Burt Reynolds: Last Train Out For The 1970’s Man’s Man

I’d (way too) old enough to still remember seeing Burt Reynolds appear on Dan August way back in 1970-71 and liking the show just for the rather dynamic opening of Burt doing all those stunts (and that catchy title theme):

 

(Thanks, The Rap Sheet!)

 

Amusingly enough, I was also watching Mannix over on CBS back then and yep, both shows were cut from the same (and literal) rough and tumble Quinn Martin cloth. meaning they were reliably action-packed and very guy focused (although both Mike Connors and Burt clearly had appeal to anyone hooked into those shows). I still recall in school one day some fearless (but none to bright) kid tried to copy that floor slide Burt did in the opening only to find out the laws of physics and a non-waxed floor made for a painful-looking science lesson. Hey, I got a laugh out of that foolishness, so it was all good.

deliverance_mp

I read Burt said this was his favorite film. I heartily agree. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s worth the watch.

I didn’t see any of Burt’s movies until John Boorman’s brutal, brilliant Deliverance popped up in heavily edited form (I think on ABC) and yes, I was creeped out big time by it, but it also became a favorite flick whenever it aired. Now, I wasn’t one to follow all of his work, but much of everything I saw was well made and Burt always came off as a pretty cool cat. Even in his more dramatic work up to a point, he did quite okay portraying an interesting variety of characters. I liked his work on Sharky’s Machine a lot because the film works as both cop drama and intentionally amusing dark comedy. yeah, Burt was a pretty decent director, too. Foo. I hate writing these posts because it’s hard to put words into proper sentences when one’s mind is racing like a Pontiac Firebird Trans Am about to clear a huge jump. Go watch a Burt flick at some point, I say. Pick a good one.

-GW

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Blu-Ray Review: Blind Woman’s Curse

Blind Woman's Curse BR_DVD Cover (Custom)One of those wild Japanese films packed with striking imagery and offbeat performances, Teruo Ishii’s 1970 hybrid Blind Woman’s Curse makes for another excellent Blu-Ray release from Arrow Video. It wraps up action and revenge flick aesthetics with a creepy tone, loads of late 60’s era sexiness and violence with a solid performance from beautiful Meiko Kaji. She plays Akemi, the head of a yakuza clan sometime during the 1920’s who’s been released from prison only to find there’s a pretty efficient pair of assassins as well as other folks after her and what remains of her loyal gang.

The main assassin (Hoki Tokuda) happens to be the sister of a rival boss out for her own revenge. Akemi accidentally blinded her during the fierce and beautifully shot sword battle that opens up the film and she now she’s somewhat hard to stop as she whittles down Akemi’s gang. Her assistant, a muttering and really creepy killer with wild hair (Tatsumi Hijikata) is one of those characters who gets under your skin and remains there from the moment you see him. Both he and the black cat that appears during the film lend a supernatural tone to the proceedings that lend the film a nice horror vibe. That said, if you pay close attention, you’ll see that the film tends to toss a lot at you with expectations that you’ll keep up.

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Blu-Ray Review: Mark of the Devil

mark of the devil BR DVDHow frightening. I’m actually old enough to remember seeing ads for Mark of the Devil in newspapers as a kid and while far too young to see it, wanting to just because of the free vomit bag handed out to viewers. I recall either a cousin or other relative seeing it and showing off their unused bag while they bragged about how violent the film was. Hey, it was after all “RATED V FOR VIOLENCE”… just not by the MPAA. That snazzy bit of marketing was courtesy Hallmark Releasing, the films distributor that packed houses for years during the 70’s and 80’s by retitling all sorts of sleazy to amazing genre movies.

Flash forward maybe a dozen or so years and I finally got to see the movie thanks to a fairly lousy quality VHS tape copy that had a few other horror flicks on it (one of which was Twitch of the Death Nerve, another Hallmark released flick). I certainly didn’t need a vomit bag, but the film’s overall tone and torture scenes did get under my skin (pun intended). Over time, I’d almost forgotten about the film thanks to only seeing it that one time, but thanks to Arrow Video and MVD, here I am back in front of a television with a superior in every way possible Blu-Ray version.

While not as relentlessly gory as more modern horror films, Michael Armstrong’s classic and controversial film is more of a “you are there” trip back in time than a traditional fright flick. Shot in and around Austria, the film’s lush outdoor landscapes are contrasted by the brutal torture segments that won’t have you tossing your cookies at all, but maybe reaching for a pillow to hide behind or stuff in your ears as you avert your eyes from some onscreen nastiness.

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Even (or Especially) The No Tech Lifestyle Leads to Trouble!

(Thanks, Sleaze-O-Rama!)
 

Okay, so I’ve heard technology called “the devil!” many times over the years and while out perambulating around, overheard some woman yelling the ears off her kid about her fervent desire for him to not spend ANY time online, even for schoolwork (does that rate a “Yikes!” or a “Yikes?” people? I’m confused here). Anyway, that rant that made a few people within earshot laugh out loud and/or give the Mother from Heck odd looks made me think of what her sonny boy will end up getting into thanks to him not being able to go online at all. I guess you can say… the devil makes work for idle hands. Hmmm. I think Horatio Caine can retire now, wouldn’t you say? No? Eh, whatever. Get back to work, you!

Sorry, 20th Century Fox. Your Throwback Tease Was Too Rich For My Blood…

beyond_the_valley_of_the_dolls_xlgSo, I get an email on Thursday from 20th Century Fox’s YouTube channel about Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and it gets me grinning because I’d been thinking of picking this up at some point and thought this was news of a lower-priced reissue. HA! I clicked that link under the trailer and got sent straight to Amazon, where the movie’s 2-disc DVD set is still commanding a whopping $70 (eek!). Um, thanks, but no thanks, folks.

Hell, at that exorbitant price point, I’ll just lurk around TCM and wait for them to show it again one late, late evening (or too early in the morning, actually). Of course, getting any Russ Mayer flick for under the cost of a body part is tricky these days if you live in the US and want a legal version. But man, owning them all must sure be a heck of a thing if you display your collection proudly and have to explain the man’s work to friends and relatives who’ve never seen anything he’s done. Good luck with that!

Yeah, Yeah…

Status

OK, despite the super-nice new weather outside (whee), I’m still not quite awake today and mistakes have been made. But they’ve been fixed.

EDIT! It’s a damn good thing bad spelling isn’t a work safety issue (well, under normal circumstances and definitely NOT in the case of a misread prescription thanks to a doctor that scribbles like he or she’s ON too many of the drugs they want you to take).

Imagine if it were, though?

Then all you blogger-types would have to deal with mandatory viewings of safety videos based on this Herk Harvey classic:

That is all. Back later – I may need to soak my head in a pot of coffee, though…

Random Film of the Week(end): Beneath the Planet of the Apes

BtPotAI usually avoid sticking my nose into other people’s conversations, but I had to poke and sniff lightly into a heated debate this week about Alien 3 being the “only” major sci-fi movie where a main character dies in a “really dumb” manner. For starters, warts and all, there’s a pretty decent (albeit as bleak as rollerskating all the rings of hell in a day) first film in David Fincher’s often negatively discussed sequel/”finale”. I did a RFotW on that a while ago (note that link above – go read it if you’re still one of those who despises the film and maybe it will help out a bit).

And second,Ted Post’s 1970 film, Beneath the Planet of the Apes definitely did its killing off of many major characters (and an entire planet) during the last reel in an even more shocking (and some would say, “really dumb”) manner. It’s actually not a bad film at all, but by upping the shock value of the original classic by obliterating the earth it was definitely a film you didn’t walk out of the theater feeling happy and bouncy after viewing…

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Random Film of the Week(end): Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

Like a few too many people who didn’t initially “get” it, I absolutely hated Beyond the Valley of the Dolls the first time I saw it back in the early 1980’s. Of course, I went in expecting one thing (I’d never seen a Russ Meyer film before) and yes, got something else entirely. Yes, I was probably a wee bit too young to grasp the wild blend of comedy, drama, morality play and plenty of under-dressed female and male flesh bouncing and wiggling about. But it only took a few years and a more maturely snarky perspective to see what I was really missing. Before then, I’d always given anything Roger Ebert said about movies the hovering eyebrow (as in “What does HE know, he co-wrote that crappy movie!”). After I started liking this beautiful, campy mess co-written and directed by Russ Meyer, it became of the first flicks I’d recommend to friends or anyone wanting to see something “out there” and it’s still ahead of its time in many respects… Continue reading

Instead Of An Evil Dead 4, Why Not A…


 

…remake of the 1970 horror flick Equinox, which can indeed be seen as a prequel of sorts to the Evil Dead films? Hell, it definitely inspired Sam Raimi and I’m crazy enough to see an influence or two in a few other horror films such as Phantasm and The Gate (but I could be wrong). Not to second guess anyone involved in the project, but I’d personally prefer Bruce Campbell to play something er, closer to his age range and not attempt to prance around like Harrison Ford in that last Indiana Jones flick (aided by stuntmen and CG work where necessary). OK, maybe I was a wee bit too influenced by Bubba Ho-Tep (see it if you haven’t – it’s weird and insanely funny) in judging Mr. Campbell’s current state (that Old Spice ad campaign from a few years back shows he still has it going on). Nevertheless, I just don’t want any of the crazier fans to get their hopes up and think there’s going to be a NEW trilogy of Evil Dead films with the new one kicking things off. After all, the movies DID inspire quite a few Duke Nukem quotes and we all know what happened when HE came back recently (and a few too many years late for some folks)…