Thursday, February 25, 2010

Man that Samson is one rightious dude!

D. Chuck Bail



* NOTE: The screen grabs featured in this review are actually from a VHS source and do not reflect the quality of the DVD source being reviewed.

This minor blaxploitation classic doesn't get much ink, which is probably because it was somewhat difficult to see until now. Thanks to the release of the Warner Brothers Urban Action four pack (including BLACK BELT JONES, THREE THE HARD WAY, HOT POTATO and BLACK SAMSON the only film in the set not featuring Jim Kelly) fans can finally see all the big African staff ass whoopin's, sedated lions, bouncing white titties, bad dubbing of background extras, bug eyed cocaine fiends and William Smith beating up women as you can handle. This is black foot to white ass classic seventies cinema.

Samson (Rockne Tarkington) is a bar owner in a small part of town. He keeps his little corner of paradise drug free and is well respected for it. The pushers on the outer edges are mostly cats he grew up with and have agreed to stay out of his turf out of respect. His club is one that everyone enjoys, young, old, rich, poor; everyone loves coming there, mostly because they love Samson. He keeps his pet lion on the bar at all times, and the lion just calmly chills there, watching the crowd and interacting with the local old town drunk Samson has taken in (Napoleon Whiting) in some rather funny scenes.

Give this lion a drink, before someone gets mauled!

But when local Mafia arm breaker Johnny Nappa (a scene chewing William Smith) and his buddy, the bigot mouth Arthur (Michael Payne), start causing trouble, it's time for Samson to bring out the six foot African cane and whip the shit out of Arthur to prove who's really boss.

See, it's funny because we're RACISTS!

Nappa goes home and beats up his lovely blond girlfriend (Connie Strickland) to prove his manhood, while Samson makes sweet, sweet love to his big afroed, philosophy spewing babe (Carol Speed). Turns out the Italian mob want to start peddling the dope on Samson's streets, but in a weird plot turn, the old Mafioso refuses to do it if it will require violence to convince him. At this point, he and Samson have a sit down and agree to let it go. It is hot headed, racist Nappa who keeps at it. Sending his girlfriend to be a dancer at Samson's club to spy, then beating the shit out of her when she becomes friends with Samson's woman.

Now this, this is the kind of thing that makes coming home worth while don't ya think?

Eventually it all comes down to a chase which leads Nappa and his gang straight into Samson's hood, where they're trapped. All through the movie, one of the big bones of contention is that the people of the neighborhood supposedly wouldn't stand up for Samson the way he stands up for them. That his idealism is just that, a false security for people who do not appreciate it. Turns out, those who believe that are very wrong, as the entire hood come out to Samson's defense cornering the white gang pummeling them from the rooftops with pots, pans, beds, tables, refrigerators and anything else they can hurl from windows and rooftops. A few of the good guys get shot, but not before a lot of villains are smashed up real good. Which leads to a showdown between Nappa and Samson which must be seen to be believed. Starting with Nappa yelling out at the top of his lungs "Nigggggggggggggggggeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrr" (an infamous someone once left that exact thing on my answering machine while drunk...).

When things get really heavy Samson and his people come down hard. All the way!

The final fight is a weird one. William Smith is awesome when matched with someone who can keep up with him like Fred Williamson. Their fight in BUCKTOWN is one of the all time great fight scenes. But Rockne Tarkington is no Fred Williamson. They roll around on the dirty mattressess flailing and flapping like two ducks fucking. Smith tries to make it look manly but it keeps going to the ground, and finishing up with lame kicks that Rudy Ray Moore would have demanded they speed up in the editing. All in all it is certainly amusing. But being that this is directed by 70's stunt man extraordinaire Chuck Bail you would have expected that final fight scene to be seriously the shit. It is clearly the lead actor who lets it down.

The dubbing in the film is hilarious as well. Anytime the bar is full there is a chorus of voices, clearly not being spoken by anyone on screen, saying things like "Man! That Samson is one righteous DUDE!!!" If you listen carefully ,at one point you can even hear someone say "Look, I'm talking but my lips aint even movin!!!" This insane off screen narrator bit would be put to more effective use by Lloyd Kauffman in every movie he ever made.

Carol Speed's fro deserves some sort of extra residual package. That thing is out of sight!

The new Warner's four Pack looks awesome. These aren't exactly demo material, but the films are letterboxed and look way better than they ever have. My only complaint is no extras, not even the easily accessible trailers. Bummer about that, but the films are great, and BLACK SAMSON is the gem of the bunch.

Review © Andrew Copp

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

This man is your last stop as you leave hell

WARNING: Even for the material normally discussed and contained on this blog, the following pictures and video may be objectionable and disturbing. The following contains images of real death and embalming, so proceed with caution.

Orozco The Embalmer (2001)
D. Tsurisaki Kiyotaka Cinema Obscura S.O.V.

Widely considered to be one of the must brutal and in your face of the mondo-documentaries that has floated around the underground in recent years, OROZCO THE EMBALMER has gathered a reputation that's proceeded it. Mostly by gorehound death fetishists that don't understand, nor care enough to look beyond the guts being spilled on screen to see the spiritual, political or just plain human context they may be watching. All they want to see is bodies being ripped open and blood splashed all over the place. This movie delivers that in a matter of fact manner that puts films like FACES OF DEATH or even the turgid and offensive FACES OF GORE series to shame. But at the same time there is an exploration of a real person here, who does a very real job, in a very real place, that very much resembles hell on Earth.

Orozco is an embalmer in one of the poorest, most crime ridden grottoes in Columbia. It is not uncommon here to see someone gunned down in the street, or for cars to run someone over and reduce them to paste in some sort of drug fueled vendetta. A life of crime is basically the only way to survive in this place and people die all the time.

Even the stray dogs have to take time to get plastered up to heal after street warfare in Columbia.

Hell, even the stray dog's are not safe. Orozco's business is booming due to this. But at the same time, he understands that the people he serves are poor and suffering, so he charges less than the city hospitals for an embalming and he makes his services affordable to the people he lives and works among. He also hires as assistants people from the neighborhood, including a local mentally handicapped man and that man's son who he has basically almost adopted as his own and is training.

Orozco finishes dressing a dead child for a funeral, while the parent waits patiently in the wings.

But don't let all this selflessness fool you - Orozco is one grumpy son of a bitch. The daily grind of cutting people open for little pay obviously gets to him. He is an old man now, the lines of a life that has battered the shit out of him are etched on his face. He barely seems to blink, and his mouth is always down turned in a frown. He applies his trade in a swift and aggressive manner, cutting into the bodies he is working on as someone would expect a butcher to attack a side of beef. Chunking his knives into the flesh hard and fast, tearing into abdominal cavities to release bloated gases, pockets of settled blood, and sack after sack of gorged internal organs that are simply in his way. He is not performing an autopsy, his job is to relieve the body of the artifacts that are going to start decaying soon that will prevent the body from being in a funeral service. He might even go as far as to apply make up if he deems it necessary for that particular person, though he has pretty strong opinions on that matter, expressing about one corpse "why paint this person up like a clown now, when that never looked like that when they were alive?" The brain is always removed and replaced with newspaper because that rots away the quickest and will smell immediately. It is all a daily grind for him: body after body, old men, women, and occasionally little babies or children. Sometimes he will notice things the hospitals or morgues have missed, such as an elderly corpse on his table he clearly notices had been abused while alive, but the cause of death does not indicate such. But he steps away from saying anything, claiming that to do so would only start trouble. Orozco was in the military when he was much younger but refuses to talk about it, as well as his time in the police. He clearly saw things that were quite awful, illegal things, murderous things. Things in which to spend his days among the dead is not terribly different.

A typical way someone ends the day in Columbia now and again.

The documentary crew visit one of the local hospital morgues to watch how they do their embalming, which is no more high tech than Orozco. In fact, in some ways it is just as savage. They take more time in the clean up, with more make up and prep for the funeral, but the actual cutting up and discarding of parts it is no different. Still, the embalmer has no problem talking shit about Orozco and his team. In a weird and out of place bit, the documentary director begins to talk off camera to the embalmer about the corpse and how it has a "really pretty hairy pussy" which kinda comes out of nowhere. Once that is said, though, it does sort of make you notice that a lot of the camera work has included crotch shots of the corpses which seemed a bit unnecessary. And very, very weird.

Which leads me to the movie's biggest detriment, the direction. The movie has a truly fascinating subject with Orozco, and the actual town in Columbia, but the direction itself is beyond sloppy, with many long, useless montages of life in the street (all set to the same droning, repetitive music) that just pad out the movie. There is one long aside of a drug addict allowing the camera to follow him to a corner in an alley to smoke crack, that has nothing to do with the movie at all. Then there is that weird sort of leering sexual asides the movie takes form time to time, the worse being the bit at the hospital morgue, where the camera seems to linger on a corpses genitals or breasts just a bit too long, which seems really fucked up.

The brain is removed to prevent stink of decay during any services the family may ask upon.

When I mentioned this on a message board someone mentioned that this film started life as an episode of the DEATH FILES series in Japan which is just a Mondo Death footage series (and one of the most brutal and outrageous). That series is just footage of dead people, usually at accidents in third world countries (of which there is plenty of here) or murder sites (once again plenty of that here). One of the most famous of that series was an off shoot called DEATH WOMEN which is just that, random footage of the corpses of women at accidents, murder scenes, morgues etc. Seems this director cut his teeth working on those series, and then make some short "art" films called JUNK FILMS which were basically more of the same. Orozco was originally intended to be more of this until he got a hold of such a fascinating subject and it become something entirely new. And that saves it. The focus on Orozco himself gives it all context and form, as well a lot of social dynamic as he explains how these people live and die.

Certainly well worth watching if you can stomach it. But be warned it IS as rough as you've heard.

Review © Andrew Copp

Monday, February 22, 2010

Indian laid on the Spah Ranch = Boob fight!

The Ramrodder (1969)
D. Van Guylder
Something Weird Video
Full Screen

This Nudie Cutie sexploiter from the era right before hardcore ejaculated onto movie screens everywhere is just barely memorable as an oddity for the onscreen appearance of Manson family killer Bobby Beausoleil - literally months before he committed the murder of Gary Hinman and was picked up by the cops. This movie was mostly shot on and around the soon to be infamous Spahn Ranch, which at that time was inhabited by Charlie Manson and his clan of hippie drop-outs who were planning the race war to end all race wars but would instead ultimately lead to the blood bath that ended the sixties.

But the film itself is a flimsy excuse to show tons of titties in various states of undress. Our hero Rick Thompson (Roger Gentry) is coming home from a Cattle round up in the old west, and is distracted by a half dozen Indian maidens bathing in a stream. You can tell they're American Indians because they all have feathered head dresses on (and nothing else). He watches them wistfully for about seven or eight minutes while the babes frolic, showing the same shots of their bouncing breasts and water beaded behinds over and over again. All the while the music is a threatening thriller styled riff that doesn't match the movie at all. Finally one semi sentient Squaw sees the grizzled white dude standing clearly out in the open gawking at their flesh and they all high tail it out of there. He heads on back to his cabin where his red headed babe (LucyJulia Blackburn), is waiting. They have what amounts to sex, when the censors will not allow any humping on screen. Rick does have a lot of pimples on his back and upper arms, though, and the lack of thrusting and humping leaves the viewers mind to wander if those babies are gonna burst on screen.

Later, Rick mozies on down to the local Indian encampment to tell the Chief that the local government has decided that the land they are on has now been declared a reservation and that the lucky Indians can now legally stay there for good! Thanks whities! The Chief gives Rick a medallion for being a friend to the tribe. Right after he leaves we see the "dance of the virgin" for local Squaw Tuwana (Kathy Williams) which is meant to excite the fellas into one of them taking her as a bride. But Brave Eagle (Robert Aiken), the Chief's son, gets the hardest boner for her and plans to take her for his own. When she lets him know it is against tribe law to take a virgin against her will, he tells her that she needs to "learn obedience" while threatening her with a bullwhip!

All of us on the reservation have access to superior dental care and breast implants. Thank you Uncle Sam!!!

When Rick is riding out of the camp he is attacked by a crazy white dude who is missing all of his upper front teeth (Bobby Beausoleil). They fight and the bandit knocks out Rick, taking his money and the medallion he was given. He then finds another squaw in the woods and chases her down (topless of course), rapes (off screen) and kills her. When she is found, the Indians naturally think Rick is the murderer. But he can't be, because while it was happening, Tuwana had found Rick and was overtaken by the fact that his Honky peeping self had ogled her in the stream earlier and decided to give up her V-card to him in that same dirty, bug infested stream. Rick nearly breaks her arm while hoisting her up so the camera can see her breasts while they fake the hippity dippity.
Rick's love making skills could use a little finesse...

The camera goes out of focus every time they get too close to it; apparently the focus puller has dozed off, or slipped off to the Spahn Ranch to get high that day. More of the pissed of Indian braves go on the hunt for Rick, while several others decide to go on a kill whitey rampage to show them who's boss, raping a random white chick along the way. Tuwana and Lucy get into a knife fight that involves more tittie rubbing that actual knife fighting, and Lucy does her version of the "dance of the virgins" for Brave Eagle, except way more slutty as she awakens her sexuality to save her man's ass. Tuwana gets to taste that bullwhip and realizes she likes it, but still has time for a lesbo tryst as well, and the Chief never moves from the spot he has stood in for the entire film.

The Ramrodder is a hippie, liberal, nudie, sex, cowboy movie that happens to feature a convicted murderer as the main villain. For all the soft focus nudity, there is a lot of verbiage given to equity of the races, and anti-violence speeches. It is all very late sixties maaaaaan, what with the women discovering the sexuality as an important force of nature and no man having the right to take another life (unless he is castrating a rapist that is!). Which makes all the other crap in the movie all that much more hilarious, such as the fact there are no actual American Indians in the movie. Every single person in the film is a white person, either poorly painted up to look Indian (the Chief is just in brown make up) or they didn't even try at all (several background Indians are just hippies in jeans and headbands!). Robert Aiken who plays almost looks like he could be American Indian, if he just crossed over the border from Tijuana, and Brave EagleKathy Williams looks about as ethnic as her name sounds. Even better is that no one at all attempts an accent, except for the pathetic Indian speak, which seems to include random Spanish and Italian words thrown in for good measure. I was waiting for someone to say burrito or spaghetti.

I'm going by memory here, but it seems like I recall this movie being discussed in the film MAU MAU SEX SEX (Dave Freidman released this theatrically, hence why SOMETHING WEIRD put this out) and that they said the director was actually Lee Frost. Which explains the extended whipping sequence, which is in almost all of Lee Frost's films and was apparently a kink of his that he made sure to include. Finally, it is kind of weird to see Beausoleil getting castrated on screen considering what he would be doing to Gary Hinman just a few months after this movie was shot.

The SOMETHING WEIRD DVD has the co-feature REVENGE OF THE VIRGINS and a whole bunch of shorts and trailers including Lenny Bruce's classic animated THANK YOU MASKED MAN!

Review © Andrew Copp

The Tittie Fight from THE RAMRODDER

Ramrodder Part 1 of 2
Uploaded by rodmanwriter1.

Friday, February 12, 2010

2009 lists come to an end

More end the line insanity from 2009 from my pal Matt Brassfield who is the manager of Game Swap in Kettering and also runs Independent B-Movie, and is the director of the infamous WEREWOLF OF OHIO. I wonder if he was overworked or dipping into the crack bowl on some of these picks, but I am not one to judge!

10 0f 2009

1.) X-Men Origins Wolverine – Now I know what your saying most the people that have been on this website have trashed this film, but I for one was highly entertained by its popcorn action. Hugh Jackman did a great job once again as Wolverine and while not as bloody as it should be it made for a solid PG-13 film.

2.) Watchmen – “Who’s watching the Watchmen?” well me and many others a smart comic book film that is packed with great acting and a great script. Love the fact it’s more of a film noir drama then a beat em up super hero flick. Very smart film.

3.) Star Trek – A good reboot to the Star Trek series, great cast who all seem to get there roles as well as a solid script. If your looking for a good big budget sci-fi flick then this is for you. Plus with Leonard Nimoy as Spock again this is a good film for all Trekkies.

4.) Terminator Salvation – This one blows part three out of the water and is high action sci-fi popcorn flick. The plot while not 100% solid does have a charm to it that tries to tie in all the other sequels. Lots of action and a tad drama make this a good summer movie. Plus the Arnold clone makes it kick ass.

5.) Trick r’ Treat – What a great horror flick that has heart and truly brings back the anthology to the horror genre that was long over do. The acting is amazing with Anna Paquin looking stunning at little red riding hood. If you haven’t seen this fun film then you should go out and pick it up.

6.) Saw 6 – A Horror film with a message about out Health care! It’s not every day you get a smart horror film that’s packed with gruesome deaths and enough blood to make a slaughterhouse look clean. Jigsaw’s game continues and I had a lot of fun viewing this one.

7.) Last House on The Left – A remake that works! While it was not a masterful film it was a nice sick twisted film filled with murder, rape and revenge. The acting was good for a Hollywood Grindhouse film and the pace of the film seemed to chug along at a good pace. Plus like this twist ending a lot!

8.) Hulk vs. – The Green Skin monster is back in this animated film that has him fighting with Thor and Wolverine in two short films. While the Wolverine one was just all right it was packed with other characters like Deadpool, Lady Deathstrike, Sabertooth and Omega Red. The vs. Thor is the better of the two and has an epic feel when the green skin goliath tangles with the god of thunder.

9.) The Hills Run Red – A nice under the radar film that is about a young man looking for a lost horror film that was said to be the most shocking over the top flicks ever made. What he finds it a one way ticket to the film that never ends, The Hills do indeed run red! Nice twisted film with a cool killer and some great gore.

10.) Inglorious Bastards – Not a fan of Tarantino’s work for the most part he’s pretty hit or miss with me but this Word War II spaghetti western was just the right mix of witty dialogue, over the top action and drama to make it one fun watch. Brad Pitt is a little silly in this one and at times his acting is down right bad, but looking at the film I think it’s meant to be that way.

11.) Sick Girl – This was a film that my pal Jerry from Synapse talked me into getting and I really liked it! It’s about a young girl who is mentally unstable and who gets her rage out by killing and torturing people in her barn. It’s a cool independent film that has heart and a solid script. If you like sick films with twisted plots then check this one out.

Films I seen in 09

Drag Me To Hell, Superman Batman Public Enemies, Tyson, Street Fighter The Legend of Chun-Li, I Love You Man, Quiet Nights of Blood And Pain, Victor Juliet’s Director Cut, Martyrs, Bride Wars, Paul Blart Mall Cop, The Unborn,
MaskHead, Underworld Rise of The Lycans, Haunting in Connecticut, Clive Barker’s Book of Blood, GI Joe The Rise of Cobra, Taintlight, Green Lantern First Flight, Jennifer’s Body, Paranormal Activity, Bruno, Jeff Hardy.. My Life My Rules, Macho Madness The Randy Savage Collection, Hulk Hogan Unleashed,
Jeff Jarrett King Of The Mountain, Matt and Bruce’s First Time


1.) Friday The 13th – A heartless piece of trash that once again Michael Bay and his team of hacks pooped out for the teen audience. It’s so lame that at times it seems as if they just did another remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and added Jason in for Leatherface! Wasted $10.75 in the theatre to see this crap.

2.) Halloween II – What was Rob Zombie thinking when he wrote this terrible film that ruined the franchise. Terrible script, some bad acting and his wife with a white horse is some of the reasons this film blew. Sad indeed for my favorite horror franchise to be treated like this. The only plus side is that it has my girl Danielle Harris in it, who I have been a fan of for a long time.

3.) Dragonball Evolution – What a bad movie with bottom of the barrel effects and a piss poor story line and no real direction. This is a Golden Turkey film that should be on MSTK 3000 if they decide to re-launch.

4.) Transformers 2 Revenge of the Fallen – A plot that is so half assed it has more holes then a chunk of Swiss Cheese. This is the prime reason people need to stop seeing Bay’s “epic” effect films that are just terrible. A soulless film with no heart, and the key reason why Platinum Dunes needs to stop screwing up 80’s cartoons.

5.) Wrong Turn 3 – Terrible! I was a fan of both part one and two, but this one seems to have had a budget they wasted cause half way through the effects look like a backyard film that a highschool student made. It had an all right story just not well put together at all, very disappointed in this one!

6.) Feast III – What the fuck was this films ending about? It’s as if the filmmakers think they made some sly joke but really all it did was piss of fans who have followed this series. It was fun and wild up till the giant fucking robot. Very lame guys next time do better!