Monday, February 23, 2009

The Infamous Turkish Star Wars(1982)

Last night I decided to take a break from my japanese cinema obsession to watch a movie I've been putting off for a long time, Dunyayi kurturan adam, aka Turkish Star Wars. I had only seen Turkish Rambo before as far as turk trash is concerned, so I knew I was in for a ride. Boy, was that the understatement of the year. I felt like a blind man on an old wooden rollercoaster during the course of this chaotic piece of shit.

First off, I really didn't have much of an idea about what the fuck was going on. There wasn't too much plot development as far as I can see, and what I did get was just a mess. Here is what I can piece together. Some evil wizard wants to destroy earth, but in order to do that he must possess a human brain. He launches an assault, and two of our planet's most Heroic Turks (yes, it does state this in the subtitles) must defend the planet against the evil wizards empirical stolen Star Wars footage. Yes that's right, not even stock footage, stolen fucking footage. We see X-wings and Death Stars and all that happy Hoth shit. It's not even a good lift. It looks like they actually filmed in front of a screen showing the bootleg. Fuckin' terrible!

Our Turk heroes eventually end up getting shot down and landing on a world controlled by the evil immortal wizard, this is where the movie starts losing it, and it was 10 minutes in. So from here on out, I will give you some of the many memories that this trashmaster probably left me with for the rest of my living days:

-Not only do we get stolen footage, but we also get stolen scores. Everytime the heroes do battle, the theme to Indiana Jones plays. I don't know what's it's more fitting for. Harrison Ford with a whip, or two middle-aged turks jumping on trampolines.

-Yes I said trampolines. Where as the term "wire-fu" is used to describe some of the cheesier special effects in Hong Kong cinema, I'm going to use the term "tramp-fu" or "turk-fu" to describe the hilarity of action sequences overusing trampoline jump shots. Fuckin' brilliant!

-Fighting muppets. Not only do we get several full-on brawls with human-sized muppets, we also get muppet decapitation and dismemberment. I will never look at Kermit the same way again, and I've still got most of the first season of the Muppet Show to watch. Poor me.

-A special appearance by Robbie the Robot, of Lost in Space fame. Not only is Robbie serving the Evil Wizard, we also get to see his obsolete, robot ass get dismembered like a muppet. "Danger Will Robinson, I have no fucking head!"

-Fucked up religious propaganda. Something about muslims, the peaceful religion of the 13th tribe, being led by Jesus into the mountains during a time of nuclear war. Angels, demons, human brain, bronze.....blah-blah-crock of what-the-fuck-blah. Was Von Daniken hired as a guest writer or what?

-As with any good turkish movie, over-the-top action sequences. I mentioned the trampolines, but what about the sped-up film, the flips, and for some reason,turks doing martial arts better than some HK actors. The crowning achievement was the desert training sequence though. We have turks punching through boulders, tied boulders to there legs and jumping like the incredible hulk, kicking boulders to the point of explosion. Pretty much anything you can think to do with boulders, short of humping, but I'm sure there are some film edits that will never see the light of day.

If you've seen the movie, feel free to add your 2 cents worth in the comment section. This is not a movie that should ever go without discussion, or repeat viewings. As fuckin' retarded as is sounds, and actually is, this is definitely a flick that will see my dvd player more than once. And now let's see if I can dig up a film clip or trailer.

Here we go. The training montage.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Kraut Sound of Master of the Flying Guillotine

Second post about the same movie!?! Not to be redundant or anything of that nature, but i felt that it was to late to add an edit to my original post. Besides, this focuses on the OST (original soundtrack) more than the movie itself.

Typically when watching a kung-fu movie, the soundtrack utilizes the sounds of traditional chinese instruments. Simple woodwinds, one-stringed guitar-like things, and other strange looking things I see old asian guys play on the subway platform. Never before have I seen a kung-fu movie from the 70's utilize the sounds of krautrock. The first question that popped into my head when I heard the opening credits was,"Why the fuck is a punk song in the opening credits!" I was completely baffled. The further I got into the movie, the more headfucked I became over the soundtrack. Synthesizer work, avant electronics, rock guitar....what kind of fucking band was rocking like this in Hong Kong during the 70's, and why had I not heard of them? Why are these sounds familiar to me?

Upon further investigation i got my answer. They were indeed songs I had heard performed by bands I knew. Neu!, Tangerine Dream, and Kraftwerk. Anybody who knows something of underground music knows the names, and probably has an album or two. I know i have multiple discs of Neu! and Tangerine Dream. I wasn't that surpised at Tangerine Dream scoring a movie, since it's something that has been done several. But a cheap-ass wuxia from Hong Kong....How the fuck did they get that gig? It didn't take much more investigating to realize that they didn't get the gig. In fact, none of the bands mentioned realized they scored the movie until many years down the road. When they did finally find out, they wanted some muthafuckin' cashflow. I would too.

Although the original production company is no longer in existence, the rights to the film are still held by several different production international distributors. These distributors were the ones responsible for paying the bands for the use of there intellectual property. Some companies chose just to just re-track the movie themselves. Others, like the American distributor, chose to comply and give credit where credit is due.

Although there has never been an official release of the soundtrack. With a little digging it shouldn't be hard to custom compile it yourself. The music is not exactly rare. In fact, one of the Neu! songs was used in Kill Bill. I'm not surprised, I believe Tarantino has mentioned Master of the Flying Guillotine as an influence. But he's been influenced by lots of shit I like.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Fuck Politics! Vote Cinema Suicide!!!

Some of you may have noticed that I have a links to the right of this paragraph you're reading. This list isn't random. This list is actually composed of some of my favorite sites and blogs I visit on a daily basis. Some have you may have even visited the links I post, and I thank you for it. In case you haven't, now is a good time to start. You'll notice Cinema Suicide at the top of this list. That's not a random occurrence either.

Cinema Suicide is my lunchtime read before anything else. I'm not saying this because Bryan's a friend and I have contributed from time-to-time either, but that does help. Bryan, who happens to be a busy family man, always manages to try to update CS on a daily basis, unlike a a great deal of us in this big ole' blogosphere, myself included. So everyday at 1 pm I typically have something new and exciting to read about one of my favorite subjects: movies.

Cinema Suicide has just been nominated for a Rondo Award for best blog. if you are unfamiliar with the Rondos read here. As you can see, the one who receives the award is voted on, not by a board of certified film school wankers, but by the common man. That's you, buddy. It's really easy to vote and you might happen upon some other catagory you are interested in. If Cinema Suicide receives your vote, and happens to win, Bryan gets a cool little statue with a creepy face on it. And most importantly, all his dedication with CS over the last two years has not been in vain.

So, if you are familiar with the blog and want to see Cinema Suicide victorious, vote here. If you are unfamilar with it, read it and then vote. If for some reason you are unimpressed, then you obviously don't know anything about horror, and probably need your skull kicked in.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Master of the Flying Guillotine(1975)

I've been listening to the Wu-Tang Clan for many years. It's hard to believe it myself. From the time that "Protect Ya Neck" came out to about "Wu-Tang Forever", I had a boner for the Shoalin that was bigger than Oklahoma. Hell, I still listen to the new Ghostface as much as possible, so you could probably say that boner never really went away, I've just been able to hide it better. One of the things that always intrigued me about the Wu was there love for that old Hong Kong shit. From the name, to their alias', and the prevalent use of samples from early HK Kung-fu flicks....these guys had more of an obsession with that shit than I can ever dream of. They even starting releasing these movies when the cash flow starting coming in. I've got to hand it to the Wu. If it wasn't fot them, my obsession with kung-fu probably wouldn't be so strong. It might even be non-existant.

Big ups to the Killer Beez!

I've been curious of Master of the Flying Guillotine since I first heard reference to it in several classic hip-hop tracks. I've been tempted to buy it many times over the last 15 years, but it has only been recently that I've had a strong drive to watch it. I think it had to do with seeing the trailer a couple of months ago. I immediatly thought, "fuck, I've been missing out" and made it a priority. I finally got a chance to watch it this morning.

Fuck, was I missing out.

This is possibly my favorite kung-fu movie next to 5 Deadly Venoms. It was that fucking awesome. Over the fucking top in the wuxia-style hk movies. It's got revenge, a tournament, crazy martial arts style, and the motherfucking flying guillotine. "What is this mysterious flying guillotine?" you ask. Think of a cloth frisbee in a chain with blades. With a quick tug over a victims head it releases a bag covering the face. One more quick tug and you have a headless vctim. Pretty fuckin sweet, huh? It also doubles as a giant shurikan on a chain. It is considered by many to be the deadliest weapon in the world. There is only one master, and he is blind and pissed. This old blind guy wants revenge against the one-armed boxer( I know it sounds like a joke) for the deaths of his two not-so-friendly disciples. This is wear it begins.

The One-Armed Boxer runs a martial arts school. He is also a highly regarded folk hero and supreme fighter. When an invitation arrives for him to participate in a tournament thrown by the Eagle Claw school, he humbly backs down, but his students convince him to at least show up as a spectator. With the whole school in tow of course. This is when the movie starts getting good, granted this is also less than ten minutes into the movie. I love action movie tournaments. No matter who's acting and how bad the movie, I usually find to-the-death tournaments redeeming. And this one is no exception. You see, the One-Armed Boxer isn't the only party who has received word of Eagle Claw's tournament. It seems that the blind badass is also aware of it, and is very interested. Interested enough to the point where he puts out order to a couple of foreigners to keep their eyes peeled during their participation.

Everybody loves a seedy foreigner, especially those with mastery over a fighting style that is not kung-fu. Of the three, my favorite was the indian yoga master. If the Street Fighter character Dhalsim was based on anyone, it would have to be this asshole. Like Djalsim, he had the ability to hyper-extend his arms, which made his holds almost impossible to break. Besides the darker complexion and being from India, that is really the only thing the two have in common. The other seedy foreigners are less exciting, but still pretty fuckin' rugged.

And so the tournament plays on. Style vs. style. With some special matches thrown in. These are the ones that I'm a fan of most of all. Even though the fighters were not that special, the post-and-blade match kicked the shit out of the other matches. The fighters, rope-master vs, blade master, were the two most boring styles in the whole tournament. No wonder they fought on such a cool playing field.

Eventually, the Master of the Flying Guillotine shows up and takes some heads, and this is when the drama in the movie really starts to kick in. He is not only out for One-Armed blood, he will take any head that gets in his blind way.

As i said, this movie is over-the-fuckin-top. Like any good KF flick, the plot is played out, and almost unecessary. It covers the plot basics: revenge, masters,technique, and a revenge. Oooops...Did I say "revenge" twice? Well , there are two different revenge scenerios. Double the fun. The wire-fu is present, but not over the top like some movies from this era. It is mostly used in outstanding jumps and some wall walking. The fighting was decent, not Bruce Lee standard, but decent. In movies like this the wire-fu an fantastic antics tend to make up for lousy fighting. But not in this case, the fighting sequences were good. It was a combination of all the elements mentioned that made this such a fun movie. As I keep saying...over-the-fuckin-top.

I should probably get around to watching the first One-Armed Boxer movie to get a better appreciation for the hero. Although I did root for him, I was really all about the Flying Guillotine.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Lone Wolf and Cub:The Late, Great Addiction

You would think that I man in his early 30's who has been reading comics for close to 30 years would know a little about everything "comic". Especially of a series that not only spawned 7 movies and 3 seasons of TV, but several re-releases and cover art by none other than Frank Miller. You would think it, because I would. The sad thing is I'm "that guy". How many out there right now are saying, "What?!? You just discovered a comic classic such as Lone Wolf and Cub?"? I've been saying the exact thing to myself for the past couple of weeks now. I do have a little shame. Just a tad.

It all started with my recently developed taste for Japanese cinema, especially of the 70's. I've always been a fan of Godzilla but I recently got a hold of Pinky Violence movies and I was sold. By recent, I mean close to a year ago. Since then, I have moved on to The Street Fighter with Sonny Chiba. That led to more movies of the Pinku genre and Yakuza trash. Within all that, I discovered Ogami Itto and Diagoro.

And that's when the love affair started.

At this point, I have seen 3 movies and 3 episodes of the series. Both ran at around the same time in Japan. I have read that people think that the series is truer to the real storyline. Unfortunately, I haven't read the manga yet, but that will all change by the end of the weekend. Thus far, I love both the movies and TV show, but I like the movies better for the fighting and brutality. I also think the camera shots are super-beautiful. And Ogami Itto tend s to massacre an entire army at the end of each movie, something not seen in the tv show. But you also have to think about budget. A television show is obviously going to have a lower budget. The television show does do the story justice within a 45 minute period though. I've seen the same story told twice already and both were impressive. Yeah, there wasn't nearly as much gore but it was still worthy of a gold star. The best part about the television show is that I'm going to be watching it far after I'm done with the movies. Thankfully, I have plenty of evenings, seeing as that I'm a lonely, single fuck who spends his nights between wasted at the bar and watching obscure movies in isolation. But enough about my pathetic life, I have an episode to watch before bed.

This is probably not going to be my last blog on the Subject of Lone Wolf and Cub. Once a person develops such a torrid love affair, they want nothing more than to tell the world

Friday, February 6, 2009

Lux Interior(1948-2009)

I first learned about the Cramps the way a lot of kids from my generation learn about weird bands...from watching Beavis and Butthead. I think it was somewhere around the first or second season that "Bikini Girls with Machine Guns" was one of the featured videos. I really can't recall what B & B's dialogue was, but I remember how cool the video was. Go-go dancers, psychedelic colors,drug references in the lyrics, that vintage rock was fuckin' everything I needed in a rock song. I immediatly went out and bought the record. It wasn't until later that i realized just how many albums the Cramps had, ones that were much better than my first purchase. That was about 15 years ago, and not a month has gone by that I haven't listened to the Cramps since then.

Lux Interior was not only responsible for bringing the sounds of rare 50's and 60's artists to the mainstream, he was also responsible for the birth of the psychobilly movement, and probably a good amount of rockabilly revivalists. We probably wouldn't have acts like Demented Are go or the Meteors if the Cramps didn't exist and Hasil Adkins probably would never have signed to Norton Records.

Not only was Lux a great inspiration to the punk world, he is probably one of the most powerful live performers I have ever seen. I don't think I'll ever get a chance to see a man in his mid-50's, wearing skin-tight pleather climbing a 15 foot stack of speakers again in my life. All of this while into a third bottle of wine. it was quite Impressive.

Lux's death is as important to me as Biggie's was to a kid from Bed-Stuy. For me and thousands, he is our Kurt Cobain. My heart goes out to Poison Ivy, his wife and bandmate of 37 years. I have a hard time dealing with myself after 34 years, I can't imagine living with another person for longer. Damn. Thats impressive.

And now I will celebrate this death as I celebrated his life....with loads of beer.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Corey Haim-Me, Myself, and I (1989)

( I know it's been over a week, but I can excuse this by the fact that I spent a rather long weekend in New England. I really have no excuse for the last couple of days, but who cares, it's my blog.)

Like most NYC residents who depend on public transportation to live there lives, I have an ipod. and being a cinemaphile, I tend to keep movies on my 80g classic, especially for those long, slightly sketchy Fung Wah rides I take every couple of months to Boston. I decided to start this latest trip off with a real winner, Corey Haim-Me,Myself, and I.

If you don't know anything about this hilarious piece of dogshit, let me give you a little history. Anybody that grew up in the 80's knows of the trials and tribulations of the two Corey's, Haim and Feldman. Not only did these assholes grace the cover of all the teenybopper, bean-flick trash mags like Tiger Beat, they also became quite notorious with the gossip rags. Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Former child stars have drug problems!

Who would have fuckin' guessed that? Didn't we learn anything from Danny Bonaducci? And who the fuck really cared? I didn't. i was too busy skateboarding and listening to Suicidal Tendencies while America cried and prayed for the lives of Hollywood's favorite fucksticks. But never fear, folks, the Corey's eventually got clean. The fat and flat-chested could finally breath a sigh of relief. Although, the world still wants to know, "what is Corey going to do without the drugs to make his hectic life happier?"

Me, myself, and i answers that very question. Corey put at this self-promotional short to let all his fans know he was doing better than okay, he was active along with sober. We get to watch Corey ice skate! Watch Corey skateboard! Watch Corey loung in the pool! Watch Corey butcher the english language and any chance he has of a Hollywood career. If there were ever an instructional video for "How to be a fucking tool", it would probably look pretty close to this.

I spent most of the movie looking away in embarrassment, but overall I found this 30 minute shit-piece slightly entertaining. One of the most hysterical moments is listening to Corey have a "romantic" thought and talk about how kissing makes him feel. Way to fuel the crotch-fire's for many a fat girls midnight fantasies! Thank the forces-that-be that you sank your own ship, fucklips.
I'm going to leave you with Corey, relaxing at home, telling the fans about the importance of staying positive and away from drugs. It's not hard to tell that he is clearly on drugs while relaying this important information to his quickly dwindling audience. What a dumbass.