26 January, 2009

THE BEST OF 2008: MICHEL LEMOINE in LA STRADA PER FORT ALAMO


Directed by "John Old"



The bare shoulders of Jany Clair, fetish queen in a glittering mise-en-scene



Miles Deem was the Art Director!


Gerard Herter [eaten by CALTIKI, THE IMMORTAL MONSTER] gets caught cheating at cards



"I have done well..." Michel Lemoine in ROAD TO FORT ALAMO.

Thanks to Squonkmatic I just caught up with another of the best DVD's of 2008, Koch Media's R2 disc of Mario Bava's rarely seen first foray into the Spaghetti Western genre, LA STRADA PER FORT ALAMO (1964). Viewed in its 2.35:1 OAR the Totalscope compositions of Ubaldo Terzano and Bava are stunning. Given it's a cardboard western spray painted with phosphorescent liquid plastic, filmed in Italy on absurd, Ulmeresque sets {Art Direction by minimalist SW auteur Demofilo Fidani!], with a corny theme song [by Piero Umiliani!] which is beyond my ken...

But then there are the bare shoulders of frequent CFFP queen Jany Clair...

And Michel Lemoine, the Demon from Jess Franco's SUCCUBUS, as the psycho-villain...

Clair and Lemoine also appeared together in the essential PLANETS AGAINST US (1962).

There's a scene in this where Lemoine freaks out and guns down an old lady during a bank robbery. It's just the wildest moment in terms of unpredictability and Euro-bis energy. Actually there's a similar scene in Fidani's first western, STRANGER MAKE THE SIGN OF THE CROSS (1968), which is kind of a crazier remake of this with BLOOD AND BLACK LACE actor Massimo Righi as the robber freaking out during a wild west bank heist.

I should also mention that Eurospy favorite Ken Clark is the lead, "Bud Massedy", a nice guy gone bad. You get it. Look for Gerard Herter, the mad archaeologist who got his arm eaten by the titular CALTIKI IL MOSTRO IMMORTALE, in an uncredited bit as a card shark. Always good to see this impressive actor who got so convincingly devoured by the blob in the 1959 Riccardo Freda-Mario Bava B sci fi memory!

You can watch this in original Italian with English subs and there's a featurette with Lamberto Bava wo English language options. Highly recommended for collectors of obscure Spaghetti Westerns/Mario Bava titles. And definitely worth checking out for Lemoine, those shoulders, and the incredibly fake looking settings which seem to shimmer with negative capacity.

Co-produced by CFFP: Comptoir Francais du Film Production (Paris)!

Remember, this blog remains dedicated to reviewing all the films of Michel Lemoine and all the CFFP/Robert De Nesle productions.

[Der Ritt nach Alamo
Koch Media (July 11, 2008) (76mins)
2,35:1 anamorphic widescreen, PAL
German (some scenes in It. w/ German subtitles), Italian
Subtitles: German, English options
Featurette with Lamberto Bava, film historian Antonio Tentori-13m
Italian trailer, Gallery]

(c) Robert Monell 2009



23 January, 2009

2009: EDGAR ALLAN POE'S BICENTENNIAL


From death at 40 to Immortality...





Semi-Poe...



Howard Vernon's Dr. Eric Usher...


I didn't get the chance to post on that day but Jan. 19th 2009 was the 200th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, the greatest, and most influential, horror/science fiction/mystery/detective fiction writer in the English language, and perhaps in any language. In his short [40 year] lifespan he managed to create genres and forms which expanded literature in the 19th, 20th and 21st Centuries. In terms of fantastic/fantasy/Gothic cinema he is probably the most adapted of all writers. What I find interesting is that in many cases the films which stray farthest from the original stories in terms of plotting, or aren't Poe adaptations at all (Riccardo Freda's 1962 L'ORRIBLE SEGRETO DEL DOTTORE HICHCOCK comes most readily to mind), are sometimes closer in spirit to Poe than the more literal adaptations.

Filmmakers have attempted to recreate his worlds since the silent era. Of course, the popular 1960's Roger Corman/AIP series was a mainstay of my wayward youth. Poe couldn't be more relevant to the subject of this blog considering the Jess Franco Poe inspired films of the 70s, 80s and 1990s.

The best known JF Poe adaptation is probably EL HUNDIMIENTO DE LAS CASA USHER aka LOS CRIMENES DE USHER/NEVROSE/NEUROSIS/REVENGE IN THE HOUSE OF USHER. This controversial 1983 effort presents us with a radically different viewing experience depending on which of the alternate versions you see.

This week I re watched a R2 disc I had [thanks to Francesco Cesari] of the Spanish language version, clocking in at under 80m. I now think this may be one of the closest cinematic equivalents [in terms of being in the spirit of...] to Poe in terms of style and thematic evolution. And it makes a fascinating double bill with Corman's 1960 AIP version. I'll have a lot more to say on the versions and my thoughts on this film, Franco's other Poe films and other Poe film adaptations throughout 2009, Poe's Bicentennial.

(c) Robert Monell, 2009




17 January, 2009

LA COMTESSE NOIRE Versions: LUSTERNDE VAMPIRE IM SPERMARAUSCH


2001 X RATED KULT DVD version





Even male lead Jack Taylor wonders: Which version is which?!




A confused Ramon Ardid is the hotel masseur who gets a full service blow job by the Countess Irina in the hardcore versions while in others just gets teased before it cuts to his body being carried away by helpful female vampire butler Luis Barboo!



How many versions are there of the 1973 Jess Franco project best known as FEMALE VAMPIRE? COUNTLESS!

Filmed under the title, LA COMTESSE NOIRE, as a non hardcore erotic vampire film set on the island of Madeira, this popular title had alternate scenes shot of bloody vampire attacks (for EROTIKILL) and still later hardcore scenes were added for that market. Franco/Eurocine obviously wanted different versions for different venues.

I'm going to attempt to do a single blog on each and every version I have on video/DVD or have heard about.

LUSTERNDE VAMPIRE IM SPERMARAUSCH [onscreen title]: version under EROTIKILL/LADY DRACULA 2 on the X RATED KULT DVD BOX #24/ LAUFZEIT GESAMT: 105+9 Minuten
Deutsch [German language] Dolby
Dolby Stereo
1.2.35:1
Code 2/Europa

Extras: Trailers for Jean Rollin's ZOMBIE LAKE; JF's DIAMONDS OF KILIMANJARO (tinted); MONDO CANNIBAL; others.

This version contains all the hardcore footage but none of the straight bloodsucking footage seen in EROTIKILL [Force Video] and in the IMAGE FV extras folder.

VIDEO: Fair. Soft, generally unsharp, somewhat faded color, visible print damage.
AUDIO: Fair to poor- The most unusual, and annoying, aspect of this presentation is that the German dubbers have added various sounds made by the supposedly mute Countess Irina, she goes "Uh...", "Oh..." and "Umm...", moans and emits other atmosphere destroying noises. Why this was done is beyond me. She's supposed to be completely silent! At least the movie works best that way.

I would be interested to know how many distinct versions of LA COMTESSE NOIRE blog readers have in their own collections and which are the favored ones. Don't try to collect them all. Remember, there's a recession on!





13 January, 2009

TORREJON CITY: DVD debut of rare Leon Klimovsky western


Leon Klimovsky's 1962 R2 DVD debuted on R2 DVD in Spain last month...



Wanted on R1 DVD! EL LLANERO/THE JAGUAR, Jess Franco's 1963 Venezuelan "Western"...



Leon Klimovsky's rarely seen 1962 Spanish comedy-western TORREJON CITY is now available on PAL R2 DVD from Vellavision. This is the first ever DVD presentation of this title of which I am aware.

The film features popular Spanish comedian Tony Leblanc as Tim el Malo.

Technical specs look pretty basic with a 4:3 presentation in Spanish language only and no supplements. Video and audio quality are up in the air at this point but it's good nonetheless to have this very early Spanish western on DVD. Klimovsky directed another 9 Spanish lensed westerns from the early 60's into the 1970's.

It would be very nice to have R1 DVD presentations of former Klimovsky collaborator Jess Franco's equally obscure Spanish western related work: the two 1954 "El Coyote" films he co-wrote and co-directed with Joaquin Romero Marchent, EL COYOTE and LA JUSTICIA DEL COYOTE, based on the Zorro-like stories of Jose Mallorqui Figueroa; a complete version of Marchent's Franco-scripted LA VENGANZA DEL ZORRO (1962) and Franco's own EL LLANERO (1963) featuring a very hot Silvia Sorente (CASTLE OF BLOOD).

I'll try to include a review of the TORREJON CITY DVD by myself or one of our Spanish correspondents in the near future.

[Technical specs from the DVDGO site]
Ficha Técnica
Director León Klimovsky
Actores Tony Leblanc, May Heatherly, Mara Laso, Mary Begoña, Antonio Garisa, Venancio Muro, Xan das Bolas
Duración 79 min
Distribuidor VellaVision
Discos 1
Región 2
Video Pal
4:3
Idiomas Audio Dolby Digital 5.1: Español . Dolby Digital 2.0: Español

TORREJON CITY can be ordered from www.dvdgo.com

Thanks to Nzoog for additional information on this film and DVD release.







08 January, 2009

THE EROTIC AND PAINFUL OBSESSIONS OF JESS FRANCO CD


New CD containing Gerhard Heinz scores for three Jess Franco films!



Sandwoman in EUGENIE, UNA HISTORIA UNA PERVERSION...



Ricardo Bofill's hallucinatory structures are the setting for EUGENIE, UNA HISTORIA UNA PERVERSION/LOLITA AM SCHEIDEWEG (1980), the Gerhard Heinz score for the German version is one of the three soundtracks on this collection.




Go to www.allscore.de/ for more infomation.


CD / ASM 028

distributed by Indigo:
(#92067-2)

OUT JANUARY 2009!
CD € 13,90 /





THE EROTIC AND PAINFUL OBSESSIONS OF
JESS FRANCO

3 Scores by Gerhard Heinz

Eugenie (Historia de una perversión)
Bloody Moon
Linda

One artist is the obsessed filmmaker Jesús “Jess” Franco, whose work consists of more than 170 films. Most of these films fall in the category of “exploitation”. His work triggers highly controversial debates, mainly because of his addiction to the topics sex and violence. Nevertheless he received the most important Spanish film award “Goya” for his lifework in 2008.
The other one is the Austrian film music composer Gerhard Heinz, who is famous for over 100 original film music scores (frequently erotic) in the Sixties, such as “Schoolgirls” or “The Naked Countess”, honoured with gold and platinum records in Southeast Asia.
Both started to work on the same projects in 1980/81 during three different film productions for the distribution company “Lisa Film” (Without meeting each other personally).

This is about the two softsex flicks “Linda” and “Eugenie (Historia de una perversión)” (both with pretty young actress Katja Bienert) and the slasher movie “Bloody Moon” (starring Olivia Pascal), which ranks among the most famous samples of the gory genre. By modern standards hardly imaginable this movie had its own photo story in Germany’s most popular teen magazine “Bravo”, but later in the Eighties it became one shining example in the “video-nasties” discussion.

This (virtual) cooperation, characterized by a lack of time and money, resulted three soundtracks which represent the zeitgeisty musical styles (disco!) and the atmosphere at the film sets, namely “beach, sun and happiness”, as well as the genre-specific elements sex and horror. For the musical realization Gerhard Heinz accessed a wide range of genres and instrumentations, from typical stomping disco songs (each of them could have become a summer hit in the 80s!) over romantic (sl)easy listening tracks, partly influenced by Spanish folk music or Samba, to orchestral suspense parts, which together with the skilled use of synthesizers develop the thrill to the maximum.

As Gerhard Heinz did a great job it’s been easy to compile 23 unique and distinctive tracks for this CD. They convert the listener’s imagery into the weird world of Jess Franco, but at the same time – liberated from its in part unbearable synchronized dialogues and moans – can stand alone perfectly.

As always this Allscore CD is designed elaborately and contains notes by Katja Bienert and Gerhard Heinz as well as an interview with the composer, all in German and English language, also images of film posters and stills.

All titles are previously unreleased (except one which appeared on a late 70s disco soundtrack LP).

Real fans will find further tracks of the three films, which haven’t been compiled for the CD, in several music download shops in the internet (February 2009).




Tracklisting:

EUGENIE ((HISTORIA DE UNA PERVERSIÓN)
01. Autofahrt (Theme) 2:03
02. Wieder am Swimmingpool 4:06
03. Alba und Lolita
1:33
04. Lolita und der Teddybaer
1:03
05. Alberto und Alba 2:37
06. Gespraech am Vorhang 2:23
07. Der Traum - zweite Phase 4:22
08. Versuchung auf der Terasse
4:00
09. Schlussmusik 1:59
BLOODY MOON
10. Intro
0:47
11. Holiday Feeling
3:02
12. Disco Nights
2:18
13. Die Saege des Todes Suite
2:09
14. Disko alternativ
2:33
15. Samba Tropical 3:09
16. Bungalow 13 3:02
17. Schock 0:18
LINDA
18. Titelmusik Rio Amore 2:55
19. Im Strandcafe 2:11
20. Verfolgung am Strand 1:07
21. Panorama 1:00
22. Betsy und Ron 3:23
23. Die Maedchen im Kloster - Filmversion 4:11


(C) text from allscore.de








05 January, 2009

GOODBYE TO EDMUND PURDOM (1924-2009)


From Jess Franco to...

*
...Joe D'Amato, Edmund Purdom worked with the two most prolific creators of European Trash Cinema [*Original Italian advert for THE MONSTER HUNTER]




Narrated by Edmund Purdom, one of a number of "Mondo" type films to which he lent his voice...




"It's The Dean!"




Michael Curtiz's 1954 epic redefined "wooden"....




In this personal favorite Purdom hunted a homicidal genetic mutant played by "George Eastman"




Prudom had a busy 50 year career with roles in many genres...




Ready to kick butt!




Fitting right into the Poliziotteschi genre as Luigi, the brutal Mafia boss in MR. SCARFACE (US title), Purdom used even more greasy hair cream than nemesis Jack Palance!



As Teddy, an Internal Affairs investigator, Purdom had an unnerving smile plastered on his face throughout this sleazy, obscure 1974 Paolo Lombardo contribution to his Poliziotteschi filmography.




Edmund was definitely over-the-top as the demented King Sveno in this Mario Bava/Giacomo Gentilomo Vichingo.



Edmund Purdom, the British stage, screen and voice actor passed away at the age of 84on Jan. 1, 2009 in Rome, Italy. After appearing on stage in England as a performer in Olivier's company he came to Hollywood where he made his film debut [uncredited] in TITANIC (1953), ironically, according to the IMDB, his last work was as a voice actor in TITANIC: THE ANIMATED MOVIE (2001).

Some will remember him for his early roles in such early 1950's Hollywood spectacles as THE STUDENT PRINCE and THE EGYPTIAN. He seemed rather stiff and uncomfortable in those. I think he was much more suited to (and seemed to be having a lot more fun with) the wide variety of roles he later played in numerous European B genre films. These include Riccardo Freda's 1957 thriller AGGUATO A TANGERI, where he delivers a quite dull performance, the Giacomo Gentilomo-Mario Bava adventure LAST OF THE VIKINGS, in which he atrociously overacts as the mad King Sveno, to the murderous Dean in the notorious PIECES (1981). Then there were the two Jess Franco films in which he appeared opposite William Berger: as Admiral Marlowe UN CAPITAN DE QUINCE ANOS (1972) and as Inspector Crosby LOS OJOS SINIESTROS DEL DOCTOR ORLOFF (1973). A few years ago I recorded an unpublished interview with one of the other actors in Franco's LOS OJOS... who shared with me that Purdom, while professional, was not an easy actor to work with.

I have always enjoyed watching Purdom in whatever he's in but especially his European Trash Cinema appearances. One of my favorites of his ETC roles was his obsessed Greek priest, the title character in Joe D'Amato's THE MONSTER HUNTER, the US Wizard video retitling of ROSSO SANGUE (1981).

What is your favorite Edmund Purdom performance?

(c) Robert Monell, 2009




01 January, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Wishing Jess Franco, Lina Romay and all the blog readers a creative, prosperous and wonderful New Year!

Robert Monell