A bit of history:

Raymond Chow‘s film company Golden Harvest hit it big in the early 70’s when they discovered a certain up and coming star called Lei Siu Long aka  Bruce Lee . Their mega-fruitful collaboration hit it’s stride with Lee and Chow even forming their own partnership/ production house Concord Prouction Inc. (each owning 50%)  Way of the Dragon was a product of that collaboration, as was  Warner Bros. cooperation- Enter The Dragon. Unfortunately Lee died before the world premiere of Enter The Dragon and Golden Harvest lost it’s biggest star way too soon.

Of course Golden Harvest  would find continued success in decades to come, skyrocketing the career of Jackie Chan in the 80’s and making popular TMNT films (together with New Line Cinema). But in that strange place between Lee and Chan they continued to produce films to different varies of success.

One of those was Lo Wei’s Slaughter In San Francisco, there to fulfill Chuck Norris‘s contract, he signed on two films when he made Way of the Dragon. Now, another famous name that had a (three) picture deal was non other than one- off Bond from Australia, George Lazenby!

Now, on Bruce’s insistence Lazenby was signed on a three picture deal. First of the films was to be Shrine of Eternal Bliss aka Stoner, the movie he was ready to make with Lee and Japanese Karate movie sensation Sonny Chiba but Lee died and Chiba dropped out soon afterword. Warner Bros. co- production money was also gone and with it’s budget severely cut Lazenby was promoted to a star.

Lazenby as the Detective Stoner, investigating a new and deadly drug! I’m still not sure if that’s the best or a worst name for a character.

 

With all the controversy surrounding  it movie was still a minor success in both Hong Kong and Europe and the Golden Harvest collaboration continued.  Next up was a unique co-production too, joint effort between Chow’s Golden Harvest and The Movie Company from Lazenby‘s native country of Australia (even thou he was being demoted to a villain) and the film was called: Man from Hong Kong aka Dragon Flies!  That was right in the middle of both Hong Kong movie boom and Australian New Wave of films so as expected the result was seriously  bizarre mix of Hong Kong action and Aussie craziness and has to be seen to be believed. Still we will try to help you out  and pinpoint some of the most entertaining bits (and there’s a lot of those).

 

Movie starts with an Aussie journalist visiting Hong Kong– by a glider  of all things! I’m just going to assume she came from Australia to Hong Kong by a glider ’cause that’s just perfect.  She almost gets arrested by Jimmy Wang Yu ( One-Armed Swordsman, The Chinese Boxer) but he decides to show her what’s so special about special units anyway- in bed!

riba i kinez slika

In the meantime very suspicious (and suspiciously scarred) Sammo Hung (Enter The Dragon, My Lucky Stars, Ip Man2 ) in the bus. Hardened Aussie detective… goes after him and after a bit of a chase  and a bit of a brawl too  manages to arrest him.

Shortly after Wang Yu arrives in Australia to continue with the (you guessed it) Sammo Hung case. That means he will interrogate good ol’ Sammo– and by interrogating I mean beating him into submission. I guess Chinese people  don’t believe in human rights.  And just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse for Sammo a mysterious  assassins shots him (to prevent his from testifying I guess).

Wang Yu starts chasing him  and after a crazy pursuit they end up in the middle of a Chinese restaurant of all places!!!

We finally see the evil boss of crime and it’s (of course) non other that George Lazenby with a porno mustache to boot! He went from a Bond to a Bond villain, and it suits him well in fact. Yu contacts the journalist from the beginning of the movie– turns out the glider was borrowed from her boyfriends, she’s a bit of a slut that way.  Anyway, she takes him to the high class party where he meets Lazenby face to face.

 Did he just accuse Wong Yu that he’s yellow? That’s maybe taking it to far
And surprisingly he finds information that the main center of the villains is the local Martial Arts Center. So he breaks into in, climbing the but it turns out the center was not so empty as he thought.  Massive showdown ensues in Martial Arts Center and continues climbing on another level against seemingly endless number of attackers.

Of course- despite all his mastery he gets severely beaten and cut , and half dead barely manages to jump onto the first car shows up in front of the center. The Chinese lady co- driver hilariously proclaims “He is a good man, we must help him” even though she never saw him before.
 kineskinja slika
They do the only  logical thing and that’s drag him to somebody who can patch him up- it turns out to be the girl’s father- veterinarian! Man, I’m starting to understand why Yu hated everyone and everything on the set.
 kineske oci she thinks this is cute
While naively returning from the picnic ( and the obligatory picnic sex) Lazenby‘s gang attacks their car and his lady dies in a horrible explosion and he vows to get his revenge. Man,  that’s a bit excessive, he  didn’t even know her two days go!

So he does the only logical thing, borrows the glider from the journalist and uses it to break into his office by climbing down the pipes. He finds the office almost straight away and even though Lazenby is ready he is not ready for the rage of the dragon.  He manages to light him on fire and still keeps beating him ,  man- Wang Yu has no mercy at all!  And then he slips a bomb into his mouth!
The detectives wait for him outside and although grumpy at first  laugh with him at the explosion of the whole building floor and all the death that entails! Man, you get this sort of stuff only in the 70’s!

Trivia: The Man from Hong Kong was one of the subjects of highly entertaining documentary on Aussie cinematography: Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! It’s especially interesting seeing some behind the scenes like the power-strugle between the director Brian Trenchard-Smith and main actor Wang Yu who mostly wanted to direct everything himself, and his open disdain for white actresses he filmed love scenes with was definitely a bit unexpected.

 

Add to that and extremely hyped Quentin Tarantino who obviously enjoyed the movie immensely when he was about 10 years old.

Also, it’s important to note  Umbrella Entertainment did a fine job of re- releasing the movie on BluRay in 2016, remastering it to 1080P HD, so if you ever want to check out the movie in best possible quality, you can order it here.

 

You remember those songs from ’80s? Most of the are alike. Well, you might also remember that if you play any two songs from the same album (or most of the hits from that era) at the same time, you’ll see they have the exact same structure, with the chorus kicking in at precisely the same time and clock in at just about the exact same length. I thought about that while watching Final Exam, because I am pretty sure one could superimpose the film over Halloween and come away with a similar result.

We get one of slashers clichés at the very beginning. Young couple is making out on the backseat of the car somewhere in the dark campus parking lot. Or at least guy tries to make out while girl is claiming she is too classy to do it in the car. After a bit more convincing she accepts to do it there (of course she would). But no luck for the guy. Some jerk cuts through the roof on his car with knife, pulls him out and slashes him. Then the moment spoiling dude comes back to finish his job on screaming girl. You had your chance, slut!

Death to libido

The next scene takes us to Lanier College. We see young Courtney (played by Cecile Bagdadi) talking to her classmate Mark (played by John Fallon) about chemistry tests. Now, during the “character development” phase of the film, we are treated to at least 12 slams on chemistry’s purpose in real life, to the point where it’s almost mean-spirited. My guess? Screenwriter/director Jimmy Huston failed chemistry in college or high school, and wrote a slasher film around it. Anyway, that’s when they are approached by unfortunately named nerdy guy Radish (played by Joel S. Rice), who very much resembles Screech character from “Saved by the bell” series. Radish informs them about murdered couple on other college. Then suddenly there is a terrorist’s attack on campus. They are shooting students randomly and take corpses into the van, before they drove away. It turns out to be a prank by Gama fraternity. Everyone noticed that but Radish and some dumb girl. Radish, still under the influence of recent murders, calls out the sheriff. Of course, he made a complete ass out of himself in front of sheriff (played by Sam Kilman) and entire school. On the other side, fraternity is celebrating successful prank. We get here real overdose of peasant faces. First among them is a school jock Wildman (played by Ralph Brown). Wildman talked frat pledge Gary (played by Terry W. Farren) into stealing chemistry tests. He says he doesn’t want to study (well surprise, surprise). Poor Gary actually managed to sneak that night and steal tests. On his way out he gets intercepted by the rest of the fraternity. They take him out (notice here it is a broad daylight; it was past 9pm and pretty much dark when they intercepted him), strip him almost naked and tie to the tree in front of the college. As it wasn’t enough already they sprayed confused and terrified Gary with cream, poured bourbon into his underpants and left him tied to the tree. And all of that as a part of initiation to the fraternity. I wish them death.

Another backdoor initiation

I’ll have you notice that we are at almost one hour of the movie length and yet no murders are to be seen. I really don’t see the point of such vast character development when it is clear they are going to die anyway. Also, nerdy and slutty girls conversations are pointless as well. Anyway, all of that is going to change soon. The killer has decided to show himself. And who would be better practice target than sitting duck Gary? Naive Gary stayed tied to the tree until the night (or is it the same night). There killer finds him, cuts him loose and butchers him. I guess he didn’t want to damage tree bark. Meanwhile, Wildman went to the school gym to get some pills for the fraternity. He meets the same fate as Gary (and that also include Gary’s girlfriend Janet (played by Sherry Willis – Burch) who went after him). Hm I can’t decide if this is poetical justice or just the old rule which states that everyone are treated equally in the brotherhood.

 

Mark decides to check out what took Wildman so long. He finds only death in the utility room. The next one Radish. It seems that everyone who comes at school gym dies instantly. Radish finds bodies and manages to escape. Then he calls a police again but this time they wouldn’t believe him (remember a boy who cried “wolf”?). So the only thing left to him was to get killed by through the doors. Courtney finds him but she is too dumb to realize Radish is dead (yeah, all that blood, broken doors and cracked skull are sending mixed signals).

You failed exam!

With death of slutty Lisa (played by Deanna Robbins), who slept with teachers for a good grade, the only one remained alive is Courtney. Killer (played by Timothy Raynor) chases her through the entire school, in more or less slasher cliché chase fashion, until the top floor. There some random hunter shows up at the bottom of the stairs and shoots an arrow in killer’s direction. Killer, whose face can be clearly seen now but we still don’t have any idea who is he actually, catches flying arrow with his hand and then use it to kill hunter. Courtney takes the opportunity to stab the killer, push him down from the stairs and finish him with more stabbing. Then she goes out to cry. The End

 

Conclusion: The most hilarious thing about the movie is that the killer makes Michael Myers look like the most complex killer in slasher history. While his motives were unclear, he at least had a name and a mask. This guy doesn’t even have that. He’s just some guy with an Anton Chigurh haircut. No mask, no name, and certainly no motive. In a way it’s kind of admirable that at the time the film came out , when everyone was trying to make its own memorable slasher, the Final Exam team couldn’t even be bothered to give the guy a paper bag. Remember what I wrote earlier about chemistry bashing? Well it seems that the director was so focused on chemistry bashing that he forgot to provide his killer with any sort of… well, anything. Besides that, i don’t have anything more to say about this slasher attempt. It is so dull with brief moments of lucidity. And it doesn’t even have nudity!

First prize is… DEATH! Second one too.

 

Now, as we all know the  best thing about the 80’s is the fact that they were flooded with slasher movies ever since the surprise success of the first John Carpenter’s Halloween. In the sea of Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees and Freddy Kruger movies there were naturally a few oddballs like: The Prowler, Silent Night, Deadly Night, The Funhouse and Hell Night  but then you have something like the Fatal Games– a movie that is a unholy union of a coming of age sport drama and a slasher. You know you’ll get something special  with that concept.

Falcon Academy of Athletics that prides itself in producing and nurturing an Olympic– level talent in a number of sports. And it couldn’t be more confusing when the movies starts with a super- motivating 80’s music. You want to jog or lift weights right away.

Shuki Levy feat. Deborah SheltonFatal Games

Just listen to this shit!

After a super- boring speech and some gratitous nudity we get to the  first and best kill of the movie. The weightlifting girl is overjoyed and in the middle of impressive military  press  when she gets impaled almost super-humanly to the wall.

Those leg warmers didn’t help you, did they?

 

That’s a really unique way to kill a person, very different from the usual close range attack of other Slashers. And the strange thing is the killer keeps prowling around and bodies keep piling up yet nobody seems to notice.  Then we have the nurse complains about the Doctor shooting too much steroids into kids. The “good” doctor doesn’t seem fazed by it, he insist they must go on– man,  he must be some cousin of Dr. Mengele. Most of the kids continue to train not suspecting anything but javelin thrower seems suspiciously mad.

Trivia: this lady received a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Oscar in ’87 surprisingly  not for this performance

 

Nurse begrudgingly accept and continues working with students, which also consists of giving butt massages.  Also she casually informs Annie of the new program for her- retardation injection!!! That’s because the Dr. is concerned with her developing a bust– go figure. Man, even steroids are great compared to this.


They finally realized that the weightlifting chick is missing, a black girl too… It took them long enough to finally call the cops but  cops don’t actually manage to do anything. Parties and highschool drama continue, including  but not limited to a stupid blonde loosing track and field (and crying to her lesbian- looking coach) , and Annie reacting horribly to the retardation drugs. I wonder why?

Also Annie’s boyfriend menages to break a leg- literally and epically and seemingly gets out of the competition. Maybe this will save his life?

He really did…

Back on the field  for some reason the javelin thrower is still pissed as fuck. Unfortunately it doesn’t get better for him, ’cause he ends up stabbed himself. Not too long ago he was throwing the javelin but now he ends up meeting his maker because of it, how ironic.

I’d really like to know how they filmed this. It shoots so straight.

And the javelin killer keeps keeping on. Now instead of shooting the swimmer from the edge of the pool (some of the tribal people still catch fish like that) it turns out the killer is in the pool, squba-suit and all. And he stabs her from the floor up. Ok, I wasn’t expecting this.

smrt plivacice

Boyfriend turns out to be super dedicated, he actually climbed trough the window with the cast on his leg! He even managed to find bunch of the murder victims neatly packed in the student’s lockers.  But javelin killer doesn’t show mercy- ever- it  even killed the crippled guy! I don’t think I ever felt sorry for the slasher victim in my life.

Annie survives attack and ends up the school’s infirmary. Then it turns out that the real identity of the killer is- the school nurse!  Man, Annie can’t catch a break! Now the explanation, the nurse was originally- a male nurse . She was disqualified from the Olympic game after her sex- change operation became public. Wow, I would have never guessed this.

She just left this laying around…

The chase continued and now her voice turned deep, like super- John Earl Jones deep, how does she do that? I mean she’s taking hormones she’s not possed by a deamon, right? Amy tries to escape by climbing onto the construction but nurse waits for her at the top. Unfortunately for her Ammie  pushes her and she goes straight down… right onto the trophy-well,  she finally got what she wanted!

Lesson of this movie is: always do the best you can because if you do the best you can- you’ll get impaled on the javelin. So, I guess- never try.

 

 

 

 

The movie formerly know as Star Warfare Rangers and the Cyborg Witch of Endor, now Interstellar Civil War (that Pyun fellow has a way with words) is finally nearing it’s release date.

Despite his ongoing health issues over the last couple of years Albert Pyun managed to finish his 54th film, a crazy mix of Star Wars, Dune, Cyborg, Mad Max and his trademark Kickboxing action with a help of excellent cinematographer Michael Su and a score by his long time collaborator Tony Rippareti. I’ll always have a soft spot for Pyun trademark Cyborg/ Kickboxing action and I hope this could be a bit of return to form of our old favorite.

 

 It stars Brad Thornton, Ellie Church, Kelsey Carlisle, Paul Gunn, Clare Hoak, Tommie Vegas, Jennie Carroll, Ashley Campbell, Nathan Ferrier, Nick Rush, Fulvia Santoni and Cat Cakmis as Leah C6 and you can enjoy the new extended trailer right here!

Well, well, well, if it isn’t our old friend Tobe Hooper. After watching Invaders From Mars I thought his directing couldn’t go any lower. Boy I was wrong. Sure there are many people who claim Tobe is capable director but we can’t take their opinion for serious because they most probably had suffered brain damage or are having any other mental disability. So trust my words: He ain’t good.

As you already can see Tobe Hooper’s latest fiasco is a work of nonsense called Spontaneous Combustion. As the film opens, a typical 50s couple is being used in government experiments involving a serum that may or may not immunize the human body against the effects of radiation. The couple is exposed to an hydrogen bomb explosion (which is displayed with archive footage), then monitored to observe the effects of the drug. It seems to have worked, and – except for one complication (the woman has become pregnant) – the experiment is called a success. The child is born bearing a odd birthmark on his hand. Something like stigmata. Nevertheless, parents are as happy as a clam. That will change soon when they burn to death after nurse took their baby (named David). The deaths – in which a mysterious man named Orlander (played by William Prince) seems to be involved – are declared the result of spontaneous human combustion.Furthermore Orlander seems to be happy about poor people’s fate and doesn’t hesitates to show everyone how much he is thrilled with it.

Could it ever been the more evil scientist than this man?

Now we are shifted to the present day (whichever that might be). We see young drama teacher Sam (played by Brad Dourif) who bears the same birthmark as a baby. Sam has been divorced for 2 years and now he found new love Lisa (played by Cynthia Bain). All is going relatively normal until he receives an
anonymous package in which he finds an old watch. After that, things are starting getting strange. Sam’s finger lights like a match, things around start to burn with no apparent reason and he even shoots poorly drawn lighting from his palm. Also, while looking at fire, he gets flashbacks to his childhood and parents. By now, even the dumbest among you could realize that Sam is actually baby David.

Firm handshake

Sam realizes that something is very wrong when two of the people he recently had contact with burned to death while they were alone at home. He decides to call parapsychologist who is holding his regular radio show. Parapsychologist sensed something and hung up the phone in fear. Sam really went mad about this so he engaged in debate with one of the radio station workers (played by John Landis). As you can guess, debate ended up with young John Landis burned to death while eating a sandwich. Keep in mind that they are talking over the phone. No physical contact whatsoever. Also, we found out that mark on Sam’s hand is used to produce fire. Pretty handy when you want to light a cigarette.

 

It turns out that Lisa was sent by Orlander to get closer to Sam on purpose. Her parents burned to death as well and Orlander was one who raised her. To get to the bottom of this Sam visits nurse Nina (played by Melinda Dillon) from atomic shelter who was holding him when he burned his parents to death. There she explains to him that the point of the experiment never was testing atomic shelter but anti-radiation drugs instead. Sam finally is starting to see connection between mysterious Lew Orlander with everything that is happening. Orlander also presented himself as a grandfather of Sam’s ex-wife Rachel (played by. It seems that experiment never was over so Orlander wanted to keep his eyes on events. Anyway, the moment after Sam had departed, Orlander’s errand boy Dr. Marsh (played by John Cypher) came in and killed Nina. I understand that tracks need to be covered, but why now after so many years?

There are sparkles between them

Sam now suspects everyone to be a part of project “Samson”. He raged at Lisa over the phone which had a flaming arm coming out of mirror for result. Also Lisa started to burn people around. Sam confronts Orlander (a government contractor for nuclear shelters) who explained to him that every moment of his life was planned by Orlander himself in order to create the cleanest killing system on the Earth (it doesn’t look like that to me keeping in mind in what state is Sam now). OF course, Sam wasn’t satisfied with explanation so he burned Orlander to death.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the hottest of them all

Rachel is after Lisa to finish the job. Lisa ignites herself after killing Dr. Marsh while Rachel tries to finish her off with fire extinguisher (?!). But Sam comes to the rescue and that’s when all the hell breaks loose. Awful special effects are coming one after another until Sam disintegrates in a manner of alien abduction. Since picture speaks 1000 words (and video even more) I’ll leave it up to you to make any sense out of ending scene.

 

Conclusion: Spontaneous Combustion is a very sad horror effort. The whole thing is just ludicrous, from the awful acting to the laughable FX to the stupid plot. Brad Dourif absolutely sucked as the lead and all the supporting cast were only marginally worse. Scenes of death are repetitive. It would seem that Hooper wanted to make his own version of films such as Scanners and Firestarter and so we end up with a film with a couple of good ideas and a whole load more that are borrowed from other films. Put it all together and you get a messy, boring film that most people would do well to miss!

Trivia: Recently the world was shaken by the news that Tobe Hooper had been beaten up by his 38 years younger girlfriend Rebecca. Now, I don’t know the exact reason for it, but if, by any chance, movies such as this one or The Mangler were the reason for Rebecca to punch his old face, then you girl have our full
support!

We spoke about the “Expendables of Horroraka Death House almost a year ago when principal photography was finished but now we finally have the first trailer (and the early release date too).

Death House staring genre luminaries like Kane Hodder, Gunnar Hensen, Barbara Crampton, Michael Berryman, Bill Moseley, Tony Todd, Wernon Wells, Sid Heig, and the talented Billy Oberst Jr. will be screened for the first time June 3rd at Scare-A-Con New England. So if you’re into that sort of thing (and you probably are if you’re a WM reader) you know the place to go.

Now enjoy!

We live in the age of revivals which means we’re getting all the things we miss from our childhood: from The X-Files all the way to Twin Peaks. Now, unfortunately sometimes we get things back that we didn’t even want in the first place– but that’s life.

If you remember in the 90’s we were treated with mystical story of Shaq’a Kung Fu badassery (partially true, he did train with Billy Blanks ). The game was met with universal disdain, people cited  horrible controls, stock characters, and  non- creative backgrounds and today it’s firmly in Top 10 of the Worse games of all times. But now, more than 20 years later after a stealthy IndieGogo campaign in ’15 a new improved version of Shaq Fu, Shaq Fu: Legend Reborn is finally coming out on Nintendo Switch !!! Shaq even did all the motion caption himself.

 

“I’ve got nothing better to do…”

Now with this maybe we can even see the revival of Shaq’s movie career too, I mean he did bless us with hits like Steel, Blue Chips and Kazaam. In the meantime here’s a cool trailer for the game: