it happens, Killifer is there to pick up his cash.

What are the chances?

Bond, by this point not only annoyed about bits of his best friend becoming fish food but visibly angry at spending a whole 30 minutes without chinning someone, angrily feeds Killifer to the same shark (c’mon, they’re expensive to hire) that maimed Leiter.

Which is nice.

Imagine being the filling in this sandwich.

Concerned by Bond’s mood swings, M (Robert Brown) meets up with our hero and orders him to travel to Istanbul for a new assignment which frankly is the last thing Bond needs to hear, causing him to resign from the secret service before headbutting M’s bodyguards and legging it into the bushes.

Bond is now a rogue agent, bereft of official backing and on the run from both the US and UK secret services (and quite possibly Rumbelows), with only his trusty PPK and a suave line in blouson leather jackets and boating shoes for company.

Is there anyone Bond can turn to in his hour of need?

As luck would have it Major Boothroyd – or as we know him ‘Q’ (Desmond Llewellyn) – just happens to be taking a well earned holiday in exactly the same hotel that Bond is staying in; not only that, he’s come equipped with everything Bond could need to complete his mission.

All quite by chance, you understand.

The reunion has to wait though, as Bond has a drug shipment to foil.

Boarding Milton Krest’s ship, the none too originally monikered Wavekrest, Bond does indeed foil the shipment and also steals five million dollars of Sanchez’ cash in the process.

It’s not all joy and happiness though, as Sharkey ends up dead at the hands of the evil Dario (a frighteningly baby-faced Benicio Del Toro, sporting a fantastic quiff).

All this wanton violence is all well and good (and a little refreshing if I’m honest) but 007 soon realises that the film is missing one vital ingredient.

Yup it can’t be a proper Bond film without some top totty, so to that end James teams up with the tomboyish ex-CIA agent and bush pilot (ooeerr) Pam Bouvier (second best Bond girl Carey Lowell) who, alongside Bond and Q, head to the Republic of Isthmus where Sanchez holds court.

By that I mean he runs the joint, he doesn’t wander around in a powdered wig hitting a hammer on an old table whilst shouting “Order!” and the like.

Though he may have done in a deleted scene.

Who knows?

But I digress.

Posing as an unemployed hitman (his undercover binman disguise must have been in the wash), Bond manages to get a job working for the evil Sanchez but an attempt to ‘take out’ (in a non Paddy McGuinness way, obviously) the deranged drug dealer is thwarted by two jobs-worth Hong Kong narcotics agents who unceremoniously bundle our hero into the back of a van before taking him along to a deserted warehouse (is there any other kind?) where an MI6 operative named Fallon (Hammer stalwart Christopher Neame) is waiting to take Bond back to London.

Dead or alive.


Injected with a potent sleeping drug, wrapped in bubble wrap and bunged in a box, all looks lost for Bond… until that is a couple of Sanchez’s goons turn up, machine gun the three agents, and rescue our hero.

It appears that they thought that the secret service types were the actual assassins and that Bond was trying to stop them.

How more twisty turny can this plot get?

Sanchez handling his massive chopper.

Now well placed (on the right, just behind the drinks cabinet) in Sanchez’s inner circle, Bond decides to have some fun. Firstly, with the aide of Sanchez’s exotic girlfriend Lupe Lamora (Vampirella herself, the slinkily sexy Talisa Soto), he frames Krest by hiding the $5 million he stole earlier in one of the Wavekrest‘s hyperbaric (bless you) chambers, before dropping hints to Sanchez that it was Krest who nicked it.

Ever the reasonable employer Sanchez responds by locking Krest in the very same chamber, before smashing it with an axe causing the poor guy to explode.
Wondering how they’ll ever explain that to his Gran, Sanchez invites Bond along to his secret lair (cunningly hidden beneath a new-age meditation centre) to explain his plan to him – and us.

And what a plan it is.

Like a particularly over-excited child with a new toy, Sanchez explains how his scientists have discovered a way to dissolve cocaine in petrol, which they can them just roll out across the world in big trucks disguised as common or garden fuel and then sell it to evil Asian drug dealers.

Which is a pretty specific market if you ask me, but hey-ho what do I know about international drugs trafficking?

The best bit of the plan though is the fact that all of the dodgy drug transactions are conducted via the broadcasts of the centre’s leader, the porn ‘tashed televangelist Professor Joe Butcher (the afore-mentioned Mr. Las Vegas Wayne Newton), who just repeats whatever Sanchez’s ‘business manager’ Truman-Lodge (Iron Man himself, Starke) tells him to.

Obviously adding a “Praise The Lord!” or “Hallelujah!” occasionally, just to make sure no-one suspects anything.

Preparing to end Sanchez’s plan (and let’s be honest his life), Bond is surprised when Dario arrives unannounced and reveals 007’s true identity.

As a British agent, that is: he doesn’t turn up and shout “Bugger me, it’s Timothy Dalton star of Flash Gordon and Sextette!” because that would be silly.

Though probably perfectly acceptable in one of the latter Moore movies.

His cover blown, Bond does what any self respecting Welshman would do in that situation and sets fire to some stuff before attempting to flee.

But Dario has other plans and ties our hero up before dangling him feet first over a giant shredding machine.

Just as Bond is about to be sliced like so much bacon, Pam turns up and shoots Dario, allowing Bond, in one of the franchise’s most unpleasant deaths, to kick him into the shredder instead.

Which is as painful as it sounds.

Fleeing his burning base, Sanchez commandeers four tankers full of the cocaine and petrol mix and attempts to drive to freedom (or at least somewhere the Feds wont get him – Coventry, perhaps?) but Bond is in hot pursuit.

Well, actually he’s in a plane piloted by Pam, but let’s not be too anal about it.
Careering to an explosive climax, it’s soon one on one as Bond faces off with Sanchez…

Released on 13th June 1989, Licence To Kill, the 16th official James Bond, has a number of (fairly) interesting firsts and lasts attached to it.

It was last to be directed by long time Bond director John Glen (his fifth movie in succession) and the last to be produced by Albert ‘Cubby’ Broccoli who had handed the production reigns over to his stepson Michael G Wilson due to ill health, and last to make direct use of any of Ian Fleming’s story concepts and characters until Die Another Day in 2002, taking as it does elements from the novel Live and Let Die (the Leiter/shark scenes and the tactics employed by Sanchez to smuggle drugs) as well as from the short story The Hildebrand Rarity.

Though it’s been years since I read that so, to be honest, I really can’t remember which bits.

Probably the bit where Bond seduces a lady or something.

Pam Bouvier: Crick neck and side arm.

Staying true to Fleming didn’t go as far as the title though, it being the first not taken from a Fleming story (though A View To A Kill does cheat slightly by removing the ‘From’ from the short story title, allegedly to make it easier for Duran Duran to write the song).

Staying with songs, the film’s frankly fantastic title theme – as sung by Gladys Knight – was actually written as an homage to the classic Goldfinger*, meaning that composer John Barry – alongside lyricists Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley- received royalty payments from it, which is nice.

But the more things stayed the same,the more things changed: the main thing being that, due to budgetary concerns (which for a Bond movie is bizarre), the film was the first in the franchise to be shot totally outside the UK, though with locations in such glorious climes as Florida and Mexico I doubt the cast and crew complained.

I mean it’s not like they had a two week shoot in Bognor or something, was it?

And what of that sun-kissed cast I hear you cry?

Well, frankly, there’s never been a Bond film before this with such a top rate (or let’s be honest as sexy) group of thesps than this.

Eon must have agreed as it took 17 years before they even attempted to up the sheer sexual magnetism and raw talent of the movies again when they gave us the frankly magnificent duo of Eva Green and Mads Mikklesen in Casino Royale.

And even then they had to balance out the sexiness and cast a big potato as Bond, for fear of a thousand spontaneous pregnancies during the card playing finale.

But let’s ignore Mr Craig and wax lyrical on the actor who, in my humble opinion, gave us the definitive portrayal of 007, Timothy Dalton.

The dark and gritty Man About The House remake looks good.

It’s reported that on securing the role Dalton admitted to never having seen a Bond movie so decided to head back to the books for his inspiration and here it shows.

Dalton gives us a Bond that we can believe in, a cold-blooded killer for Queen and country but with a softer edge around those who know him, a flawed hero who will risk everything for a friend, and, in a lovely throwback to his ill-fated marriage to Tracey, a man haunted by his past.

If anything, Licence To Kill can actually be seen as a sequel of sorts to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service as it’s the murder of his best (only?) friend’s wife that sends Bond over the edge and on the path to revenge and ultimately redemption.

Imagine this movie following OHMSS, with Blofeld replacing Sanchez and a rogue Bond out for his blood to avenge Tracey’s death, no that would have been a swansong for Connery plus with the added bonus of the franchise being still (relatively) new enough to actually make the audience doubt that Bond would return to the fold by the movie’s end.

And, whilst you sit back and imagine that scenario, let’s look at the supporting cast.

Like all good leads Dalton isn’t afraid to let his co-stars shine, especially franchise stalwart Desmond Llewelyn as ‘Q’ who, in a role far expanded on any other movie, positively revels in the genuinely warm father/son relationship the pair share. It’s only beaten by Llewelyn’s final words to Bond in The World Is Not Enough which act as a fitting tribute to a much missed actor.

And it’s worth the price of admission for these scenes alone if I’m honest.

As for the villains, the casting director really struck gold with the amount of up and coming – and firmly established – talent on show, from a pitch-perfect Robert Davi, channeling real-life former dictator of Panama and all round bad boy Manuel Noriega, to Benicio Del Toro’s loon-tastically lecherous Dario, via Anthony Zerbe’s twitchy Krest.

The cast of villains are at the top of their game with every single one of them bringing something unique to their roles.

Not one main star or bit-part actor is out of place and all add to something, however small, to the film.

And in the much coveted ‘Bond Girl’ roles Talisa Soto is all exotically charged and smouldering beauty as bad-girl-with-a-heart Lupe Lamora, whilst Carey Lowell plays Pam with an energetic mix of wholesome cookie-cutting boy scout, wide-eyed sweetness and thighs you could happily ski down, ever so slightly reminiscent of Peanut‘s Lucy armed with a big gun.

Which says more about me than her, if I’m honest.

Any excuse.

If the film has any fault it’s that, with hindsight it was just too much of a departure too soon for those used to the Roger Moore style of Bond…but bravo to Eon for not taking the safe route and attempting something different when staying safe would have been the easier option.

At the film’s end we find Bond slightly shaken, with his loins stirred by the pouting Pam as the pair flirt in a swimming pool to the dulcet tones of Patti LaBelle warbling If You Asked Me To. Who would have guessed that it would be 6 years before Bond returned, refreshed and re-imagined again, but this time as a post Cold War warrior with a scary bouffant, a smart line in Moore-style quips and taking orders from the woman from A Fine Romance?

No sane person that’s for sure.

But that change resonated with a by-now more cinema-savvy audience, and once again cemented Bond as the world’s foremost action hero and, seemingly cemented Dalton as the true forgotten Bond, left awash in an uncertain point in the franchise’s history.

Which is why I feel it’s my duty to champion this, if not ‘unloved’ then ‘criminally neglected’ classic, because although I was brought up on a steady cinematic diet of Moore’s mischievous mayhem whilst encountering Connery on TV, Licence To Kill will always be ‘my’ Bond.

It’s genuine wit, style and grit (plus an over-reliance on 80’s hair products), perfectly summing up Bond in all its forms.

Plus, as an aside in these more enlightened days it’s the only action film I can think of that relies on the lead character being a smoker to defeat the villain.

*It’s the sexy trumpet bit if you’re still wondering.

Saturday, March 16, 2024

green day.

Anyway the laydees are away at a dance performance today (the Tanz Akademie they attend in Freiburg likes to keep them busy) so myself and Master Cass are home alone and it's his choice of movie....
Wish me luck.

Green Inferno (AKA Cannibal Holocaust 2. 1988).
Dir: Antonio Climati.
Cast: Mario Merlo, Fabrizio Merlo, May Deseligny, Roberto Ricci, Jessica Quintero and Pio Maria Federici.

Speccy faced and pube haired anthropology geek Peter (Federici in his only film role) is planning - well I say planning but he's really just packed some clean pants and a hat - a wee trip to a remote region of the Amazon alongside his buff buddies Fred and Mark (the brothers Merlo in their only film role too, no surprises there really).

But why I hear you ask?

It seems that an acquaintance of his, the ambitious and fairly attractive (for the budget) young journalist Jemma (the flaxen haired, council estate Tisa Farrow alike Deseligny) has located the missing scientist Professor Barry Korenz (FX expert and star of Casper, Ricci) who mysteriously disappeared whilst searching for a mythical tribe known as the Imas.

So far so clichéd.

"Sorry, I have my woman's period".

Finding that their own light aircraft has been swapped at the airport by the sozzled owner for magic beans, our heroic trio of likely lads - and token lass - reckon it's too late to cancel the trip, so decide to steal a bright yellow seaplane from outside the local toy shop, drive it down the motorway to the coast and head off for adventure anyway, hoping that no-one spots the big plane shaped hole in the grass the next morning.

Arriving at a small town on the edge of the jungle our intrepid foursome are disappointed to find that the petrol station is shut, leaving them no alternative than to book into the local hotel for the night and get a haircut at the local barbershop.

No really.

Hitting the town to look for the famous guide and adventurer Jungle Jim Smith, the gang end up in the local cantina cum nite club, where rough looking locals are enjoying a dance, a drink and a wee bit of gambling on the local racing frogs.

Bob, having a a bit too much shandy accidentally bumps into the table, knocking over the local hard man's drink but what do you know - everyone is really friendly and polite and to show there's no hard feelings invites the group over to join the frog based fun.

Could this be a drinks based revenge plan that's going to leave our wannabe explorers penniless, beaten and anally violated?

Surprisingly no, everyone is genuinely nice and even tho' Jim refuses to go on the trip due to it being 'a bit scary' he helpfully shows them the way on the map.

Next morning the friends find that all the petrol has been sold to the local monkey hunter, Mr. Geoff Mainwaring and that there won't be another delivery for a week.

Undeterred our band borrow a boat and head upstream to the monkey farm to find lots of little chimps collapsing due to too much anesthetic in the blow darts used to catch them.

As luck would have it Peter is a monkey expert and manages to perform mouth to mouth on a particularly ill chimp before sternly asking Mainwaring why he's drugging so many simians, putting them in wooden crates and sending them up river.

Is he part of an evil monkey slave cult perhaps?

Unfortunately no, he is, in fact catching the monkeys to send to a local government run sanctuary where they'll be well looked after and fed as many bananas as they can manage.

Not only that but the money raised by this exercise pays for the treatment needed by the local disabled kids.

How sweet.

With this in mind Peter offers to go fetch some more monkeys in exchange for fuel but not before Jemma takes the opportunity to interview a Paul Newman obsessed man about his home head shrinking business.


Heading down river in the company of Mainwaring's top monkey catchers, Peter gets a chance to wax lyrical about nature and stuff before putting his survival skills into practice (in what is the movies most exciting sequence) by pulling a cannibalistic fish out of a native's oily anus.

The action doesn't stop there tho' as Peter, Mark, Fred and Jemma soon find themselves dodging bats in their hunt for monkeys before being taken captive by an angry group of Savage's who have mistaken them for common or garden chimp rustlers.

Taken back to the natives village Peter is tied to a tree with a spider in his pants whilst Fred is covered in honey and tied next to an anthill, Mark is made to climb a tree in his underwear and Jemma is forced to eat bananas.

Could this tribe be evil cannibal types preparing to shag, slit and slaughter the youngsters?

Erm, no sorry.

Peter, the spider getting nearer to his cock by the second, explains their reason for taking the monkeys resulting in the chief, after rubbing his chin for a second apologizing for the mistake and letting everyone go.

Cannibals of the type not found in this film.

With the plane fueled and everyone fed and watered it's time (finally) to head off into the unknown to find Professor Korenz (remember him?) but it's not all plain sailing (or plane flying even with the amount of paddling they end up doing) as the first village they come across has been attacked by gold prospectors who have not only killed all the men but kidnapped a few of the ladies to use for 'the sex'.


Enter (oh go on then) the firm of breast and shapely of arse native girl Kuwala (Quintero, never seen again) who begs our teen pals to take on the baddies and rescue her sister.

Having a few hours to spare they answer with a rousing yes and head off (with Kuwala in tow) to do battle with the gold thieves.

Ladies (of the type found in this film).

Following the smell of cheap aftershave and vodka they soon find the prospectors hide-out and Fred, being the more manly of the group launches a daring rescue mission only to get caught, slapped around a bit and threatened with a cock gobbling snake called Matilda.

Honestly, I couldn't make this shit up.

It's left to Kuwala to save everyone's arse and this she does in style firstly threatening to shoot the main bad guy before punching the snake in the face and leading everyone back to the plane and leaving the prospectors waving their fists as shouts of "Why I oughta!" fill the air.

As they head slowly ever further into the jungle Peter provides the entertainment with his constant monotone and nasally drone as he witters endlessly about the Amazon, its wildlife and fauna mixed with plenty of po-faced philosophical musings regarding the nature of existence.

So it's almost a blessing when they stumble across a cave full of child abductors who spend their spare time drugging kids and selling their organs.

Yay! finally a chance for some unnecessary violence and scenes of small children in peril!

Chance would be a fine thing as Mark leads a bloodless rescue mission to save the kids by setting fire to the cave and leading everyone out the back door.

Except the ones already in boxes so I assume that they burn to death.

Off screen unfortunately.

Everything is going swimmingly until Jemma is bitten by a poisonous snake and with no chance of saving her Peter makes the decision to head towards the local tribe to see if they can help.

But can this tribe be trusted or are they cannibals preparing for a holocaust (or two?).

Go on, guess.

That's right, the tribe are really friendly to a point of one of the tribal elders sacrificing himself to aid Jemma's recovery.

For fucks sake, somebody stab something.

"Snake on mah cock!"

Suddenly as if he's realized that there's only twenty minutes left, Mr. Climati quickly returns to original missing professor plot.

But is it too little too late?

I'm certainly not saying, I mean I had to sit thru' this abomination so I don't see why you shouldn't too.

The cover, should you wish to
purchase it for a loved one.

There are some out there that will tell you that Antonio Climati's Green Inferno is a clever, self knowing exercise in twisting the audience's knowledge of the genre to produce the very antithesis of what is expected from a cannibal film, as the viewer is led ever forward into scenes that should end in mindless violence the director usurps our expectations and shows the 'savages' as friendly, noble and more importantly as understanding as you or I.

Well it's either that or Climati was trying to pull a fast one by marketing this Disney-esque boys own adventure as an honest to goodness gut munching jungle exploitationer (actually marketed in some places as Cannibal Holocaust 2 tho' you've probably gathered that by now) in a bid to make a quick buck.

But no-one's that cynical surely?

With my well documented love for Fatal Frames and Zombie Lake I'm probably the wrong person to ask.

Yet another movie called Cannibal Holocaust 2.
See how many you can find dear reader.

The scariest thing about the movie and it's non offensive feel must be the fact that director Antonio Climati was responsible for the cinematography (and in some cases co-directing duties) on such Italian exploitation movies as Savage Man Savage Beast 2, Africa Blood and Guts, Mondo Cane and the incredible Goodbye Uncle Tom.

What happened?

Did he suddenly develop taste or was this his reason for making such offensive nonsense in the first place?

To fund his dream adventure movie?

Perhaps we'll never know.

Sweet dreams and please don't have nightmares.