For some reason lives of the cult B-movie actors tend to be shrouded in mystery. Often it takes years of investigation just to track them down and get them to do even a simple interview.  On the other hand I would say that it’s almost always worth it. From the ongoing search for “Trash” Mark Gregory to the “Samurai Cop”Matt Hannon aka Karedas seemingly coming back from the dead the search is as fascinating as the people themselves.

Now, after decades of questions we finally have a teaser trailer for the Scott Pearlman‘s documentary Finding Freeman. Documentary is to be included in future Shout Factory re- release of Silent Nigh, Deadly Night 2 and we can’t wait!

Synopsis:

“In 1987, a young actor named Eric Freeman starred in one of the most infamous films ever made, “Silent Night Deadly Night Part 2.” His loveably over-the-top performance made him a cult sensation, and the advent of YouTube turned him into a phenomenon. Scenes of his raucous performance have garnered millions of views, while hundreds of parody videos and memes were created in his honor.

Over the years, Eric’s face would be adorned on t-shirts and a fanbase was growing by the day. There was just one problem: Eric had vanished off the face of the Earth. With an acting career that came to a screeching halt in 1992, and no social media presence or digital footprint to boot, Eric Freeman the person had been erased from public consciousness. All that remained was his alter ego, Ricky Caldwell from “Silent Night Deadly Night Part 2.” With his whereabouts a complete mystery, fans got curious.

In 2008, a small group of fans from different corners of the globe banded together to create Finding Freeman, a Facebook page dedicated to tracking down the elusive actor. They searched diligently for five years, and when Eric finally resurfaced, the real story began.

Finding Freeman is a new documentary that examines the effects of fandom in the digital age, and how technology has the power to preserve the past, and change lives.”

http://www.findingfreeman.tv/

Note: If you want to check out some more moves staring Freeman (often under an assumed name), you can find our reviews of some rare ones like Armin Shervan’s Young Rebels (1989), Murder Weapon (1989) and Bloody Birthday (1981).

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If you know your MOTU history you’ll remember that Cannon Films planed to follow up their Masters of the Universe (1987) movie (featuring the all- powerful Dolph Lundgren in his first lead role) with a direct sequel. Hell, the movie even had a post- credit scene with Skeletor surviving to advertise it, and it the 80’s that really wasn’t a common practice.

Masters of the Universe 2: Cyborg was to be written and directed by the Cannon regular, Albert Pyun and filmed concurrently with Canon’s never produced Spider-Man movie (but that’s the story for another time).  Dolph supposedly moved on with his career by this point and was to be replaced by a popular surfer Laird Hamilton. The project supposedly fell trough when Cannon wouldn’t pay Mattel and unused sets and costumes were repurposed for a new low- budget SF- Action movie called, you guessed it- Cyborg

Now, Cyborg was originally going to feature tried and true Cannon star Chuck Norris but he was replaced at the last minute by then young and upcoming Jean Claude Van Damme and as they say- the rest is history! For the record I still consider Cyborg the best movie Pyun ever directed and an early Van Damme favorite too.

Now, we’ve talked about Pyun’s Bad Ass Angels and Demons, his most ambitious movie in decades before. But now thanks to the Alan Pirie, the designer working on the movie we have a confirmation that Bad Ass Angels is actually based on unused script for The Masters of the Universe 2: Requiem! This is something I never thought possible- it’s feels like Cannon is finally coming out of the ashes like a phoenix and I for one couldn’t be more happier.

 

 

“Rock’s chosen warriors will rule the apocalypse!”

Eddie “Ragman” Weinbauer is a pathetic highschooler obsessed with the controversial shock- rock star Sammi Curr (basically Marilyn Manson before Marilyn Manson). Almost as soon as we get to know him Eddie is stricken with grief. News reports that his idol Curr has suddenly died. His friend the radio DJ Nuke (Gene Simmons) gives him a copy of Curr’s last recording on acetate record. He plans to play that same album on Halloween’s eve, in midnight, so Eddie has a chance to hear it before anyone else.

Predictably he gets bullied at school, in fact this time they throw him in a female locker room naked. Cute girl… does get friendly with him afterwords so I guess it wasn’t all a loss.In fact she asks him to come to the pool party that same nigh. Predictably he gets thrown into that same pool by bullies and even thou the girl jump in to save him he is still pissed at everybody.

After that ordeal Eddie falls asleep listening to the Curr’s final record and dreams of him performing some kind of crazy satanic ceremony. He wakes up to the weird skipping of the record and tries to play it backwords expecting some king of hidden message. Well, he gets more than he bargained for!

He heeds the message and tomorrow in the cafeteria  stands up to bullies and as they chase him the number of strange accidents befall them.

Eddie continues playing the record back and now it’s becoming obvious that Curr is in fact speaking to him from beyond the grave. Bullies try to corner him again in tool shed but they almost get killed by the machines. Even the girl of one of those ends up in the hospital. His mother finally figures out his record collection is EVIL even thou he was collecting it for years.

I also love the fact that the girl doing her damnedest to hook up with him but he’s being too full of himself to even notice. Finally realizing Curr’s power is too strong  and he can’t control it Eddie tries to run away from him but Curr can’t be controlled.  Stereo starts working all by itself and after soda spills on the record and creates an electrical surge  that gives him energy to fully cross over to our world!

 

Notice the Preacher Ozzy in the background.

Afraid he tasked his dorky Jewish friend with destroying the tape. Unfortunately curiosity got the better of him and he played it- Curr shows up like Shocker from the TV.
Curr forces him to take the tape to the school dance. As you imagine nothing good comes out of it.  Curr shows up (from the amp?) and starts rocking the place. That includes disintegrating people with lighting coming out of his guitar. I am not shitting you!

Eddie and his girl realize that the only way to stop them is to prevent the radio station from playing his record at midnight.  He tries to stop them with his electricity and Ragman ends up in water with his car but in the end the only remaining tape is destroy and with it his power.

Verdict: Movie is pure 80s cheese so if you’re into that kind of a stuff, you came to the right place. And soundtrack/ music from Fastway ( featuring “Fast” Eddie Clarke of Motorhead) complements that atmosphere rather well.

Trivia: And I would be remiss it I didn’t point out beautiful irony of having Ozzy Osbourne cameoing as a TV-evangelist/ moral crusader and he does a damn good job! Not something you would expect from the Prince of Darkness.

If you’re child of the 80’s like we are you’ll probably remember seemingly endless stream of Ninja movies staring mustachioed white ninja called Gordon on the TV. Later I would find out that those were directed by the notorious Hong Kong director by the name of Godfrey Ho (also known as  Godfrey Hall, Benny Ho, Ho Chi-Mou and Ed Woo) who routinely used cut- and- paste method producing dozens of Ninja movies every year. One of the tricks he used was to buy an unfinished Taiwanese film (or 10) and pepper it with his default Ninja fight scenes to create a unique mutant of the Martial Arts genre (often featuring dual storylines by sheer necessity).

Most of those Joseph Lai produced gems featured Harrison (sometimes even without his knowledge or approval), anything from Ninja Terminator (1985) to Ninja Strike Force (1988). And I can’t forget all the brightly colored uniforms or those headbands with Ninja written on them to this day!

Quite possibly the greatest scene in the history of Martial Arts cinema!

To go back in time even more so Harrison started his career much like Eastwood acting in Italian movies– albeit initially in the sword and sandals genre (The Magnificent Gladiator). He would eventually move up to the more commercial Spaghetti Western films (Gunfight at Red Sands, also first Ennio Morricone scored film ever) before becoming the European answer to 007 aka 077 (no, I’m not making this up). Also you should definitely check out his Italian team- up with  Bruce Le called Challenge of the Tiger. Eurospy meets Bruceploitationyou don’t see that every day!

Beware of that buff Italian guy!

He also famously turned down the opportunity to act in A Fistful of Dollars and recommended Clint Eastwood for the role. He jokingly said he considers that his greatest contribution to the world of cinema.

He first started collaborating with a Hong Kong studio when he played  the title role of Marco Polo in  Shaw Brothers‘s production in 1975 and Commander von Waldersee in The Boxer Rebellion a year later. More than a decent start. But in the 80’s with the fall of both Western and Eurospy movies he ended up signing a multi- picture contract with Joseph Lai’s Imperial Entertainment which lead him to Godfrey Ho and as they say- the rest is history!

We want to thank Guru Khalid Khan for this wonderful interview, It’s really uplifting to see a legend like Harris still alive and kicking  while being charismatic as he ever was.

 

 

 

Since we last touched upon this subject (talking about the Ugandan Kung Fu project Bruce U) couple more Lee related projects popped up:

Danny Chan (Shaolin Soccer, Kung Fu Hustle) is for example starring as Chen Zhen (made famous by Lee in Fist of Fury) in a team- up action comedy Kung Fu League as well as reprising his role as young Lee in Donnie Yen’s Ip Man 4.

More significantly The Warrior TV show (for the longest time a stuff of legends) based on the original Bruce Lee’s concept  (and executive produced by his daughter Shannon Lee) spearheaded by Justin Lin (Fast and the Furious) is set to premiere on Cinemax in early 2019.

Now, as we all know by know when there’s an official project some unofficial ones can be expected too.

ENTER THE AFGHANI BRUCE LEE!

Abbas Alizada (Abb Li for short) gained prominence as a Bruce Lee imitator on facebook, his photos and videos going viral in 2014.  His first attempt of film-making was an Azerbaijani comedy picture released in 2016 called Brat Lee (Brother Li). Well, now it’s seems his first “major” English- speaking role is finally in the cards.

Armani Burj Khalifa held a press conference for the movie titled HE IS BACK (sounds more like a Schwarzeneggersploitation picture, does it?). Film is to be directed by Chitah Yajnesh Shetty with Abb Li joined by a female lead Alina Lliumzhinov. Movie is being produced by Showtime Cinema & SBM Pvt Ltd in association with Ninjoor Pictures so we know more than a few people are banking on this being a hit. Also it’s a pretty international affair seeing that talent spans America, Thailand, India and China.

If I was being a skeptic I would say that there’s far too many inexperienced people involved in this movie but there are some positives too. Director Chitah Yajnesh Shetty is a legit JKD instructor under the late Grand Master Richard Bustillo so he knows his martial arts. Kaecha Kampakdee of Ong- Bak 2 and Asian Connection fame is in charge of action choreography and cinematographer is Ross Clarkson (Undisputed III, Ninja II: Shadow of a Tear)  so that could easily translate to some solidly shot Martial Arts scenes. Filming begins in January 2019, so we’ll keep you informed how things go.

One thing is for sure- it’s 2018 and Bruceploitation is alive and well.

Written and Directed by Edward D. Wood, Jr.

It’s very interesting how things echo and even parallel one another. I was just watching a trailer for finally completed Orson Welles movie “The Other Side of the Wind”. Finished by his long time friend and actor in the film- Peter Bogdanovich and producer Frank Marshall the movie will be published by Netflix in November after almost 50 years of production!

Now, there’s another director albeit definitely less acclaimed that’s having his final “masterpiece” published in November too. Coincidentally, the man in question was himself inspired by the The Great Welles. And that man is non other than Edward D. Wood Jr.  the writer/ director of such hits like Glen of Glenda, Bride of the Monster and of course Plan 9 from Outer Space (often considered the worse movie of all time).

“Dramatisation: May not have happened!”

His final film “Take It Out In Trade” a sexploitation detective comedy he shot in the 1970 is finally seeing light of day! Meticulously restored and converted from the only remaining 16mm theatrical print by Alamo Drafthouse’s American Genre Film Archive and Something Weird to crisp 4K BluRay. The only previous version was VHS of outtakes without the sound published in ’95.

The plot centers around a wealthy Frank Riley (Duke Moore) and his wife who hire an unreliable but mustachioed P.I. Mac McGregor (Michael Donovan O’Donnell) to locate their missing daughter Shirley (Donna Stanley) and features a dangerous world of prostitution. It even has a nod to Wood’s  real- life crossdresing passion (as he shows up as a transvestite character- Alecia). Movie also features  The Amazing Criswell  and truthfully, it wouldn’t be an Ed Wood picture without him.

 

Ed Wood as Alecia

So, if you decide to watch Welles’s “lost” film in November why not make it a double billing with the fantastic Edward D. Wood, Jr.-  what could possibly go wrong?

Some of you are too young to remember but in the early days there was nothing more disappointing then your favorite TV show (like Star Trek) starting on TV- just for you to find out it was a clip- show episode and you waited in vain. That kind of a thing would completely ruing your day.


Now, even thou that phenomenon was closely related to TV (live action). Now fair share of TV shows and Hanna Barbera cartoons too made a practice of doing that but in reality there was more than a few movies that implemented that same philosophy. Roger Corman was as guilty of that as much (or more than) anyone else. See Carnosaur/ Raptor for some examples.

 

When Frank Gallo approached him about directing a non-related sequel to the Starquest aka Terminal Voyage. I imagine he just waved his hand and said “you can use any of my old SF movies for clips and just keep it under budget”.

Movie starts right away with the clip show montage consisting of anything from Archival NASA footage to Corman’s Battle Beyond Stars all the while playing to 90’s dance beats. Can’t go wrong with that but we have no idea what’s going on.

Now, the film’s actual start has 8 people of all different creeds waking up in a mysterious compound. They are not sure where they are or what’s going on and the first thing they all witness a man in a security uniform being electrocuted by something that looks suspiciously like Hall 9000.

Things get a little heated up, a soldier (fan favorite Adam Baldwin) and ex- con Trent (played by a Kickboxing legend Jerry Trimble) almost come to blows. But then a Priest of undisclosed religion (always fantastic Robert Englund) shows up to greet them and clue them in on their situation. Turns out they are in Space.

Another video-montage played by a board computer (set to a soothing soundtrack) explains the crew that humanity has lost it’s way and heralded it’s own destruction. Then the techno music comes in and we are treated to a number of striping and sex scenes. Now, I know some strippers tend to be crazy but I’m pretty sure they are not to blame for the downfall of human civilization.

 

Then the video shifts to a doctor doing some crazy Re-Animator shit and it abruptly ends with the launch of Omega 4 Spaceship (it’s mission- to save human species). We also see the Alien narrating everything and the costume is funny as it gets (with mouth that can barely move at all). But, that’s Roger Corman/ New Horizons production for you.

Trent and the military personnel get into an argument again but suddenly the ship starts shaking- they are attack by a Reptilian race of aliens (and if conspiracy theories thought us anything,those are the mean ones). Suddenly a cyborg pilot emerges from his sleep and he does his job admirably!

Space fight scene
Star Trek- eat your heart out.

Once his done he returns to his chamber. Trent doesn’t like him one bit and can’t wait to star a fight. In the meantime the bold dude and the black chick are plotting behind Father’s back. It seems they knew about the alien attack and they are not pleased with the result.

Lee (Baldwin) and Susan start discussing their fear that the Earth was destroyed– and that’s the reason they are here. They segued directly into the first sex scene of the movie
(I guess they decided it’s time to start repopulating). The funniest thing is Baldwin has constant Alien Abduction flashbacks– and he can still keep it up! That’s admirable.

fotka

It turns out the death of the first man wasn’t an accident, ’cause they find the blond soldier woman choked to death too. Trent tries to pressure a bold dude to show him how the ship’s computer works but he activates the cyborg the Protector. Trent gets into a brawl with the cyborg and almost dies but the bold dude ends up dying it the end. “Hall” electrocutes his remains too. Englund seems displeased with the development of the situation.

Suspecting everyone and anyone the rest of the crew capture Trent (using his stripper girlfriend as the bait). Black girl seduces another soldier (what she’s up to) and then stripper starts stripping so this becomes one big soft- core “spectacle” in space.

Baldwin uncovers that he was injected with an alien DNA. Black girl finally shows her true colors and starts killing, but not before getting a lap dance herself. Man, this girl is
having a busy night. Hope they tip her well (whatever currency works in space). She and Englund get into an argument which fraction really cares for human- Trent solves the conflict by shooting them up both. Unfortunately he dies himself trying to finish the girl off.

After they are left alone Alien flight attendant video shows up again and we have some more psychedelic imagery (not really the 2001 Space Odyssey level but still).

Verdict: As far as clip show movies gothis one makes no sense but is definitely a good fun- and the cast is surprisingly solid.

And as much as I’m an Adam Baldwin fan (Firefly, Chuck, The Last Ship) my favorite parts of the movie are Jerry Trimble scenes- he finally gets to do some acting in this one in addition to his kickboxing arsenal and he comes across like one of those disturbed gang members from Death Wish III. And also his on- screen girlfriend/ stripper Jeannie Millar is a real sight to behold. I was really disappointed to find she didn’t make that much movies  (except couple Black Scorpion ones for Corman, again) before her untimely death.