Movie starts with an illegal Kickboxing Tournament, a classic trope from the 90s. So far- so good. Now, what you would reasonably expect is that the star of this movie is this young, buff Karate student played by Ian Jacklin. Makes sense. Yeah, his acting is maybe not perfect but at least he looks the part of an action hero.

 

But things are never that simple are they? Our young hero gets the living daylight beaten out of him and he ends up freakin’ brain dead and now we’re left following his teacher trying to avenge him. Sensei George (skinny, older man from Macedonia) wakes up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. His nude, blonde (and out of his league) girlfriend Sara tries to comfort him. He relents and has sex with her but still suspects somethings wrong with his missing student.

First thing in the morning he goes to see Tony’s mother who suspects things considering she found an envelope of 10 000 dollars and the mysterious card. Scarily at the same time her boy was harvested for organs (probably to be sold on the black market). Man, these people are even more evil than the usual tournament organizers (like Dana White or Shang Tsung).

George calls his girlfriend who turns out to be a Police detective (didn’t see that one coming). Unfortunately she wasn’t helpful in tracing the mysterious number from the card So, next he tries to find the company with a Spade logo (like the envelope). He ends up in a seedy warehouse and you guessed it- get jumped by some bad guys! They try to “teach him some American maners” but he answers with some well placed kicks. Mustached villain tries to run away but George hunts him down and in the end he talks. Man behind the disappearance is called Verdugo (Jorge Rivera). That name seems to ring a bell with George.

He visits his master- fantastically long- haired George Lynch who explains that Verdugo can’t possibly be alive because he was killed running drugs in the Golden Triangle. Turns out he actually survived and just got a cool- looking eye patch.

An being a true villain that he is he sends some goons to the George’s dojo, he doesn’t want anyone messing with his operation. Now, this is the fun part, his main henchmen is none other than Frank W. Dux (controversial Ninja/ Spy/ Creator of Bloodsport).

His blue belt tries to get involved and kid gets shit kicked out of him! I’m starting to think that George isn’t such a great Sensei after all, I mean his students constantly act like dumb asses- he must be partly responsible.

“Nothing important- just your life”

Unfortunately Dux just threatens him with a gun and we don’t get to see the fight between  the two. Too bad ’cause Dux was usually behind the cameras (Bloodsport, , Lionheart, Only The Strong) as a choreographer– it would have been interesting to finally see him in action for a change.

Police lady gets some info from her fat “hacker” friend and it turns out that George was the one one testified against Verdugo. Lynch spouts some more ancient wisdom to George as he gets prepared to end things between him and Verdugo once and for all.

Turns out his other student Garry also got invited some time ago so he uses that connection to finally track him down. Before the revenge he start training like crazy, full 80s style! His girlfriend doesn’t seem entertained by that but he pays her no mind. She finally confronts him in late hours in his Dojo with words like “…what are you doing here, I never see you anymore” Remember kids Karate will wreck your personal life. Jorge solves things by sleeping with her right there on the dirty floor. I mean this dude’s got only two ways of solving anything problem: fighting and fucking and I don’t know which is scarier.

We finally get down to business. Garry let’s himself be captured by Verdugo goons.  George follows them and then makes a sneak attack on Verdugo’s compound with a freaking crossbow! Man’s got style.

After saving his student from what seems like certain death George challenges Verdugo and he gets shamed by his ritch friends to take the fight. Of course it turns out Sara followed George who followed Garry (everyone is tailing everyone here) and she shows up with the police to break things up. She kinda forgives George for going behind her back and they team up to fight Verdugo (and his evil Doctor Kramer).

Verdugo yelling “you ruined my career, you ruined my life” and George’s answering “it was a shitty career” strike with a bit more truth than originally intended. But don’t worry they don’t get to meta- they get into a sword fight. Round 2: Begin!

 

My favorite thing is that no one takes George into custody despite of obviously murdering a man with a sword just minutes ago.

And all that with a journalist showing up before the arrests were even done with a TV Anchor spouting the names of every ritch and powerful person watching the tournament. This lady’s got more info than any other character in the whole movie, I’m impressed! She could have solved everything by herself- and without any bloodshed.

Verdict: Now, having an illegal Karate tournament revenge is not a bad plot by itself, we all love a good (and brutal) revenge story but when the said teacher is a skinny man from Macedonia with his English (let’s not talk about his acting) leaving a lot to be desired for.

But if you look closely at the credits Jorgo Ognenovski actually wrote the story so that’s not really shocking. Maybe the safer bet was for him to just write/ produce and maybe play a foreign villain. In that case this movie might have had a bit wider release, something in line with an average 90’s Gary Daniels kickboxing movie.

For me the biggest treat of the movie was the legendary B-movie bad guy Richard Lynch here being all hilarious and awesome as a wise Martial Art Master. Having practically nothing to do with Martial Arts he more than makes up for it with his style (long hair and black kimono) and attitude.

Trivia: Of all things we expect to get in the movie like this, the biggest shock was a cameo from Frank Dux as a main henchmen of Rivero’s character. I’m only disappointed that he didn’t have any fight scenes. I mean you have the inspiration behind Bloodsport and you don’t have him Dim Mak anybody? That’s a shame!

Also, dojo scenes seem to be filmed in Dux’s Dojo, you can clearly see his framed photo. Either that or Jorgo really loves promoting his enemies.

On the side note- in a classic Ninja fashion Dux’s role isn’t advertised and his name does not appear in his official IMDB page.So, it’s like he was never there. Man, he truly is The Secret Man.

Trivia 2:

According to our research Jorgo Ognenoviski is in politics now and is actually an independent political candidate for the mayor of Bitola, Macedonia. Man, maybe he can give Arnold run for his money if he keeps it up!

 

Ring of Fury, Singapore’s answer to Bruce Lee’s Fist of Fury (and Big Boss) originally filmed in 1973 is finally available and can be viewed in full on Youtube!

Movie had a tumultuous release history. It was supposed to be a first real Singapore Martial Art flick but it wasn’t meant to be. It all started when the first time directors Tony Yeow and James Sebastian hired a local Kyokushin Karate trainer Peter Chung who repeatedly refused their offers citing that he doesn’t know anything about acting.

Still they persevered and in the end Chung relented. Armed with a shoestring budget and cast of unknowns they crafted a story of noodle-seller, Fei Pao, who seeks revenge on a group of thugs who murdered his mother (over unpaid protection money).

“We had a fight at the granite quarry in Bukit Timah and there wasn’t even a mattress on the ground. They said, ‘If you fall, you fall.’ And sometimes you might fall on small stones and it was painful.” said the star of the movie Peter Chung .

Classic training montage!

 

Unfortunately all that effort was seemingly in vain as the movie was swiftly banned.  Singapore’s censorship was particularly harsh in the 70’s and the idea of portraying (at the time unfortunate but very real occurrence)  gangs collecting protection money and even “worse” vigilante justice didn’t sit well with them. I guess Death Wish was never released in Singapour too.

 

After things imploded, the unpaid star of the movie Peter Chong kept the only known copy of the film, 35mm print in his fridge wrapped in newspapers for decades hoping for it to be eventually released into the public! Ban was eventually lifted in 1994 (after losing some scenes of sex and violence) but movie would wait another 20+ years to be restored and released but it was finally screened at the Asian Restored Classics of 2017.

And now, even better- it’s finaly available worldwide in full on the Asian Film Archive official Youtube channel. As a giant fan of the genre and especially the early 70s Martial Arts boom I know I will enjoy it, so let’s all give a watch to the Singapour’s fists Kung Fu movie:

 

We got the news that after decades in limbo never finished sequel of Grizzly(1976)- Grizzly II: Revenge (1983) is finally about to be released! Movie of course follows the  aforementioned 10 foot Grizzly terrorizing young concert goers on a giant Woodstock- style festival. Freshly completed version just had it’s premiere in Los Angeles last week and we can hope to hear more details about the release soon.

With a stellar cast such as everyone’s favorite rascal Charlie Sheen, young George Clooney, Laura Dern and even John Rhys- Davies it’s incredible that the movie was just gathering dust all this time.  The only way to view film was a bootleg that surfaced in ’07 ripped from VHS copy of the workprint copy. This version unfortunately had most of the the animatronic bear scenes left unfinished (due in part to the disappearance of the producer Joe Proctor).

Crewman in charge of the bear scenes had this this say on imdb -I had an agreement with Joe Proctor to direct the half size effects unit and all elements ( other than the man in a suit version which was almost complete) were finished and ready to shoot in coordination with the storyboard that I also supervised with artist Tony Beasley. The money dried up and the crew’s PERSONAL equipment was seized by the Government who told us they were held against non payment of production bills.-

Original movie producer Suzanne Csikos Nagy explains the sudden halt in production on the first day of filming the concert:

The principal photography started on Monday. We had 45 days to finish the film. Everything was mapped out. Sunday was a break. Everybody relaxed when the call came to my home. My partner from Chicago was looking for my husband who was not in the film business and asked him to come to the InterContinental Hotel. When he returned he was pale and devastated.

I asked him, “What is wrong?” And he replied, “Joe, your partner, is leaving Hungary. If you want to save the movie, you do what you need to do. He is leaving in half an hour because there is no money for the production.”  I thought this was a joke, but then I realized, I was left alone with 300 members of the film crew from 4 countries.-

With the footage restored and transferred to digital in summer of ’19 GBGB proceeded to film the missing scenes with assurance of preserving the authentic ’80s spirit of the movies.  We hope to see it soon and confirm that that’s true. In the meantime you can see the new trailer right here.

 

You can also visit the official Grizzly 2 page for more information and updates: https://www.grizzly2revenge.com/

You wonder what this movies is about? Well, in 1980s we were still in the first wave of Jamie Lee Curtis career as a Scream Queen. She followed up the all- time classic John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) with another Carpenter gem- The Fog (1980). The she took a bit of a detour to Great North with Prom Night (1980) and then continued the Canadian tour some months later with a New Year themed Slasher featuring none other then at the world famous illusionist David Copperfield! So, how did it go? We’ll let’s go through it step by step.

Movie predictably starts with a bunch of nerds. Sigma Phi fraternity pulls a prank by promising him young Kenny a hook- up with a hot chick. They just fail to tell him that the chick was dead for a long time! Can you imagine someone going to all the trouble of getting a dead body into a student bed just for a stupid prank. I know they’re medical students but still. Kenny is horribly traumatized by the prank ends up in the mental institution!

When going insane make sure to spin in circles!

Three year later the gang is back to it’s usual hijinks, this time preparing to board a train. They are already drunk and wearing costumes (not a must have for a New Year celebration, but to each their own) but the real party is just about to begin.

Nerdy prankster with a Groucho Marx is looking for his girlfriend. Girlfriend is of course a blow up doll. He keeps spouting his lame comedy routine to everyone’s delight. Now, predictably he is the first to go (seemingly killers hate pranksters even more than their regular victims- slutty blonds). They board the train not noticing that somebody put a (real) sword trough the comedian and then took his place.

                                                                                                                          Being a funny guy always ends in tragedy

The Magician (David Copperfield) is talking with his assistant, tall blond called Charlie, feeling he is not yet prepared for his performance. Who is financing his thing? You’d espect these students to be in debt by now- not living it up.

Black dude in a lizard costume compliments the “new and improved” Groucho and his comedy and offers him some hard liquor. Groucho accepts and then proceeds to murder him in one fall swoop by busting his head on the bathroom mirror. That’s what you get for liking bad comedy.

 

Train conductor finds the murder victim in the bathroom .The only logical thing to do-hide the murder! I’m not sure that’s helping anyone in the long run. They even say “Bathroom is out of order”– man, that’s cold.

At some point the main organizer and OG Prankster Doc (dressed like a monk) comments that he didn’t hire a magician at all? But Alana’s boyfriend Moe just shrugs it off like it’s no big deal. The killer somehow manages to throw the body away and take the lizard costume (this is starting to become a pattern) and conductors decide to just accept that the dude was just drunk (ignoring all the gallons of blood that were there just minutes ago). It seems people will believe anything as long as it’s easier for them.

Bubbly girl Mitchie (also a bit drunk at this point) runs into train conductors carrying the Lizard. She helps Lizard Man walk and starts hitting on him instantly. That will prove to be a fatal mistake.


I guess she likes them coldblooded it seems.

After finding Mitchie dead too conducter finally figure out that there’s something wrong with this whole trip. Alana (Curtis) figures out that she’s gone and they finally admit they found her dead. If that wasn’t enough we are treated to another Copperfield act but thankfully Moe shows up bleeding like a pig in the middle of it. It seems bodies are starting to pile up.

 

They finally stop the train to try to prevent further killings. They trice to organize everybody and make them take of their masks. While freezing outside Alana finally figures out that Kenny is back and Doc then seals himself in the sleeper car where murderer is hiding. Naturally he doesn’t make it. After finding his decapitated body Alana figures out that the Magician must be Kenny in disguise.  Carne looks him up but the Magician manages to disappear?

Now with a new gimmick, a witch killer goes after Alana. She barely escapes with her life and manages to lock her self up in the compartment. He still tries to stab her but she turns the tables on him and stab him in the face. He continues going after her but she pushes him from the train car. Nightmare seems to be finally over.

 

Or is ti? They finally find the Magician but he is in fact murder by his own swords.Alana tells that to Charlie, his assistant but the wig comes off and it turns out that she is in fact Kenny! Kenny was cross- dressing as the assistant this whole time. She tries apologizing for her part in the prank but he doesn’t want to hear it. He insists on a kiss, and she finally obliges him. Unfortunately for Kenny he again looses his mind and starts spinning uncontrollably. Old man conductor shows up and whacks him with a shovel. He drops like a rock (and something rolls out from the ovbious stand in dummy). Water washes the body away with only a single shoe remaining while the train rolls on.

This scene is comedic gold

Verdict: Even thou I must say I sincerely enjoy the early part of Jamie Lee Curtis‘s career I would still say that Terror Train is a bit of a weak link for me. Gimmick of changing the costume after every kill sounds interesting on paper but in reality murderer lacks visual identity (see Jason Voorhees) and that definitely hurts the movie. Also, it takes them way too long to “get the train rolling”, it takes pretty much an hour for tension to really rev up.  And as much as I loved Coperfield‘s stuff as a kid, cutting to his performances every 10 minutes is not helping the pacing of this film.

Trivia: Jamie Lee Curtis would continue with the Horror genre with Australian Roadgames (1981) and go back to playing Laurie Stroude with Halloween II and her Horror streak would finaly be broken in ’82 with a comedy Coming Soon. She wouldn’t return to the genre ’till Halloween H20 (1998) and now mostly forgotten but batshit crazy SF/ Horror Virus (1999).

Trivia #2: Marie was played by none other than D.D. Winters, real name Denise Katrina Matthews– later known as Vanity. You might remember her from another cult classic- The Last Dragon. She was also in a Carl Weathers‘s awesome Action Jackson and had a sucesful musical career with Prince– produced Vanity 6 trio and two solo records. Unfortunately, she died way too soon in 2016.

 

 

After the release of his anthology movie Verotika (inspired by the comics series of the same name), Rock legend Glenn Danzig (Misfits, Samhain, Danzig) is working on his second feature, a vampire-spaghetti western- Death Rider in the House of Vampires! Yes, you heard that right. That sound like something akin to Kevin Eastman/ Simon Bisley excellent Fistful of Blood (2002) published by Heavy Metal magazine.

Here’s what he said at Verotika premiere in Chicago earlier this year: “My next film, which I’m hopefully starting this summer, is a vampire-spaghetti western. The soundtrack has been done for two years and of course it sounds almost exactly like an Ennio Morricone soundtrack. I think I’m actually going to do a small part in it too. Everybody in the movie is a vampire. So, you won’t have to wait around to see the vampire. They’re all fucking vampires!”

And as far as casting goes we know we have the veteran Danny Trejo, Danzig himself in a cameo role and greatest of all-  Warlock himself, Mr. Julian Sands! Can’t wait to hear more ’cause it sound like a bloody good time.

After the premiere as a part of Midnight Madness selection of Toronto International Film Festival Richard Stanley’s comeback feature, Lovecraft’s Color out of Space staring Nicolas Cage, Joely Richardson and Tommy Chong we finally got a release date and the official trailer.

Stanley haven’t lost his weird, supernatural touch and Cage looks to be in a fine form.  Critics are of course divided with some praising it as one of the best Lovecraft adaptations (OK track record for those isn’t that great) and an awesome comeback for Stanley while others deemed it unwatchable.

RLJ Entertainment will release the film in theaters on  January 24, 2020. Hope to see you in the cinema.

Trivia: Producers of the movie, SpectreVision’s Elijah Wood (The Lord of the Rings) and Daniel Noah also revealed that they are in the early stages of development of The Dunwich Horror adaptation with Stanley too, saying that they hope there’s enough interest to make at least three HP Lovecraft adaptations. It seems they could give Brian Yuzna run for his money.

 

Most first time directors begin their careers with a zombie film. Why? I don’t know, I guess it’s a cheap way to make a first feature film. Shot on 35mm foralmost no money by first time director Brett Leonard  (also known for Lawnmower Man) The Dead Pit is perfect example of this claim. It features some impressive make up and effects work, especially considering the budget. Michael Hinton created the film’s optical effects, while the prosthetic special effects were created by FX artist Ed Martinez. Other than that it is complete crap with unintentional black humor.

deadpit

 

At an overfilled and under-staffed mental hospital, Dr. Colin Ramzi (played by Danny Gochnauer) decides to use the excess patients for his own personal experiments into death and the unknown. His evil deeds are ended abruptly when his colleague, Dr. Gerald Swan (Jeremy Slate), puts a bullet in his head. Dr. Ramzi and the corpses of his experiments are then sealed up in a mass grave beneath the hospital and forgotten. Well, only for twenty years, until a mysterious Jane Doe (played by Cheryl Lawson) arrives at the hospital with no memory of who she is or where she came from. She complains about not losing her memory but rather someone got it stolen from her. Hm I think I know where this movie leads to. Anyway, apparently Jane Doe got so upset about her memories theft that she causes an earthquake and unrest at the, until then, peaceful underground mass grave. Result of this: we get to see Dr. Ramzi gets free from captivity, leading the army of loyal zombies. And also we get to see Jane’s tits in wet shirt.

Untitled

 

While Jane is wandering around freely wearing only underpants and tight shirt Dr. Ramzi continues his research. So that means he needs more bodies. You can guess what comes next. Meanwhile, Dr. Gerald hypnotizes Jane where he discovers her real name is Sarah and that mother tried to take her away from her father when she was only 3 years old. Hm I wonder why? Of course, all of this is followed by inconvenient flat acting. The following night good Dr. Ramzi is back. He kills one of the lunatics and one of the staff member, whose head he later uses to scare Jane and drive her insane.

 

Dr. Gerald hypnotizes Jane once more. She remembered crazy surgeon experimenting on her. Dr. Ramzi somehow takes control of her body and in his own voice threaten Dr. Gerald. Ok now we got The Exorcist element here. This movie keeps expanding in a way no one could possibly expect. Dr. Gerald gets so upset about this that he throws poor Jane out of office and then helps himself with his secret stash of whisky. On the other side of asylum, Jane and some Irish madman are making a plan for escaping. Of course, that plan is foiled by Dr. Ramzi and Jane ends up captured in the dead pit. Mad surgeon raises his army of the zombies from the pit and they all together start stealing brains from mental patients. Mad Irishman saves Jane from imprisonment and they return to fight Ramzi and his ever-growing army of zombies. Meanwhile, Dr. Gerald got drunk and slept through entire chaos in his office.

They discover that holy water kills zombies (I am no shitting you here) so with help of demented nun who happens to be in asylum as mental patient (how convenient) Jane and Irish dude devise a plan to bless entire nearby water tower and blow it up with handmade bomb. Sounds bulletproof to me enough. Meanwhile, Dr. Ramzi has haptured Dr. Gerald and performs brain extraction operation on him, despite Gerald’s plea “Don’t cut my brain please”. He shows that juicy brain to Jane during their next encounter spiced with silly one-liner “Dr. Swan wants to give you piece of his mind”. Classic! And yeah, we also find out he is Jane’s father. What a twist, would you say? Anyway, mad Irishman (*cough* pleonasm) took the opportunity of this family reunion to sacrifice himself (due to his stupidity of making the fuse too long) and blow up water tower which leads us to scene of mass melting zombies, including Dr. Ramzi, which is second to none even compared to famous scene from The incredible melting man.

Conclusion: Zombies, mad scientist, body possession, holy water, exorcism, tits, wide open heads, this movie has it all, you just name it. I haven’t seen such  concentration of madness since Beyond Re-animator (and believe me, that movie is so fucked up). As for the acting, it isn’t heinously bad, for the most part, but you’ll still wince from time to time. The zombies actually look fairly decent. With Brett Leonard, when you look at his earliest picture, all you can really see are hints of the mediocrity that would spell out his career. The Dead Pit isn’t a bad movie, it’s just very forgettable. At least, it provides some nice gore so it is worth watching.