Wednesday, July 10, 2024

new york stories.

The John Carpenter classic - and my favourite of his movies - Escape From New York was released 42 years ago today so what better way to celebrate than with not only a collection of classic Carpenter inspired cuts, Jack Burton beats and taxicab tunes (available to download here) but with a film that is a wee bit like it.

I mean it's set in New York and one of the alternate titles has the word 'escape' in it so what more do you want?

Look all the kids are off school/college so I've precious little time for anything let alone blogging coherently.

Anyway enjoy.

1990: The Bronx Warriors (AKA Escape From The Bronx, Bronx Warriors. 1982)
Dir: Enzo G. Castellari
Cast: Mark Gregory, Fred 'The Hammer' Williamson, Vic Morrow, Christopher 'Brian' Connelly, Stefania Girolami, George 'The Beast' Eastman and Ennio 'The Jackal' Girolami.

"It might be a pile of shit out of somebody's asshole!"

The year is 1990 (not too surprising given the title but hey I'm trying to set the scene) and the crime rate in the run down Bronx bit of New York has sky-rocketed to such a high that the government has declared the entire place a no go area.

A wee bit like Dudley or West Bromwich.
Just with a bit less of a gammony smell.
The police no longer enter it (phnarrr) and vicious - well, vicious compared to the Jets from West Side Story or Murphy's Mob - gangs roam the streets enforcing their own brand of law.

And yes it does involve buggery.

It's to this lawless hell-hole that vacuous, bubble permed Ann (Girolami, the directors daughter, better known for her 1st AD work on Dawson's Creek and her wonderful singing voice) has run away to in the hope of escaping from her family, owners of the world's biggest arms conglomerate and controllers of the nice bits of New York City, reckoning that upon taking control of the company she'll become a mere puppet for the mysterious suits on the board.

Suits being worn by bad people.

And not just suits idly scattered on chairs.

That would be silly. 

Thinking about it tho' it's a wee bit of a selfish reason, it's not as if she's run away for ethical or anti-violence reasons the self centred, spoiled cow.

Kids eh?

No need.

Anyway, it's not too long before our heroine is attacked by a frighteningly camp bunch of guys bedecked in white Nazi helmets and huge cardboard shoulder-pads, carrying hockey sticks and whizzing round the place on roller skates.

ladies and gentlemen I give you the evil cut throat street gang know as The Zombies!

No, really I'm giving them to you....fucking take them.

Luckily for the fugitive heiress (and for the viewer who by this point is probably giving themselves a hernia laughing) her capture (and almost certain inappropriate touching) is thwarted by a gang of nipple revealing, denim clad bike boys named (quite creatively) The Riders led by the lady hipped pouting pretty boy, Trash (motorcycle enthusiast and expertly trained Greco-Roman style wrestler last seen on-screen in the fantastically shite Afghanistan Connection: The Last War Bus, Gregory).

Seeing as she's the only woman in the Bronx with all her own teeth (and without syphilis) Trash takes an instant shine to Ann, inviting her back to his day-glo love nest so she can stare lustfully at his sweat covered man breasts and share a can of Coke.

Aah, ain't love grand?


Meanwhile back at the plot, the aforementioned evil (person filled) suits decide to send bastard freelance law enforcer and part-time postie, the pube haired hard man Hammer (professional angry man, the late great Morrow) to bring Ann back safely and kill lots of people whilst doing it.

Nice work if you can get it.

Disguised as Postman Pat and carrying a poster tube with a candle stuck to the end Hammer heads into the Bronx to meet his contact, a traitor from within Trash's ranks.

Whilst all this mail-based excitement is going on, Ann is busy teaching Trash the meaning of trust and friendship (as well as how to apply blusher correctly), suggesting that it might be nice if he made the effort to make some new friends and get out more, rather than spend all his days stuck indoors playing Nintendo and hanging about with barely dressed bad boys.

So this is who really started The Great Fire of Pontypandy.

Trash reluctantly agrees and picks up his Power Rangers football before heading out to find some new pals to have a kick about with.

No sooner has he put his jacket down to use as a goalpost when who should turn up but rival gang boss, professional black man and self style King of New York, Mr. Tony Ogre (Blaxploitation legend and tight buttocked sex god, Williamson).

After a few goes at keepy uppy and penalties the pair become firm friends and Ogre offers to help Trash get his true love to safety thru' the dangerous underbelly of The Bronx.

But Hammer is in hot pursuit and the cities other gangs, from subterranean mutant tramps to evil tap dancers, aren't as accommodating as The Ogre, especially when it comes to fresh peachy ass slinking thru' their turf....

Dragged kicking and screaming from the mind of exploitation master Enzo G. Castellari (The Inglorious Bastards, The House by the Edge of the Lake with the scrumptious Leonora Fani, Go Kill Everybody and Come Back Alone and the soon to be completed Caribbean Bastards), this superbly silly riff on Escape From New York is at once gloriously entertaining nonsense yet at the same time as slow and painful as passing a huge kidney stone.

The 'plot' (as it is) is thinner than Mackenzie Crook on a starvation diet, leaving characters to wander aimlessly from scene to scene whilst Vic Morrow, wearing the look of a constipated bulldog licking piss off John Nettles single handily keeps the viewer interested (and ups the body-count) by dispatching anyone he comes across.

Leonora Fani: Ask your granddad.

Unexplained radiation scarred mutants attack our heroes during their journey thru' the subway for no other reason than there were obviously some zombie outfits left in the stock room but the greatest WTF moment must be when Trash and co. are accosted by the (previously mentioned) gang of bejewelled and make-up caked killer tap dancers all dressed up like rejects from Mamma Mia! who break into a fantastically camply choreographed fight cum dance number.

I kid you not, it's worth the price just for this scene alone.

Well, that and the fact that D'Amato regular and my real dad, the great George Eastman turns up halfway thru' dressed as a character from a junior school stage version of Mortal Kombat for no other reason than to fight Fred Williamson.

Oh, and get the ladies pulses racing obviously.

But despite (or maybe because) of all that, the movie is an unmissable slice of gritty urban genius, years before such gang based dramas became the vogue.

 To those unable to appreciate the slow burning powerful anti-fascist/anti-globalisation message of the movie, 1990: The Bronx Warriors may look like a film with little or no merit but to those of us that can appreciate true celluloid art the film is as powerful and thought provoking as Schindler's List or that Disney one with John Hurt about the family that escape from East Germany in a home-made balloon

Friday, July 5, 2024

stryke it lucky.

Noticed that the pound shop Toad of Toad Hall, squashy-faced fan of classic Doctor Who and part-time hand model that is Nigel Farage has just been elected MP for Clacton and that the flag shagging, chop and change charisma black hole that is 30p Lee Anderson surprisingly managed to keep his seat in Ashfield.

The scariest thing tho' was at no point during the in-depth political conversation on election night was it mentioned that Lee and Nige actually have more in common that just lining their own pockets no matter what the cost to anyone else because you see they also scarily enough both have the same favourite film.

No seriously.

I once phoned in Farage's radio show to ask him about it.*

Obviously this shouldn't come as too much of a surprise when you realise that Zombie 4 is actually about immigration and foreign types and the like but under the guise of being an Italian zombie film.

Clever eh?

Oh plus it features Jeff Stryker and as we all know Nigel never says no to a wee bit of man-cock.

You can ask Kirsten about that.

Anyway on with the review.

Zombie Flesh Eaters 3 (AKA Zombie 4: After Death. 1988)
Dir: Claudio Fragasso.
Cast: Jeff Stryker, Candice Daly, Don Wilson, Massimo Vanni, Nick Nicholson, Adrienne Joseph, Jim Gaines, your mom and some tramps.

But not Rishi Sunak obviously.

Or immigrants.

Touchin' our bane will feel our rain on the gain. It's a nightlife, whoa! Runnin' hard if you want it or not! It's a wild life, whoa! You can't stop. You must go on! I'm living after death! Living after death! I'm living after death! Living... Living... LIVING AFTER DEATH!

Somewhere on a remote South Pacific island (or more likely in the kiddies play park behind the directors house), a scientific research team have been working on a cellular regenerative thingy in the hope of finding a cure for ingrowing toenails and bad breath.

In an attempt to get the local (glam rock frocked) natives onside, top science bloke Dr. Godfrey Soontodie has offered to use this frankly bollocks scientific discovery to help cure the voodoo witch doctor's daughter of her terrifying bunions.

As is always the case in these situations the wee girl unfortunately dies.

It's off screen tho' so it's not that upsetting.

"Get your clothes off and your lips puckered....these babies aren't gonna suckle themselves!"

Not too surprisingly the witch doctor takes offense to this news and decides to put the famous 'curse of the dead' on the island, its visitors and inhabitants.

Which is understandable if not a wee bit annoying for the rest of the tribe.

With a wave of his mighty (and very beefy) arms and a flash of homemade fireworks (but not alas a flash of old man thigh) literally all hell breaks loose.

Well it would if hell consisted of an old lady in an ill fitting Halloween mask and a pair of Austin Powers teeth seemingly faking an orgasm whilst dancing like Ian Curtis (post suicide) on crack.

It's your nan at Christmas basically.

Laugh and indeed now!

It's not too much of a spoiler to say that the dead rise and kill everyone.

Well everyone that is except the lead scientists blonde moppet daughter, Jenny who survives the carnage thanks to a magic amulet given to her by her mother.

Well it's either actually magic or so cheap and nasty as to repel any self respecting zombie that sees it.

You can decide.

Flash forward 15 years later and a rescue team, led by the hunky Chuck (porn idol Stryker in a rare 'straight' role - ask your dad) is finally dispatched to discover why no-one has been returning their calls.

Well they took their time didn't they?

Also on the island (by some strange quirk of fate) is a by now all grown up Jenny (the late, great Daly from The Young and the Restless and Hell Hunters) accompanied by the slightly less attractive Louise (Joseph, mother of Birds of a Feather's Leslie), rentalunk Rod (Nicholson) and a couple of dirty mouthed gypsies.

"Put it in me!"

Sod all this character stuff tho' we want to know what Team Chuck is up to.

Well, whilst wandering around in a polystyrene cave left over from Michele Soavi's 'The Sect' (no really) our hero comes across the mysterious Book of the Dead.

Which is a change from my boyhood years watching him coming across a variety of buff arses whilst pulling a face not too dissimilar to the one your grandad pulled when he had that stroke.

But enough of the homemade erotica you want to know how Chuck knows that it's the real Book of the Dead and not a shoddy knock-off one from down the market.

Well it does have the words BOOK OF THE DEAD printed on the cover in big bold letters so I guess that clinches it.

You can see why Mrs Unwell doesn't trust me to buy stuff off Ebay can't you?

"Shite in mah tramp bearded mooth!"

Anyway back to the plot (for want of a better word) where Chuck, in a vain attempt to prove he can read unaided - but alas proving that he's never seen a horror movie - begins to shout random passages from the book (intercut with him shouting "Yeah baby! You're so fuckin' tight!" and pulling his cum face - well in my dreams it is) not realizing that the words, when read aloud are capable of bringing the dead back to life.

This'll be the same living dead that have actually been wandering around aimlessly for the past decade and a half from when that witch doctor read the same book, remember?

The writer obviously doesn't.

Some immigrants stealing our jobs and benefits yesterday.

Within minutes our heroes (well the folk on screen) are running for their very lives as hordes (I say hordes but I mean dozens) of foul looking refugees and illegal Eastern European immigrants (possibly) begin to rise slowly from their shallow graves intent on tasting the legendary Jeff Stryker's ample meat.

Or something.

Meanwhile in the grassy bit behind the bike sheds, jumpy Jenny and co. have problems of their own (discounting the obvious ones like lack of acting ability and bad breath) when a lone, maggot covered tramp (obviously symbolizing Remainers) falls on them from behind a tree covering a hapless member of her party in sick.

Running away screaming they soon stumble across the deserted medical research facility (in reality the directors local scout hut) once run by Jenny's folks where they're soon joined (c'mon, the running times not that long) by Chuck who has managed to escape the scary flesh eaters by leaving his team to die whilst he sneaked away sobbing like a baby.

What a guy.

Bobby Davro, up the casino, Penrith 1985.....YESCH!

Luckily for the survivors this peaceful medical centre is chock full of weapons  giving the male cast members ample opportunity to pose in a topless sweaty manner whilst firing a variety of semi-automatic weaponry indiscriminately at various unpaid extras who are then expected to fall off roofs and be set on fire in the vain hope of securing a work permit or at least a new pair of shoes for their kids.

Ain't capitalism grand?

But the humans are fighting a losing battle as one by one they are overcome by the advancing dead.

Deciding the blow up the centre in an attempt to convince the zombies it's Bonfire night and thus giving the humans a chance to escape (plus they reckon it might add a wee bit of much needed excitement to the movie), sole survivors Jenny and Chuck make a break for the woods only to find themselves back in the very cave where the spooky witch doctor started the undead plague to begin with.

With the zombie army closing in and Chuck down to firing blanks, Jenny clutches the magic amulet, praying for a miracle.

Well it's either that or she's cursing her agent.**


Will our toothsome twosome escape?

Will the UK rise up and actually take back control?

Will the zombie hordes attack Jenny and eat her whole?

Or will they spit that bit out?

Or will Chuck die whilst something slight and fairly incomprehensible happens to Jenny?

Go on, guess.

Not photoshopped.

Best known for it's frightening amount of alternate titles (After Death being the most common and Zombi 4 being the easiest to spell) as well as being shot on sets constructed for Michael Soavi's 'The Sect' and filmed entirely using camera's and equipment 'borrowed' from the set of Bruno Mattei's 'Strike Commando 2' (which was filming nearby), Claudio Fagrasso's -AKA Clyde Anderson - Zombie Flesh-Eaters 3/4 is the near pinnacle of bad movie making made flesh, a cinematic black hole so dire that not even light can escape from it's spiny celluloid fingers.

Imagine the most dangerous and sordid unsafe sex act you could ever indulge in with the most foul, STD ridden, crab-panted person - or animal - you can, then imagine that as you're about to cum (against your better judgement) you look down and realize that this pock marked, toothless crone you've payed £5 to probably catch sex death from is, in fact, your Gran.

You know...the dead one.

This is the effect After Death can have on a normal cinema goer.

But saying that, imagine how amusing it would be if you saw this happen to a friend.

And you just happened to have a camera handy.

So I guess you pays your money you takes your chance.

Funnel or tunnel?

Wise men say that you can't choose who (or what) you fall in love with tho' and like the three legged dog you should put down but decide to nail to a skateboard, After Death stays with you long after the DVD has been ejected, just like Hepatitis C or the feeling of shame you get after watching your parents home made porn.

Obviously just before realizing halfway thru' that you're actually the star, propped up on top of the wardrobe, drugged up to the eyeballs and wearing a dress.

But if like me you're one of the special few that actually enjoys Fragrasso's work - especially his top notch collaborations with Bruno ('Zombie Creeping Flesh' and 'Rats : Night of Terror') Mattei  - then jump in and enjoy.

I know I did.

But to be honest I really think that I should get out more.

And by that I mean out of the house not out of Europe obviously.

We wouldn't have stuff like this film if that were the case.

*And bizarre as it seems it was also Catherine Blaiklock's favourite film too.

You see it was actually her love of this movie that got her to team up with Farage to form the Brexit Party in the first place.

**Tho' obviously not as much as she was after she left The Young and the Restless, when after being unable to find work ended up OD-ing in a rundown Los Angeles apartment on December 14, 2004, which kinda put the dampers on my 35th birthday I can tell you.