Castles, Krimis, Murderers and Madmen - A Euro Gothic Journey

Mexican Wrestlers, Italian Vampires, Filipino Mad Scientists and more.
Mike Mariano
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Joined: September 13th, 2007, 3:47 am

April 13th, 2018, 9:57 pm #201

The Sinister print--at 72 minutes--is a shorter, cut version of SLAUGHTER OF THE VAMPIRES.  It may reflect a pared down version for release on Pacemaker's double bill.  Retromedia released a DVD that is also this shorter version. 

Dark Sky released a complete version on DVD with a running time of 78m9s.  The Dark Sky disc includes a nice extra of an on-camera interview with Dieter Eppler (at 80 years old), who talks about making the film.

I'm not exactly sure what was left out of the shorter prints.  I don't think they're missing anything critical (certainly no Graziella Granata nude scene!).  But if you're a completist and want that longer cut, the Dark Sky DVD would be the one to get.  It's still affordable on Amazon.
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Jameselliot
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April 14th, 2018, 12:47 am #202

I have the Dark Sky DVD. I think this has been mentioned before: the actor playing the vampire running away with the girl in the opening doesn't look like Dieter Eppler. I thought he was an okay Count--his name is never said. 

The music by Aldo Piga is memorable. It's more on the melancholy/romantic side but has its moments. Piga also composed the music for L'amante del vampiro, L'ultima preda del vampiro and Il mostro dell'opera. All the biggies of 1960s Italian bloodsuckers. He was the Italian-American version of James Bernard, at least with vampire flicks.
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Rick
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April 14th, 2018, 1:38 am #203

I saw this on the only quadruple horror feature I ever attended. The four films I saw at the New Albany Drive-in in November of 1969 were (under these titles):

THE VAMPIRE BEAST CRAVES BLOOD
CURSE OF THE BLOOD GHOULS
BLOODY PIT OF HORROR
TERROR CREATURES FROM THE GRAVE

I wasn't very fond of any of 'em at the time, but I enjoy them all more now. Nostalgia, doncha know?
“We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities.”
― Oscar Wilde
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Bob Meyer
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April 14th, 2018, 2:07 am #204

Klibignaitis wrote:
Bob Meyer wrote: Only other Franco film I've seen is CONDE DRACULA with Christopher Lee, and aside from the totally gonzo zoom-in zoom-out stuffed animal scene, I enjoyed it.
It's a bizarre scene isn't it? A number of reviews have slated it, saying it is obvious the animals aren't real. But I think that's (kind of) the point? Apart from anything else, they still have cobwebs on them, which indicates to me they are the ornamental stuffed creatures appearing to 'come alive', but as is often the case with Franco, things are left in the imagination of the viewer. Personally, I find it quite effective.
I understood (or think I understood) what Franco was going for in that scene, and put it down to either no more money or no more time to shoot something more...”realistic”?  It's memorable, though, obviously.  I appreciate your thoughts on both Franco and (up-thread) Jean Rollin, and will endeavor to approach both directors’ works with a dream-like perspective in mind.  You’re certainly not alone in your love for both.  For me, time will tell!
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Bob Meyer
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April 14th, 2018, 2:12 am #205

Jameselliot wrote: I have the Dark Sky DVD. I think this has been mentioned before: the actor playing the vampire running away with the girl in the opening doesn't look like Dieter Eppler. I thought he was an okay Count--his name is never said. 
I just re-checked it - and you're right!  In a courtroom, there would be only circumstantial evidence that the fella in the opening scene is the same as Eppler's vampire fleeing in the carriage.  Still, it's obviously supposed to be the same character.
Thanks to all for the DVD recommendations.  Looks like I chose the wrong one, but luckily I'm not the completist I once was.
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Bob Meyer
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April 14th, 2018, 2:17 am #206

Rick wrote: I saw this on the only quadruple horror feature I ever attended. The four films I saw at the New Albany Drive-in in November of 1969 were (under these titles):

THE VAMPIRE BEAST CRAVES BLOOD
CURSE OF THE BLOOD GHOULS
BLOODY PIT OF HORROR
TERROR CREATURES FROM THE GRAVE

I wasn't very fond of any of 'em at the time, but I enjoy them all more now. Nostalgia, doncha know?
Looks like you also got a Walter Brandi and Alfredo Rizzo triple feature!  Rizzo is the smarmy dance troupe manager in PLAYGIRLS AND THE VAMPIRE (played basically the same role alongside Brandi in BLOODY PIT), and has a small role in SLAUGHTER.  IMDB says he was in TERROR CREATURES with Brandi too.  Wonder if Rizzo and Brandi were good friends?
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Bob Meyer
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April 14th, 2018, 2:46 am #207

Fantastic poster you listed above.  Great detective work, Dr. Kelp!
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Dr Kelp
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Joined: November 27th, 2016, 2:34 am

April 14th, 2018, 3:14 am #208

Bob Meyer wrote: Fantastic poster you listed above.  Great detective work, Dr. Kelp!
thank you
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Mike Mariano
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April 14th, 2018, 5:56 pm #209

Kelg wrote:

"RE: Slaughter of the Vampires.

Have seen this a couple of times. Made me want to seek out other Graziella Granata films but she doesn't have much of a genre filmography."

Kelg, I checked out a couple other films Ms. Granata was in (the spaghetti western BEYOND THE LAW w/Lee Van Cleef; the spy thriller DEATH ON THE RUN), but neither seemed to make use of her charms the way SLAUGHTER does.  My guess would be that SLAUGHTER is possibly her sexiest role...the producers knew what they had there! 

There is, however, one thing you should check out:  her brief appearance in the film LOVE MEETINGS (1964), which is not listed in Graziella's IMDb filmography.  LOVE MEETINGS is a documentary in which Pier Paolo Pasolini wanders around Italy and interviews everyday people (and a few celebs) about sex, marriage, relationships, love, etc.  That might seem quaint, but the film turns out to be a charming look at a bygone-but-vibrant time in LA DOLCE VITA-era Italy.  Graziella is only in it for a few minutes, as Pasolini interviews her and Antonella Lualdi (DEATH ON THE FOURPOSTER) while both are getting some sun on the sand among the crowds of people.  The film was released to DVD, but it's also viewable with English subs on youtube (see link below).  Graziella and Antonella's interview starts at about 63 minutes in.  Both of them give thoughtful answers while interviewed, but what caught my attention is Graziella's attire...or rather the lack thereof.  Never have I so desperately wished for gravity to take its effect on the bikini top that is hanging on for dear life to her bosom!

LOVE MEETINGS (1964)

granata6.JPG
granata2.JPG
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Jameselliot
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April 15th, 2018, 10:28 pm #210

Bob Meyer wrote: 1962 - LA MANO DE UN HOMBRE MUERTO  (THE SADISTIC BARON VON KLAUS)

Sadistic Baron von Klaus.jpg
Spain.  Literal Title:  “The Hand of a Dead Man”.    Directed by Jesús Franco (as “Jess Frank”).  Written by Franco and Rene Sebille.

The Story:  A reporter is dispatched to follow the investigation of a girl found raped and murdered near the Austrian estate of the wealthy but mysterious von Klaus family.  The few possible suspects include the current Baron, his recently-arrived nephew, and a visiting psychologist, while the villagers suspect that the spectre of a previous von Klaus patriarch has returned.


This is an entertaining little thriller with possible supernatural overtones, Jess Franco’s follow-up to his AWFUL DR. ORLOF from earlier the same year.  Howard Vernon is back and once again both sinister and sympathetic.  While the acting is generally solid, unfortunately Hugo Blanco as the nephew isn’t very good, although he is kinda creepy.  On the plus side, the rapport between the reporter (Fernando Delgado) and the investigating police detective (Georges Rollin) is fun and especially notable is the very watchable Gogó Rojo as the local barmaid who always sports a bemused and seductive smile.  Jess Franco himself has a small role as the newspaper editor who sends Delgado off for the scoop.

That being said, I still enjoyed the movie and recommend it.  Spanish horror films are few and far-between in the 60s and didn't really get going until the end of the decade.  I have the Image DVD of VON KLAUS, which is a very good print of the French-language dub with subtitles.
I thought Von Klaus was sluggish and slow-going. Both Orlof and Dr. Z are loaded with the qualities this film lacks. This one, sandwiched between those classics, is a well-made, beautifully shot production (excellent master shots are plentiful), a major difference from the schmutz Jess would make in the late 70s and 80s. Yet nothing happens until 60 minutes in, and the endless conversations are reminiscent of the talky British films of those years. At times, the music doesn't reflect what's happening on screen, especially at the end. The takeaway from Von Klaus belongs to Argentinian actress and vedette Gogo Rojo. After Gogo's "scandalous" pivotal scene, the film grinds to a halt.
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Bob Meyer
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April 16th, 2018, 2:48 am #211

Jameselliot wrote: I thought Von Klaus was sluggish and slow-going. Both Orlof and Dr. Z are loaded with the qualities this film lacks. This one, sandwiched between those classics, is a well-made, beautifully shot production (excellent master shots are plentiful), a major difference from the schmutz Jess would make in the late 70s and 80s. Yet nothing happens  of the talky British films of those years. At times, the music doesn't reflect what's happening on screen, especially at the end. The takeaway from Von Klaus belongs to Argentinian actress and vedette Gogo Rojo. After Gogo's "scandalous" pivotal scene, the film grinds to a halt.
I'm probably a bit of an oddity in that I don't mind talky films with little action if I'm enjoying the story.  I generally tend to enjoy any movie (especially older ones) if it's not incompetent and doesn't insult my intelligence (or even if it does, if it's atmospheric or just plain fun).  I'm easily entertained, and these posts don't necessarily reflect whether the movies are actually good, just that I (a very nostalgic and very easily entertained individual) did or did not enjoy the movie at hand.  On the flip side, the recent Star Wars films bored me to tears...although I hold big modern movies to a much higher and perhaps unfair standard.

You're right about Von Klaus grinding to a halt once we lose Gogó Rojo, though.  She's genuinely charming in this film.
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Bob Meyer
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April 16th, 2018, 2:54 am #212

1962 - MACISTE CONTRO I MOSTRI  (FIRE MONSTERS AGAINST THE SON OF HERCULES)

Maciste Contro Mostri.jpg
Italy.  Literal Title: “Maciste Versus the Monsters”.  Released in the UK as COLOSSUS OF THE STONE AGE.  Distributed for U.S. TV as FIRE MONSTERS AGAINST THE SON OF HERCULES.

Directed by Guido Malatesta.  Written by Malatesta and Arpad DeRiso.

The Story:  A neolithic village is attacked by a neighboring cave-dwelling tribe that kidnaps all the women as sacrifices to their Moon God.  Enter Maciste (who likes to introduce himself as “Maxus” and probably isn’t actually The Son of Hercules) to save the day.


A couple of caveats with this one.  First, despite the Monsters in the title, it turns out that this movie doesn’t belong on my list at all - there are only three very short scenes with lake lizard-monsters and they have almost nothing to do with the plot.  Second, it’s unfair to judge this movie based on the cropped, really bad print available on YouTube.

An oddity (I’m assuming) for the peplum genre in that it takes place in the Stone Age.  Maciste’s perpetually shirtless character is named Maxus in this version, and he might as well be called Conan as far as the story cares.  Played by former-Mr. Universe Reg Lewis (who I doubt won any acting awards), our wandering hero saves a couple of villagers from a lake monster within thirty seconds of its arrival and then leaves the picture for the next 30 minutes.  We then spend a whole lot of time with the beleaguered villagers as they suffer defeat from the evil cave-dwellers (couldn’t tell if they were called “Droods” or “Druids”) and then fret over both the loss of their women and loss of their only source of fire (shades of QUEST FOR FIRE) until Reg shows up again, bangs two rocks together to create a spark, and says “Here ya go!”.  That problem solved, they set off to rescue the women.  

This was the first film for British ingénue Margaret Lee, and neither she nor the other women in the picture make much of an impression.  We also have two obligatory but completely unnecessary dancing girls scenes.  The dubbing is pretty poor, although much of the dialogue seems to have been filmed in English.  There is a nice recreation of the King Kong log-bridge crossing bit, but the monsters are nothing to write home about and despite being three of them total, are very quickly despatched.

I will relate two amusing scenes relating to the historical sexual mores of the Stone Age, as seen through the imagination of the screenwriters:

In an early wedding scene, the loving bride is told “You will skin his animal hides, prepare his meals, and if you ever disobey him, he may put you to death.”  Followed by the bride batting her eyelashes, smiling reverentially at her groom, and nodding yes.

During the attack on the village, the Cave People (a bad lot, those Moon-worshippers) grab the village women, paw them, and carry them off amid declarations of “Keep your hands off - this one’s mine!”  Later on, they all gather before the Moon God altar in the caves to hear the Priest say, “Prepare all these virgins for sacrifice!”  The looks on the faces of the Cave Warriors upon hearing the news is priceless.

In the next film in the series, Maciste will continue his time-traveling adventures by journeying to Hell itself by way of 17th-century Scotland.  The Gods must truly be crazy.

Watched as noted above in a very poor presentation on YouTube as FIRE MONSTERS AGAINST THE SON OF HERCULES, cropped and dubbed.

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Bob Meyer
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April 17th, 2018, 2:10 am #213

1962 - MACISTE ALL'INFERNO  (MACISTE IN HELL)

Maciste in Hell.jpg
Italy.  Literal Title: “Maciste in Hell".  Released in the U.S. (in an edited-down version) as THE WITCH’S CURSE.

Directed by Riccardo Freda (as “Robert Hampton”).  Written by Oreste Biancoli, Ennio De Concini, Eddy H. Given, and Piero Pierotti.

The Story:  A 17th Century Scottish village is suffering under the curse of a witch burned a hundred years earlier.  Upon the arrival of a young woman who is a descendant of the witch, the villagers put her on trial and condemn her to death.  Enter Maciste, who agrees to journey into the Underworld to find the witch and end the curse.


I had watched this a few weeks ago and came away thinking it was a bad, dumb movie in both plot and execution.  Turns out that I saw the edited version released in the U.S. as THE WITCH’S CURSE, compounded by the very poor, blurry, and cropped print available on YouTube.  Afterward, James Elliot defended the film and posted the link to a version on YouTube that’s complete, widescreen, and very clear.  THANK YOU, JAMES!

Not only is this not a bad movie (although it has its issues), it's actually pretty damned good.  And unlike most of the peplum movies I’ve included on my list, it falls firmly into the Gothic category.  However, it’s a very odd duck and essentially two different stories and genres spliced together.  I don’t know if director Riccardo Freda intended to make a color variation on BLACK SUNDAY but had to retcon it into a Maciste film to secure funding, or if he was commissioned to film a peplum and, laughing up his sleeve, decided to turn it into a Gothic hybrid.  The four writers involved have lots of sword & sandal films on their resumés, and one of them - Ennio De Concini - had co-written the first two smash HERCULES movies and BLACK SUNDAY (and would co-write Bava’s THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, considered to be the first true Giallo, a year later).  If anyone knows more about this film’s production, the World Wants To Know.

The movie starts out as a standard period Gothic.  A witch calls down a curse before being burned alive.  Cut to 100 years later, a malady affecting all the young village lasses, the arrival of a woman who bears the witch’s  name (accompanied by her fiancée) and a village freakout (which Freda allows to go well over-the-top).  Just before the girl is about to be lynched, out of the blue steps…Maciste to the rescue!  This is the weirdest part of the whole movie - up until then, we’ve had a curse, evil signs, a cobwebbed castle (complete with swooping bats), bibles bursting into flame, and a witch trial.  Then…TWENTY minutes into the film…loincloth-clad Maciste suddenly shows up with no explanation and carries the newlyweds to safety.  Upon entering the Underworld to find the witch, the movie drops the Gothic and becomes a full-fledged peplum adventure.

This really threw me the first time I saw it, but knowing this allowed me to say “OK…just roll with it” and enjoy the rest of the flick.  The first two reels of Gothic storyline aren’t all that interesting anyway, although we periodically return to check up on our doomed and worried Scottish lassie awaiting her imminent execution.

Now, Maciste’s adventures in the Underworld in and of themselves aren’t that riveting and are fairly standard - we’ve seen much of this kind of thing before in Bava’s HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD.  The special effects aren’t all that convincing in most (but not all) cases and mostly consist of our hero battling various dangerous animals, fighting through fire and devious traps, etc., although there’s an inventive battle with a Giant that’s well done.  Kirk Morris plays Maciste after two previous outings in the role, and he’s earnest enough and not bad, but has more the physique of a home-run hitter than a huge bodybuilder, which makes a lot of his feats of strength much less than convincing.  The gorgeous Hélène Chanel shows up to help Maciste on his journey, which is a big plus.  None of the other actors make much of an impression.

What IS impressive is the setting for Freda’s Underworld set-pieces: the Caves of Castellana.  This looks to be a huge underground complex located in southern Italy with a completely alien atmosphere, highlighted by Freda’s use of Bava-esque (or should it be “Freda-esque”?) colored lighting schemes.  He uses them to great effect and it boggles the mind to think that he filmed so many fire and brimstone scenes in such a closed environment.  Again, if anyone knows the details of the production history, speak out.  Freda’s Underworld is a mix of Greek legend and Dante’s Inferno, and our introduction to it is epically impressive, resembling a painting by Bosch or Bruegel.

In the end, of course, Maciste saves the day, returns to Scotland, and rides off into the sunset.  There is still no explanation given for his arrival, and the villagers never ask or comment on just who he is or why he’s dressed like an ancient Greek wrestler.  FIN.

In my previous viewing of THE WITCH’S CURSE, which is about 15 minutes shorter than the original, the awful YouTube print completely obscured the marvelous scenery and cinematography, and somehow made the special effects look less convincing than they actually are.  I’m beginning to question my decision to only rely on readily available prints for these films, but don’t really want to dive into the grey-market waters at this point.  I’ll have to think more on that.  

Anyway, many thanks again to James for pointing me to this YouTube version.  In posting the initial lists for future years as I go along, I might include the available sources I’ve found in case anyone has knowledge of better legal sources and wants to point them out.  This YouTube print runs about 4 minutes shorter than the running time given on the IMDB, which could be due to an original sped-up PAL source, I suppose.  It’s widescreen and looks very good.  It’s a Spanish-language dub (not Italian) with subtitles.  Recommended.

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Jameselliot
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April 17th, 2018, 2:31 am #214

Before Netflix went 100% streaming, I rented all kinds of genre films on DVD. Many of the gialli, pepla, Japanese gangster movies, Italian horror and others I missed were available. Not having to buy them outright just to see them saved a lot of money. I tried Blockbuster also but they didn't stock the hard to find foreign films Netflix did. Most of the movies on YouTube are such bad quality I don't know why the uploaders bother.
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Jameselliot
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April 17th, 2018, 2:39 am #215

Bob Meyer wrote:
Jameselliot wrote: I thought Von Klaus was sluggish and slow-going. Both Orlof and Dr. Z are loaded with the qualities this film lacks. This one, sandwiched between those classics, is a well-made, beautifully shot production (excellent master shots are plentiful), a major difference from the schmutz Jess would make in the late 70s and 80s. Yet nothing happens  of the talky British films of those years. At times, the music doesn't reflect what's happening on screen, especially at the end. The takeaway from Von Klaus belongs to Argentinian actress and vedette Gogo Rojo. After Gogo's "scandalous" pivotal scene, the film grinds to a halt.
I'm probably a bit of an oddity in that I don't mind talky films with little action if I'm enjoying the story.  I generally tend to enjoy any movie (especially older ones) if it's not incompetent and doesn't insult my intelligence (or even if it does, if it's atmospheric or just plain fun).  I'm easily entertained, and these posts don't necessarily reflect whether the movies are actually good, just that I (a very nostalgic and very easily entertained individual) did or did not enjoy the movie at hand.  On the flip side, the recent Star Wars films bored me to tears...although I hold big modern movies to a much higher and perhaps unfair standard.

You're right about Von Klaus grinding to a halt once we lose Gogó Rojo, though.  She's genuinely charming in this film.
I stopped watching Star Wars after Return of the Jedi. Without the Ewoks, the heart and soul of SW was ripped out. Just kidding. But I did stop watching after the first trilogy. 
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Kelg
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Kelg
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April 17th, 2018, 9:39 pm #216

I think I am forgiving of old foreign language movies, even badly made ones because they are old-so there is a respectability they get for being ancient. Or I recognize they did the most with what they had.
With newer movies that have a high budget I am more critical because they have much more resources, although there is also a bias I admit because they are new, one can be more dismissive.

Maybe in 20 years I may look at new movies in a different light but I don't find watch many movies from the 1990s as much as movies from a decade  or two or three before that. The plots just don't interest me as much the closer we get to the present.


I had a bunch of peplum films a while ago (I was researching films set in the desert for a film experiment) and Kirk Morris turned up quite often wandering about in the desert. lol

 Just like with castles and Euro gothic films on the cheap, you can't beat those peplums for moody desert locations!
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Bob Meyer
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April 18th, 2018, 1:12 am #217

Jameselliot wrote: Before Netflix went 100% streaming, I rented all kinds of genre films on DVD. Many of the gialli, pepla, Japanese gangster movies, Italian horror and others I missed were available. Not having to buy them outright just to see them saved a lot of money. I tried Blockbuster also but they didn't stock the hard to find foreign films Netflix did. Most of the movies on YouTube are such bad quality I don't know why the uploaders bother.
Yeah, after 15+ years of Netflix DVD, I signed up for streaming last Fall.  I'd been reading about all the obscure movies folks were watching on Netflix but turns out I signed up just after they dumped all their vintage stuff for "Original Content".  I like enough of it to keep the service, and now it seems all the vintage stuff has moved over to Amazon, so it would be a wash except for the Amazon rental fees (which aren't that bad, but still...).  Most YouTube movies are way too compressed, but some do look amazing - DVD quality.
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Bob Meyer
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April 18th, 2018, 1:22 am #218

Kelg wrote: I think I am forgiving of old foreign language movies, even badly made ones because they are old-so there is a respectability they get for being ancient. Or I recognize they did the most with what they had.
With newer movies that have a high budget I am more critical because they have much more resources, although there is also a bias I admit because they are new, one can be more dismissive.
With older movies, I seem to naturally apply not a "suspension of disbelief" but a kind of similar "suspension of time" mindset.  Looking at these as fresh, from the perspective of audiences at the time without the baggage of the decades of movies that followed that either treaded old ground or brought something new.  When I was a kid, I immersed myself in movies of the 30s and 40s and even the silent era, but didn't bother with catalogue titles from the 50s and 60s - I kind of dismissed them, in fact.  Which is what makes the 50s and 60s so much fun to explore now.  Plus, I guess, the nostalgia factor, as you say.  These movies are a lot more removed in time now, in the 2010s, than they were in the 70s and 80s!
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Bob Meyer
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April 18th, 2018, 2:45 am #219

1962 - MONDO CANE

Mondo Cane.jpg
Italy.  Documentary.  Literal Title: “A Dog’s Life”.  Directed Paolo Cavara, Gualtiero Jacopetti, and Franco Prosperi.  Written by Cavara and Jacopetti.

The Story:  No story here, just an assembly of 30+ documentary segments concerning the bizarre, the banal, and several acts of bloody violence from around the world.


This journey of mine has taken some detours off the strict path of horrors and thrillers to explore in some ways the context in which they were experienced by contemporary audiences.  This movie strays further than most.  Many, many times over the years I’ve come across the title MONDO CANE in conversation (occasionally) and in print (more frequently) but had never actually seen it until now.  My uninformed impression had been that it was just an exploitative “shockumentary” showing animals being killed in a variety of ways, the inspiration for the unseemly (and from the little I’ve seen, un-entertaining and off-putting) likes of “Faces of Death”.  And an argument could be made that it’s exactly that and little more.  However, I’ll argue that it is more than just that and worth watching, provided the viewer knows what they’re signing up for and isn’t squeamish about having to witness very real violence and death.

Not to say that this is a must-see.  Having seen it, I have no desire to watch it again, but it does have a point of view and a vague message: We have met the Monsters and the Monsters are Us.  Also, the cinematography is absolutely beautiful.

There are images that will make anyone wince and turn away - huge pigs being bludgeoned to death, snakes being skinned, geese being force-fed, turtles struggling with their last breaths trying to get back to the sea, bulls being decapitated, etc.  But none of these things have been staged for the camera - they are documented as they occurred in daily life in New Guinea, New York, Strassbourg, Singapore, and other destinations near and far.

What is truly fascinating is the equal time given to observing humans in “their natural environment” circa 1960.  We see people in Malaysia living as though it was still 5000 B.C. or watching jets fly over their “cargo cult” bamboo replicas of airplanes.  Tourists in Honolulu watching a hula parade.  The “running of the bulls” festival in Portugal.  A legion of Australian girls practicing their lifeguard skills on the beach.  Cars being crushed in an automobile graveyard.  A pretentious art exhibit in Czechoslovakia.  A death house in China with relatives feasting in the nearby restaurants.

The film is obviously meant to shock (and I can only imagine watching it with an unsuspecting audience in 1962), but it offers in a traditional travelogue format a somewhat wry commentary on the absurdity and cruelty of human behavior, along with a contrast between the Haves and Have-Nots and a look at the consequences of the atomic tests at Bikini.  It’s also cynical but typical for the time by providing interludes featuring actual bikinis and lovely girls on boats and beaches.  Oddly, it goes out of its way to portray the Germans and Chinese in a bad light, but is overall sympathetic (although somewhat condescending) toward the regular people living in “exotic” locations.  A very strange film.

If I had seen this via a bad VHS copy or YouTube print, I wouldn’t have been much engaged at all, probably, but the version available on Amazon streaming (free for Prime members) is amazing.  As I wrote above, it’s unbelievably beautiful - Blu-ray quality, with a pristine print and very, very vivid color. 

It’s not for everyone, and I can’t even recommend it, but it is interesting and did make a splash amid the more commercial offerings of 1962.
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Kelg
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Kelg
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April 18th, 2018, 5:50 am #220

Bob Meyer wrote: 1962 - MACISTE ALL'INFERNO  (MACISTE IN HELL)







What IS impressive is the setting for Freda’s Underworld set-pieces: the Caves of Castellana.  This looks to be a huge underground complex located in southern Italy with a completely alien atmosphere, highlighted by Freda’s use of Bava-esque (or should it be “Freda-esque”?) colored lighting schemes.  He uses them to great effect and it boggles the mind to think that he filmed so many fire and brimstone scenes in such a closed environment.  Again, if anyone knows the details of the production history, speak out. 
I had this one for a while but sat on it, but thanks to your review decided to check it out.
I agree heartily about the caves  and Chanel.
I wonder how it feels to have all those papier mache boulders dropped on your head.

The genre-mixing reminds me of a bizarro Italian western I watched a while ago: HERCULES AND THE  TREASURE OF THE INCAS.  https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058543
Doesn't appear to be any reviews of it--maybe I should put my own on there...lol
It was one part western, one part muscle man adventure, and one part lost tribe movie.
It starts with the hero rescuing an old Indian man from being abused in a western town and ends with the same hero helping to destroy the Incan civilization.
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