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Watchlist: Schlock. Art. Experiment. Whatever.

ABBY (1974) The late director William Girdler was very active in the exploitation field for some time before his death in 1979 (he died in a helicopter accident). The concept of melding brooding Blackploitational epics with the new budding EXORCIST genre, and making a film as competent - and at times intelligent - as ABBY strikes me as both novel and audacious. (von hier

ALUCARDA (1975) is one of the rare instances in Mexican horror which doesn't feature a masked, wrestling do-gooder pinning monsters to the mats and fending off hoards of killer dwarves. On the contrary, what we are presented is an intelligently crafted story of two women seeking their individual sexuality. They must fight against society which is oddly structured within a devil-possession and crazy-nuns-on-the-loose film. Director Juan López Moctezuma may be better known to you as the producer of Alejandro Jodorowsky's classic psychodelic western EL TOPO (1972) as well as directing the equally bizarre LA MANSIÓN DE LA LOCURA/"The Mansion of Madness"/DR. TARR'S TORTURE GARDEN (1972) (von hier

L'ANTICRISTO (1974) Alberto De Martino's amazing L'ANTICRISTO was a favorite second and third billing in many a drive-in here in the States, even though the best scenes were snipped by sweaty-palmed censors. Always a man who was able to make a film look better than its budget would generally allow, De Martino fashioned one of the most original and best-looking of the EXORCIST clones. The film is quenched with dramatic cinematography, decent acting from all involved, guileful special effects, and a restrained though exhilarating score by Ennio Morriconne with Bruno Nicoloi. (von hier)

THE BED (1968) The film's central image is arresting and hilariously absurd--an empty bed is traveling leisurely down a hill as if it were a car. Eventually it settles in a meadow and becomes the locus of all manner of strange scenarios and woodland trysts. Characters--mostly naked--appear suddenly on its sheets. Broughton pops in as a kind of laughing Pan, sitting nude in a tree serenading a series of revelers. He ridicules conventional rituals when a woman arrives and officiously begins making up the bed. More typical, though, are the polymorphous pleasures of wriggling bodies apparently liberated by the bed. (von hier; cf. übrigens: Death Bed: The Bed that Eats

BEGOTTEN (1991) A film by E. Elias Merhige. This is an original, bizarre and unique film from E. Elias Merhige. It's shot in an unusual grainy black and white, which gives the film a unique feel. There is no dialogue but the ambience of sound is eerie. The film begins with a withering creature cutting itself with a razor and giving birth to another creature. (von hier)

BLACK SHAMPOO (1975), written and directed by Greydon Clark, refashions Warren Beatty's libido-drenched hairdresser into John Daniels' "Mr. Jonathan," a good-natured "sex machine" in safari shirts and jump suits who's equally adept at wash-and-sets and writhing naked with his female customers on tacky satin sheets. (von hier)

JEAN GENET'S CHANT D'AMOUR (1950) (no dialogue) French production, black and white; long-suppressed film, directed by Jean Genet (author of LADY OF THE FLOWERS and other erotic gay lit); starring Java, Andre Reybaz and Lucien Senemaud; a homosexual view of prison life (explicit nudity) (40 min); (von hier)

ESTORVO (2000) Totally bizarre thriller about a man who wakes up one morning to discover that he is being chased without apparent motive - but is he? The fact that it was filmed mostly in Cuba with a Cuban cast trying to speak Portuguese makes it even stranger; Brazil/Cuba/Portugal co-production; in Portuguese with English subtitles; starring Jorge Perugorria (STRAWBERRY AND CHOCOLATE), Bianca Byington, Leonor Arocha; directed by Ruy Guerra; also known as TURBULENCE (von hier)

GANGSTERS (2002) French production, in French with English subtitles; fantastic crime/police drama with excellent performances by Richard Anconina and Anne Parillaud (LA FEMME NIKITA, INNOCENT BLOOD); unsuspecting police detectives go undercover to expose some corrupt Parisian cops; violent and gritty; written and directed by actor Olivier Marchal. (von hier)

GANGSTER STORY (Eng) (1960) Walter Matthau directs (and stars in) an ugly crime-noir film about a very bad criminal and the woman (Carol Grace) who tries to change him; also starring Bruce McFarlan and Garrett Wallberg; THE GOSSIP- Supposedly Matthau was so deep into the mob for gambling debts, he made this film to pay them off; (von hier)

GANJA AND HESS (1972) fully uncut version (110 min); black horror film directed by Bill Gunn; a vampire movie that says more about African-America history, identity, spirituality and sexual politics than most any other 'serious' film; starring Marlene Clark, Duane Jones, Betty Barney, Tara Fields, and Candece Tapley; also known as BLOOD COUPLE (edited version), BLACK EVIL, BLACK VAMPIRE, MOMENT OF TERROR, DOUBLE POSSESSION and VAMPIRES OF HARLEM; (von hier)

The GAY DECEIVERS (1969) pop-art cult comedy; directed by Bruce Kessler (this print is in English with Spanish subtitles); starring Kevin Coughlin, Lawrence P Casey, Brooke Bundy, Jo Ann Harris and Jack Starrett; to avoid getting drafted, two straight boys pretend to be homosexuals;  (von hier)

GETTING ANY LATELY? (1995) Japanese production, with English subtitles; an incredible cockeyed comedy written and directed by Beat Takeshi Kitano; starring Dankan, Beat Takeshi Kitano and Akio Yokoyama; a man is obsessed with the idea of "having sex in a car" but first he must get a car (not to mention a girl)... this leads to lots of problems-- robbing a bank, joining the yakuza, becoming an invisible man and eventually turning into a giant fly! original Japanese title MINNA YATTERUKA?!; (von hier)

GHASTLY ONES (1969) a gory, gruesome tale of revenge; directed by Andy Milligan; starring Eileen Hayes, Don Wiliams, Carol Vogel, Richard Ramos, Neil Flanagan and Ann Linden; all the heirs to an island estate are getting a meatcleaver in their heads; also known as BLOOD RITES; (von hier) 

GREASER'S PALACE (1972) A film by Robert Downey Sr. Greaser's Palace is a comical, chaotic, absurdist and surreal religious parody. It's like El Topo meets The Life of Brian. Alan Arrbus plays a strange messiah-like zoot-suited actor/singer/dancer called Jessy, who one day parachutes into a field close to a Western town where a host of odd characters hang out, the main one being a constipated chap called Seaweedhead Greaser, who runs the titular saloon.(von hier)

HUDUTLARIN KANUNU (1966) In 1966 when a record number of 240 films was produced, the actor Yilmaz Güney produced his first film "At, Avrat, Silah" (Horse, Woman and Gun) and Lütfi Akad created "Hudutlarin Kanunu" (The Law of the Borders) in which Yilmaz Güney both acted and wrote the script. This film is considerd the most important in the history of the Turkish film industry.  (von hier)

KANUN NAMINA (1952) Lütfi Akad's film "Kanun Namina" (In the Name of the Law), made in 1952, was a milestone in Turkish cinema. The characters portrayed the events and natural surroundings of this true-to-life film which was a new breath in Turkish film-making. It was chosen as the "Best Film" in 153 at the 1st Turkish Film Festival organized by the "Friends of the Turkish Films Association."  (von hier)

KARMEN GEI (2001) Joseph Gaï Ramaka Yet Karmen Geï is the first African Carmen and, arguably, the first African filmed "musical." Accordingly, Gaï Ramaka has completely replaced Bizet's score and the usual staging with indigenous Senegalese music and choreography: Doudou N'Diaye Rose's sabar drummers, Julien Jouga's choir, El Hadj Ndiaye's songs and Yandé Coudou Sène's prophetic voice. Saxophonist David Murray's contemporary jazz score runs like a thread of unfulfilled desire through the film. (von hier

LIQUID SKY (1982) is one "cult classic" that deserves the name. Russian emigré filmmaker Slava Tsukerman's first and last-to-date feature recasts Weimar Germany — with its attendant androgyny, drugs, and general air of apocalypse — as a New York New Wave nightmare. (von hier)

O LUCKY MAN (2003) Great looking Thai sex comedy! In Thai with English subtitles (which may be hard to read at times, but the film is very east to follow); a businessman, developing a dream machine, enters into a pact with god but with unexpected consequences; fun, sexy and filled with beautiful women, the film is thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish; highly recommended; starring Sam Chotibund, Lila Boonyasak, Jutarat Atthakorn, Ackarat Nitipol. (von hier)

MIX-UP ou MELI-MELO (1985) A film by Françoise Romand. The premise for a 60-minute documentary: Two female babies were mixed-up at birth by mistake in England in 1936, and we are told the story through all the people involved. (...) Each of these scenes is carefully set up with people walking into shot and out again and then in the background. Indeed, most of the scenes in this unorthodox gem of a film are structured in different ways. It's unusual that an all-French crew made a documentary film about English people in England. The end credits are appropriately playful, with each of the crew entering the frame from below onto some scales and smiling and waving, then returning from where they came. (von hier)

MOTORAMA (1991) A film by Barry Shils: This film follows the adventures of a ten year-old kid named Gus, who drives a red Ford Mustang across some fictional states with names like Tristana (A tribute to Buñuel's film, perhaps?), Essex & South Lyndon, in search of eight elusive Motorama game cards from various gas stations. The film has a surreal feel to it because a lot of the things are unusual, like the money for instance, which is like blank paper with numbers on. Most of the characters are nasty to Gus on his trip. They tattoo him, punch him, but this doesn't stop the kid on his relentless quest. Some oddball actors like David Lynch incumbent Jack Nance, Meat Loaf & Flea also make appearances. (von hier)

NO ARAWAK 1-24 (2003) A film by Geoffrey Fallthuis It is a examination of structural organisation, displaying images of numbers in Manchester City Centre, interspersed with images of the activities of Geoffrey Fallthuis and appliances in his home - from him sleeping in bed during the night, to waking up and having a shower, opening the curtains, preparing breakfast, turning on the computer, having a smoke, as well as other chores. All this is structured in a 24 x 24 grid, with each shot on screen for exactly one second. That's 576 shots in the film. The number shots gradually reduce until we see all the shots in Fallthuis' home. (mehr hier)

ONG-BAK (2003) This Thai production is being hailed as the greatest martial arts movie of all time! With REAL fight scenes, incredible action and stunning visuals! The plot has something to do with the stolen head from a sacred Buddha statue, but that really isn't the point of it all; this is a martial arts film in its purest form; in Thai with English subtitles; starring Phanom Yeerum and Mum Jok Mok; directed by Prachya Pinkaew. (von hier)

PARADISE CALLING (1991) Gorgeous Arielle Dombasle (from Pauline At The Beach) directs & stars in sexy film about a woman who runs away from her rich - but abusive - husband to become entangled in a strange religious cult & torrid love affair; also with Omar Sharif; (von hier)

PARIAH (1972) (French w/Eng subs) directed by Jose Giovanni directs; Portrayal of tough and cool Euro criminal Roberto Borgo (Jean-Paul Belmondo) and his reign of terror in the '30's; also starring Claudia Cardinale and Gerard Depardieu; original French title LA SCOUMOUNE (the Hitman) (von hier)

PASSION'S FLOWER (1992) directed by Joe D'Amato (Aristide Massaccesi); starring Kristine Rose, Robert Labrosse, Kristie Frischhertz, Jack Ciolino and Laura Gemser (in a cameo as a prostitute gives special lip service to the hero); before slipping into to a steady diet of interchangable hardcore productions, Massaccesi directed this tensely evil erotic thriller about a jealous husband who hires a gang of thugs to teach a lesson to his wife and her lover... but things soon get out of hand; also known as PASSION; (von hier)

SEYTAN (1979) Before I close this exploration of 70's post-EXORCIST films, I would like to point out a movie which is, if you are as fascinated by the subject as I truly am, a wonder to behold. In searching for material, I was sent a video of Turkish origin. Maybe the correct way of describing it is that this movie is a true counterfeit of Friedkin's film. A doppleganger, if you care to take it further. Unlike ABBY or UN URLO NELLE TENEBRE which were heavily inspired by the '73 film, SEYTAN/"Satan" (D: Metin Erksan) steals scene per scene (and I am not making this up!) - and possibly word for word - almost every important and non-important aspect of THE EXORCIST right down to similar camera angles and, of course, Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" score. The difference is, considering that Turkey is predominately an Islamic country, the demon and the clerics are Islamic. (von hier)

Roger Corman’s TEENAGE DOLL (1957) gives us a wonderfully economical, almost anthropological view of the grrrls in their natural habitat — the street. Corman does far more with this material than might be imagined, thanks to a superior script by Charles Griffith and stunning noirish black-and-white photography by Floyd Crosby (who shot Murnau’s Tabu in 1931). (von hier)

TENDER FICTIONS (1995) typifies Hammer's sometimes dazzling formalism, and like much of her work, it demands, and rewards, a close reading. The film is built from a vast array of raw materials: scratchy home movies; snapshots; voiceovers from academic texts; interviews; skewed television programs; interviews with family and friends and a string of ex-girlfriends. (von hier)

THUNDERCRACK (1975) In 1975, George Kuchar collaborated with the late gay filmmaker Curt McDowell for one of the underground's best-known titles, Thundercrack!, a lewd sendup of the "old dark house" genre from 1930s Hollywood, which George co-wrote and acted in. (von hier)

VICTIM (1961) Basil Dearden. Victim is on one level a classic “liberal problem picture,” attempting to use cinema to explore a pressing issue of the day. But unlike most such films, this one is so intricately plotted and well acted that the topical elements never overtake the drama. This is no small accomplishment given the film’s clear polemical objective of calling attention to the injustice of jailing gay men simply for being gay. (mehr hier)

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