Review: The Pyjama Girl Case (Blu-Ray)

The Pyjama Girl_03

La calma prima della tempesta: Ray Milland as Inspector Thompson does a bit of gardening (sans FROGS to interrupt him).

The Pyjama Girl Case coverLoosely based on a true story (that’s still a tad unresolved), Flavio Mogherini’s 1977 film La Ragazza Dal Pigiama Giallo (aka 1978’s The Pyjama Girl Case) is a pretty depressing flick to sit through when all is said and done. It’s skillfully edited to spool out two tales: one of a retired police detective (Ray Milland) coming back to work on the trail of the person who murdered and mutilated a woman, and the second is the story of Glenda (Dalila Di Lazzaro), a Dutch immigrant who comes to Australia, gets a job as a waitress and later ends up a victim of a particularly horrifying crime.

Even more horrifying are the police coming up with the idea to preserve and display the unidentified remains to the public (yes, this actually happened in real life for a whopping ten years) and painfully getting information though beating up a few suspects (not sure if it’s 1977 addition, but man, is it so not an OK thing to do even if a guilty party is eventually found). Nevertheless, Milland is clearly having a blast in his role, and Di Lazzaro is a lovely, tragic victim you want to see not a bad thing happen to. The film even makes you feel sorry for a suspect in her murder, but you’ll have to watch this to see how the director plays that out.

(Thanks, Blazing Trailers!)

In fact, save for Milland’s Detective Thompson who’s eager to take on the case, most of the detectives and investigators here seem to be all too happy (and incompetent) with finding the quickest means to end the case, even if it means one seemingly obvious suspect is discovered early on who’s a pure creep and not a killer. This adds an air of hopelessness to the narrative as the film plays out and you witness the results of haphazard work (save for the one man who should be home with his flowers). Granted, poor Glenda would still be deceased even through the shoddy police work, as Detective Thompson is only called after she’s been disposed of.

Continue reading

May the 4th Needs a Fifth, I Think

Yeah, yeah. I kind of don’t like the over-celebrating thing when it comes to some stuff I appreciate, but that’s the way things are these days. Still, a little tribute is in order to a film that deserves it (well, in its original format), so here’s mine.

Perspective from an old fart who knows stuff: There was not a hint of internet nor the sort of over-speculation we suffer though today way back in 1976 when I was sitting in a movie theater and saw this teaser for the first time:

(Thanks, thecoolman!)

I vaguely recall being really curious about this upcoming film because it looked completely different than anything I could recall seeing (hey, I was only 12 at the time), yet it seemed really familiar in a few ways to stuff I’d seen on the local PBS station. At that point, I had zero idea of what a homage was or a way to grasp that George Lucas was borrowing from the past to create his own futuristic adventure (what was curiously, set in the distant past). Anyway, I noted the non-date and filed the film away in the memory banks as something to look forward to seeing. Those school friends I knew were either not interested at all or worse, had a low opinion of sci-fi films that extended to books and comics of the period. So only a rare few of the kids I knew even cared about this film before and to some extent, after it was released.

The most amusing modern thing in regards to this teaser is the Official Star Wars YT channel has an (intentionally?) embarrassing low quality teaser while other non-official sites have not only better quality ones, but one that’s been redone to include footage found in the actual release print. Granted, while MUCH prettier, I find that clip problematic because it’s redone history that erases the fact that the teaser was supposed to be cruder thanks to the film still being nowhere near completion a about a year out from its eventual release date. Sure, film fans didn’t know this and other that tiny bits (VERY tiny) of information dropped in a few sci-fi mags of the era. But that all changed as 1977 rolled around and more info as well as the successful Star Wars comic book appeared. I avoided the comic for a while, but eventually collected most of its run over time, enjoying a good deal of what I was reading (including stuff now FAR outside the current canon)

Continue reading

Blu-Ray/DVD Review: The Aftermath

The Aftermath VCIThere’s a great bonus on the BR/DVD version of The Aftermath that’s well worth watching before you see the main event. That would be the 1973 student film, The Night Caller, directed by Dan Gilbert and inspired by Ray Bradbury’s short story, Night Call, Collect. The same guy who co-wrote and stars in that main event, Steve Burkett, also plays the lead in this short and it seems the plot is something of an expansion of a few ideas from the short as well as some of Burkett and co-writer Stanley Livingston’s own work.

That said, this shot in 1978/released in 1982 film was also something of a passion project for Burkett, as it was made for not a whole lot of money (and it shows), features a few of Burkett’s friends and family members along with the always fun to watch Sid Haig as the film’s main, mean villain. On one hand, it’s not the greatest action film you’ll ever see. However, it’s a case of a killer “B” flick with an oddly effective sting that happens to wear its battered heart on its bloody sleeve.

Burkett plays Newman, an astronaut returning to Earth after a lengthy journey with two others, Mathews (Larry Latham) and Williams (Jim Danforth!). They can’t contact anyone on the planet and after an explosion, the ship crash lands in the water somewhere near Los Angeles. Williams is killed and initially, Newman thinks he’s the sole survivor until Mathews washes up shortly thereafter. The men spend a harsh night outdoors where they’re attacked by crazed and somewhat violent (zombie-like?) mutated savages and it’s only when the dawn breaks they find out there’s been a big ol’ nuclear war while the men were away that’s wiped out a good chunk of humanity.  So much for that homecoming parade, right?

Continue reading

HALLOWEEN Meets Halloween: Dreamy Nightmare Time


 

From the depths of the Internet, one smart YouTuber named juvan baldeo took my favorite Halloween movie and my favorite Halloween song and made this beauty of a clip. Enjoy!

-GW

A Little Something To Bug Me On A Monday

So, how was your holiday? Mine was dull and intentionally so. That said, I haven’t EVER been so chewed up so damn much by bugs since I was a kid and this summer was lousy for going anywhere outside and coming back with a few fresh bites. There seem to be small armies of little nippers zipping around this year to the point you’d think this was some 70’s eco-disaster flick up here and elsewhere. I actually can’t believe I’m saying this, but i can’t wait for colder weather to get here. A few chilly winds will keep the little pests and some of the bigger (human) ones away from causing so much trouble. I hope.

Back tomorrow with some actual updates.

A “B” I Need to See: Les Raisins de la Mort

The Grapes of Death MP

Poster courtesy Horrorpedia.com- GO SUBSCRIBE!


 

I’ve never seen Jean Rollin’s 1978 horror flick Les Raisins de la Mort (The Grapes of Death), but I do vaguely recall discussing the film with a friend a few years back in a conversation about foreign horror movies. I’d forgotten all about it until YouTube user Sleaze-O-Rama posted the trailer below:

(thanks, Sleaze-O-Rama!)

And now, the hunt begins for a DVD as I prefer to borrow or outright own my movies and not stream or steal them. It’s not an urgent “get” at all. But if I see this one in my travels and it’s affordable, I’ll be adding it to the library when I can.

Tuesday’s Mild (Not Really)…

(thanks, DonFabrizio!) 

Well, it’s supposed to be messy tomorrow, weather-wise (snow, rain, sleet, no Santy Claus), so I’m preparing by waking up with a massive headache, taking too long to get out and about and figuring out how much catching up I need to be doing on a bunch of work. Well, it’s not all pain and suffering here, folks. I did get a nice item to review in the post yesterday, so that will be keeping me occupied for a tiny bit. As I’m not doing anything for Thanksgiving (still no kitchen here and the recently scraped ceiling is peeling!), I’ll see if I can get a post or two up at some point from an undisclosed location. Or hell, one that has working wi-fi (shakes fist at Starbucks and their slower than should be tolerable or not working at all connections).

Okay, enough griping – I have stuff to do. My headache is gone, at least.

Review: DEVO – The Men Who Make The Music/Butch DEVO & The Sundance Gig

MVD6055DFun fact: There are three live performances of “Uncontrollable Urge” on DEVO – The Men Who Make The Music/Butch DEVO & The Sundance Gig from 1978, 1996, and 2003 respectively and both the dynamism and choreography haven’t changed a bit. Granted, the younger DEVO was a slimmer, trimmer band way back when that first LP was released, but the more spud-like shapes of the band-mates doesn’t slow them down one bit when it comes to delivering what’s still one of their most memorable hits.

If you’re new to the band or maybe not so new but haven’t yet seen them live, this set of eyeball and ear searing old stuff will show you DEVO’s originality and rather special craft that’s kept fans around through think and thin. With a new tour and cool crowdfunding project happening, MVD is helping bring these guys to a new audience that needs to listen to something other than the radio-ready junk that sells in lower and lower numbers each year…

MVD Visual has done up a VERY entertaining DVD here that’s a combination of the long out of print 1981 VHS tape (DEVO – The Men Who Make The Music) and a complete 1996 reunion concert given at that year’s Sundance Film Festival along with two bonus DEVO clips from a pair of MVD’s other DEVO video discs. The Men Who Make The Music is a bizarre “documentary” of sorts that combines six 1978 concert tour clips, the two videos from 1976’s “The Truth About De-evolution” and three music videos (from the band’s first LP) as it spools out the story of the band dealing with music industry pressures of the time. In all the weirdness, I’m gathering the band may have been having some issues with Warner Bros. Records trying to control it to some extent… or perhaps this was all done as a send-up of this sort of thing common to the industry. In any event, it’s a hoot to see the young spuds, Booji Boy and General Boy “face off” against Rod Rooter and pretty much not follow his dopey orders to stick with those yellow jumpsuits. Continue reading

Superman: The Movie (1978) Sharp Dressed Men Make An Impression! Writers, Here’s How To Introduce Your Hero (#7 Of A Bunch)

(thanks, Jason Makiaris!) 

This one’s priceless and still a kick in the pants because it’s classic 1970’s New York gone comic book (thanks to the great Richard Donner), but even more hilarious for one key reason. I recall seeing the film back in 1978 and some kid sitting in front of me asking his dad who the black guy was noting how awesome Superman’s costume was. I don’t think there was EVER a pimp in a Superman comic when this film was released (and I’m not sure if one has ever been in an issue even as a background character). I do remember the father muttering something like “Er… um, I’ll tell you later – just watch the movie!” and me trying not to crack up laughing for the next hour plus. To this day I often wonder HOW that guy explained what a pimp was and what he did to his kid. THAT conversation must have been a doozy. The full scene is here – enjoy!

Random Film of the Week(end): MARTIN

(thanks albademorti!) 

martin 1978 I think I like MARTIN the best out of all George Romero’s films because despite its age it still holds up one of the best modern takes on the vampire genre (even though the titular character only thinks he’s one) and is about as uncompromising as it gets from beginning to end.

It’s also an extremely hard to watch film if you’re squeamish about a few things like needles, fresh razor blades and blood, but everything clicks on multiple levels and there’s a powerful payoff at the end that offers up a bit of slyly amusing social commentary common to Romero’s work. If all you know about vampires is that tween sparkly Twilight crap or even the used to be interesting before it went into fairy fantasy crazyland True Blood, this one will stake a claim in your brain as soon as you meet the titular character doing his version of the bloodsucking thing he needs to slake his thirst…
Continue reading