Sunday, 23 February 2014

Graphic Thrills: American XXX Movie Posters, 1970 to 1985

Going back a few years, I was looking through my local Waterstones. I was having a browse in the Film and Television section. To my dismay all I could find were those uninspired "100 Films You Need To See Before You Die" books that seem to cover the same 100 (mainly dull) films over and over. On the flip side the more interesting books on world cinema, horror and exploitation were majorly overpriced. Just as I was giving hope, something caught my attentions. Something called Cinema Sewer? Upon closer inspection it was Cinema Sewer Volume 2. This was my introduction to the crazy and sleaze filled world of Robin Bougie... and of course one of the things that thankfully lead up to my corruption of innocence...

Fast forward to present day and Robin is a good friend of mine who's creative output I have immersed myself in for hours on end. I was recently given the honour getting a copy of his latest (and for some greatest) piece of work; Graphic Thrills: American XXX Movie Posters, 1970 to 1985. In a nutshell, what we have here is a collection of film posters from the golden age of adult cinema. Each poster shown in the book has been painstakingly collected and neatened up by Robin. Over 200 hours alone was purely spent neatening up the posters shown in the book. From the much loved classics of the time to underrated gems and of course some of the duds of the genre. No matter what the quality of the films themselves, one can't deny the fact that some of these posters are absolutely brilliant to behold. Robin has provided us with a fine selection of porn's classic posters... A lot of them I want to own myself and have on my walls!

Not only do we get a fine selection of art to behold but we are also treated to Robin's own thoughts, insights and research about the films, the people involved in the productions and of course information about the talents who spent hours putting paint on the canvases that would later be used to promote the skin flicks us sleaze hounds know and love. A lot those involved in the artwork are unknown or have completely distanced themselves from the beautiful work they have created. Robin has clearly put a lot of time, thought and what I can imagine to be strenuous hours of research in to the written part of the book and from what I have managed to read so far, that Bougie charm and passion we all know and adore shines right through in every sentence. The book isn't just a thing to behold but an equal pleasure to read.

With 144 pages, this is going to be one hell of an experience for those who read it. Not only will you find out about the art of classic poster design but you will also discover new films which is always a good. I know my want list is sky high just from the stuff I found so far in the book.  For those who are a fan of Robin Bougie's work, this is a must own. For those who are a fan of classic adult cinema, this is a must have. Even if classic porn isn't your thing but you love and the cherish the classic posters of the 1970's and 80's this is a must. Even you design hipsters out there.... You will enjoy this too. There is something for everyone and the bottom line is, fans of cult cinema in general, this is an essential document to own. Robin has put his heart and soul in to this and even that fact alone is amazing for me personally.

Overall, what you are getting is a beautifully presented and informative piece of art and reference. Again, the passion and knowledge of Robin is clearly evident. The book is fairly sizable and a great coffee table piece. Of course the paper stock is glossy and of high quality which really enhances the colour and detail of the posters included. There are two variations of this book you can pick up. The standard paperback version which is beautiful in itself but also (and still available as of writing this) a limited hardback version which is numbered and signed by Robin himself. No matter which version you pick up, you are definitely in for a treat.

You can purchase the paperback version here and the hardback version from here at the FAB Press store who printed and distributed it. You can also buy the hardcover version directly from Robin's own store here which means Robin gets more of the sale which always a good thing. You can of course find this in places like Amazon too.

No matter where you pick it up from, you are going to love it.

For more information about Robin, Cinema Sewer and his work in general check out his store, blog and of course his website. Also, check out the Cinema Sewer podcast on iTunes and Cinema Sewer on Facebook. Of course for more fantastic books on cult cinema, head over to the FAB Press website.

For a nicer look at the book, check out my video review here:


Monday, 10 February 2014

88 Films DVD Review: Doctor Mordrid (1992, Charles & Albert Band)

"Man Has Ancient Enemies..."

Following on from yesterday's post we are looking at the second title 88 Films were kind enough to send for review. This time we are looking at the Band father and son co directed film, Doctor Mordrid from 1992. Once again, to spare my readers with an inept attempt at giving you the synopsis, I will lazily copy and paste the information from the 88 Films page:

"Doctor Mordrid (JEFFERY COMBS; “Re-Animator”, “From Beyond”) has been  guarding the gates to the fourth dimension for over a century and now the signs are clear; his eternal foe, Kabal (BRIAN THOMPSON; “Cobra”, “Terminator”) has crossed over and is about to carry out his threat to destroy humankind.

It’s a battle between two sorcerers with boundless powers and only one man will reign in the end."

See, I'm not too much of a lazy bum, I changed the font and everything? Shall we just move on and find out what I thought of the film?

The story is the typical "Evil has been defeated and one man is in charge of making sure Earth is safe until shit goes down and our hero must once again banish the bad guy back to the pits wherever he was banished to" one we all know and love. You aren't going to have your mind blown with the story and how it unfolds but that's not always a bad thing because why fix something that isn't broken right? I have to say I did enjoy this piece of schlock but have seen this sort of film done a lot better but also done a Hell of a lot worse. The stand out performance for me is genre icon Jeffrey Combs who is great as our protagonist. That's not to say everyone else doesn't put in a good performance, Brian Thompson is great to behold as he mostly always is and the love interest played by Yvette Nipar is solid too. All round, very well acted and doesn't dive too much in to the overly campy territory films like this usually do.

Once again, the star of the show for me is Steve Allen's fantastic stop motion animation. Just like Robot Wars, the main visual spectacle just didn't seem long enough but the miniature work was terrific. I have a real soft spot for miniature work, it's a shame computers have wrecked that for most motion pictures. I know, I'm a sucker for that sort of stuff but it genuinely fascinates me, especially when it's done like this. Aside from that, the rest of the effects are great too. 

Overall, Mordrid is a solid film but just lacks something, maybe a slightly bigger budget. In terms of cheesy sci-fi action, there's enough there for you to keep interested and if you're a fan of Jeffrey Combs you will definitely get a kick out of it. Just like the Robot Wars disc, you get a nice making of featurette, a trailer for Mordrid and various trailers for other titles (that are from what I gather the same as Robot Wars). You get some nice reversible art too which always a nice touch. 88 Films have done another good job but I would say, if you already own this title, you may want to swerve this release but if you are a fan or have never seen the film before, it's a good way to experience the film.

For more information on this film and release check out the 88 Films page. You can also find out more over on the IMDB and Wikipedia pages. 

The film will be released on the 17th February and can be pre-ordered HERE.


Sunday, 9 February 2014

88 Films DVD Review: Robot Wars (1993, Albert Band)

"First there was ROBOT JOX..."

 It feels good to get back in to the groove of actually reviewing stuff up on the blog for a change. The kind folks at 88 Films sent me a few discs recently. The first of the trio of titles I am going to be looking at over these next few days is the 1993 Albert Band directed, Robot Wars. When I was quickly skipping through the titles when I first received them, this flick looked so fantastically bad that I had to watch it first. What did I think of this robotic romp in the desert? Well let me tell you bub!

Basically all you need to know about the actual story is this synopsis taken from the 88 Films website itself:

"Toward the end of the 21st Century two great powers dominated the world, a division that resulted from a 30-year war known as the War of the Hemispheres. The war came to an end with the creation of giant, indestructible mega-robots, the MRAS-2, designed for military missions and balance of power.
 Recently, the mega-robot has become a tourist attraction and is used for tours through the wasteland. While on one such tour, the MRAS-2 is attacked by an extremely violent terrorist group known as the Murdaggians. Their leader turns out to be a frequent passenger on the mega-robot, Professor B. Wa-Lee, who hijacks the MRAS-2. The only hope to stop the Murdaggians is Lane Drury, the robot's pilot. But can he do it in time..."

Yeah, that's a bit of a cop out me literally copying and pasting but it sums up the film much better than I could and lets face it, you don't really watch this sort of cheese for the story.... Right? Guys? Where are you going!?

The biggest draw to this film is obviously the giant robots kicking the living crap (or the robotic equivalent) out of each other. The practical effects and the stop motion in this film are fantastic. Sure, elitists will laugh and mock but you know what? There's actual hard work gone in to these effects, and I have the say the jerky stop motion movement of the robots is downright creepy but that's just me. Watching the making of included in the disc, it's great to see how it was all put together. Now as much as I loved these scenes, I do have a big problem... WE NEEDED MORE!!!! I could have spent the whole film focused on these action sequences because I loved them.

The characters in the film itself are likable (which is actually never a problem with me in films... sometimes directors don't want you to always get to know the character properly you know). I especially loved Don Michael Paul who was cheesy, funny and all round the star of the show. His interactions with Barbara Crampton were funny and cringe worthy but again, what do you expect from a Full Moon sci-fi flick from the 90's? Speaking of Barbara Crampton (...and cheesy 90's Full Moon sci-fi), unfortunately for you sleazehounds out there, there's no boobage on show... it is a PG rated film you know, sickos. Why that would ever be a problem for some of my viewers... I... erm... will never know.

Overall, the film itself was enjoyable but I am genuinely disappointed that there wasn't more emphasis on the robots battling. In terms of special features you do get the making of which is worth a watch especially if you want to learn about the special effects. You also get a trailer as well as 10 other trailers for other 88 Films titles which is a nice treat because I do appreciate a good trailer (although I don't think I will be purchasing any of Charles's lack luster trailer compilations). You also get reversible artwork which is always nice. For the price, it's a nice little investment but I wouldn't say it's for everybody. 88 Films have done another nice job with this one.

If you want to know more about this film head on over to the 88 Films page, IMDB and Wikipedia pages. The film will be released on the 17th of February and can be ordered here.

Hopefully you will join me for the next review...
You know what? If you don't, I'm going to get my giant kick ass robot scorpion!


Friday, 7 February 2014

23rd Century DVD Review: 2019: The Fall Of New York (1983, Sergio Martino)

"In The Year 2019, The Future Depends on One Man."

 I have been writing a lot recently and have been involved in other projects so once again, the blog gets neglected. Recently received some review discs so I thought I would give the blog a little more attention. Before I get in to those films however, I thought I would have a look at another title released by my favourite grey market distributor. This time we look at a title from a sub genre that I have never really been (chemically) burnt with. That is of course the post-apocalyptic genre, more specifically the European efforts from the late 70's and early 80's. The film I'm looking at today is Sergio Martino's fantastic 2019: The Fall of New York. As with most of these reviews, won't go too much in to detail with the story because I'm sure if you're reading this, this is a film you have already seen or at least heard of in great detail. If not, I don't want to ruin the film for you!

In a nutshell, the film is obviously set in the year 2019. There has been a nuclear war and as a result of this and the powers that be, it's all gone to shit. To make matters worse, there is an infection which prevents the lovely infected survivors from creating new life. Our hero played by Michael Sipkow is sent on a mission to find a fertile woman who has been reported to exist in New York. Ok, I'm not going to win a Rondo for that synopsis but there is so much happening in this film that I would be here for a week just covering the madness and mayhem. Let me just say it's kinda like Children of Men on the best acid you will take in your life with added facial hair (I'm looking at you George Eastman). What you are going to get here is a story that's fairly solid but this is a cheap exploitation cheese fest so that's going to play second fiddle to other aspects of the film.

First off, the set design is amazing in this film. The miniature sets are some of the coolest (for me anyway) I have seen. Sure, they aren't going to knock your socks off if you are one of those Hollywood types who think a film produced 90% on a multi-million dollar effects software and hardware set up is the only way to go but for people like me who aren't elitist arseholes and enjoy actual fun, you will totally dig them. The opening sequence is great. The combination of miniatures and the score provided by the De Angelis Brothers is what makes being a cult film fan so enjoyable. The costumes are your typical affair, you know, civilians wearing scraps that make them look like punks and the bad guys who look like they're wearing the early concepts of Star Wars costumes that should have been used in the actual film. Again, elitists need not comment.

What else do we have? We have cars that are decked out in tin foil and spikes, George Eastman playing as "Big Ape" who looks, well, just look at the above photo, a self sacrificing dwarf, futuristic knights on futuristic.... horses, campy laser sounds, uber violence and... No... I have said too much. You can watch this film on Youtube so if you don't have it on disc, there's no excuse for you not to watch this piece of post-apocalyptic cheesefest. The 23rd Century disc has a really nice transfer (the screen grabs I have provided do it no justice), this was a nice surprise as we know most of 23rd Century's discs are fuzzy VHS prints. You know me by now, VHS quality is never a bad thing but I did really like seeing a nice transfer. I'm not sure what the Shriek Show disc is like but if you don't want to remortgage your house picking that release up, the 23rd Century disc is a great addition to your collection... You cheap mutant bastard!