Daimajin (C, 1966) AKA The Devil Got Angry, The Giant Majin, Majin Majin the Hideous Idol, Majin the Monster of Terror, Majin the Stone Samurai, Vengeance of the Monster
If you think all Japanese giant-monster movies are Godzilla-Gamera silly, then this well-made, grim feature might surprise you. After a coup d'etat leaves a medieval Japanese village in oppressed servitude to a bunch of evil thugs, a giant stone statue with a god trapped inside it begins to awaken up in the hills. When the bad guy's kill the statue's priestess and then attempt to destroy the statue itself to make the people despair, the god Daimajin awakens with earthquakes and lightning and begins to walk, changing from stone into a giant armored samurai with a blue, grimacing demon face. And he's royally ticked off, and believe me, he's anything but funny. Great special effects and a dark tone make this one of the best Japanese giant monster movies. Cinematography, too, is excellent, far above what you'd expect from this genre. Two sequels were made the same year, but then released a year apart each. -zwolf

Dance With The Devil (C, 1997) AKA Pertida Durango
You probably wanna turn the closed captioning on for this action/horror/road movie, because it stars Rosie Perez, and between her cartoonish pitch, heavy accent, and general mush-mouthiness, deciphering gets kinda rough. She's an angry drifting bad girl who hooks up with a Mexican Santeria-Satanist who has a really awful mullet haircut. He holds up a bank (while wearing a Santo mask) and heads across the border. He and Rosie have sex and perform Santeria rituals where he gets possessed and chops up corpses. Rosie thinks that's silly, though; she wants to kill people and eat them instead. They hunt for victims while Southern Culture On The Skids blares on the soundtrack. They snatch a couple of dumb blonde white kids who are out on a date, and start tormenting and raping them amid flashbacks of crucifixions and talk of Aztecs. Then Rosie and Mullethead have a knock-down drag-out fight... followed by knock-down drag-out sex. The two dumb kids are dressed as chickens and the girl is taken out to be sacrificed, but a raid by some old enemies breaks up the ceremony, so they all hit the road, have shoot-outs with cops, and other mayhem. It also has kind of a black humor edge to it, even though that's pretty sick. Basically, it's sort of a Latino take on Natural Born Killers, and works pretty well. Worth checking out. -zwolf

Daredevil (C, 2003)
Riding the coattails of the big spate of Marvel Comics movies comes Daredevil, which was destined to be a hard comic to translate to film. And, like Spider-Man and X-Men, they didn't do a perfect job, but it's decent... no substitute for the comics that spawned them, but not bad, either. Out of the three adaptations, they've goofed on this one the most. There is waaaay too much fancy, flashy editing and even more stuff copied from the vastly-overrated The Matrix and too much CGI... it's like the filmmakers said, "We have all of these tools in our movie-making toolkit, and we have to find some way to use ALL of them!" It's overkill, and it all turns the fight scenes into so much visual trash, because you usually can't see what's going on amidst all the flash-cutting and wackiness. The changes in costume are pretty bad, too. Daredevil doesn't look like a superhero so much as a motocross guy with a mask on, and Ben Affleck sincerely tries but he's just not very good at "grim." And Elektra doesn't even look Greek fer goshsakes. But, still, this pretty basic retelling (with some changes that aren't improvements, just changes) of Daredevil's origin and battles with Kingpin and Bullseye isn't bad (some critics hated it, but really, it's flawed for sure, but it's not a bomb or anything), and in some cases lifts scenes directly from the Frank Miller comic. Best character capture: Foggy Nelson. Imperfect movie, but shouldn't disappoint fans. Plus, it's always good when a movie might lead people to seek out the original comics and find out the comics are even better. -zwolf

Darkness Visible (C, 1991)
David "Pay Me And I'm THERE!" Carradine announces a collection of four short films by Gabrielle Liuzzi... like that's supposed to mean something to us. The first film is called "Worms." It's about a crazy, unfriendly woman who runs a worm farm. She talks to them and feeds them mashed potatoes. A woman shows up after closing time, desperate to buy some worms - it's her son's birthday, y'see. The worm lady gives her a very hard time, taunting her, throwing worms at her, and telling her about how the worms will come out of their bins like a tide if she turns the lights out, trying to desensitize her to the worms (because her late husband did the same to her, even putting worms in her douche bag!). The worm lady rags on the customer's family and life, and the customer accuses her of making lesbian advances, and starts talking about her mother's funeral and how she wants to commit suicide, and they start discussing death, and things get real weird. The next film is called "The Humane Society," and it's black and white. A librarian comes home from work and talks to her cat, Choo-Choo. The more she talks and complains about her life, the clearer it becomes that this woman is more than a little insane. The third film is called "Kaboom." In it, a husband orders a one-megaton nuclear bomb from Fusion City and puts it on the TV, for home protection and as a status symbol. Soon his wife wants one, 'cept bigger, and more, and in designer colors, and, having more firepower, she becomes the boss of the house. It gets to be such a problem that they agree to disarmament and get rid of the bombs, but by then it's caught on with the neighbors... The final film is "Halfway." A schizo lady moves into a halfway house and recognizes all her own furniture. This infuriates the nurse, who has the bedside manner of a Rottweiler, anyway. The lady starts acting even crazier, talking about how she's turning to dust ("Do you know what I have? Dust farts! After my ulcer. Dust farts.") and starts knowing more about the nurse, saying that she used to be her... the lady is halfway to re-entering society, and the nurse is halfway to the madhouse. They're all pseudo "Tales From The Darkside" stuff, cleverly weird, but pretty pedestrian in direction and no budget to speak of. Not bad obscurity. -zwolf

David Carradine Kung Fu Action Masters (C, around 1980)
Maaaan, if I had paid more than $4.95 for this DVD, I'd really be pissed. Even as is, I'm a little ticked off. This isn't a movie or even a documentary; it's an episode of a short-lived TV program called That Teen Show. Your hosts are nobody-boy, who-the-fuck-am-I-girl, and Haywood Nelson, who was Dwayne on What's Happening!! I have fond "Hi, hi, hi!" memories of Haywood, but he still can't carry this video gack. A lot of clips from kung fu movies (mostly cheapies with Dragon Lee) are used as padding for a few brief interviews with a couple of kung-fu instructors and "I'm not really a martial artist but I play one on TV" actor David Carradine. For some reason they show repeated shots of Dave's left foot during the interview; I have no idea why. There are also some valuable "insights" from a "discussion group" of teens who share such ideas as "people fight in movies because it'd be boring if they just sat around." Profound! Thank god America's teens were given a forum in the '70's! Now I have wisdom. If this all weren't too exciting already, there's a music video for Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger." You have no idea how bad that song truly sucks unless you see the lame-ass band "rocking out" to it. The DVD's good for a few laughs, but since it all runs a little under 30 minutes, it's still a ripoff at any price. They probably could have put the entire series run of That Teen Show on this sumbitch. Come to think of it, they may have... this is 'bout the only episode I remember seeing. -zwolf

Dawn Patrol (B&W, 1938)
Errol Flynn, David Niven, and Basil Rathbone star in a remake of the 1930 film about WWI fliers. Theaters requested the '30 film be re-issued, but they decided to re-make it instead (except for some of the battle footage, which they re-used). A British fighter squadron is pressured to keep fighting even though their biplanes have been shot up so much they're hardly airworthy anymore, and thus it takes more than its share of casualties. Commander Rathbone suffers guilt from having to send so many young aces out to their deaths, but there's pressure on him from higher up the chain of command. The fliers try to keep their spirits up, drinking and singing "Hooray For The Next Man To Die," but it's not easy when so many of their friends keep getting killed... and Rathbone tries to put the blame on them for not being careful enough, because he's frustrated by his inability to do more. But they keep taking missions even when it becomes akin to suicide, and inexperienced new recruits with almost no flying time have to go up against expert German killers. When they capture a German who was shot down, they become best buddies with him, but that doesn't stop them from making crazy assaults on German airfields, which results in a promotion - one of the fliers gets Rathbone's unenviable job... Engaging WWI drama with some excellent action scenes (I wish there were more, but I'm a sucker for dogfights). -zwolf

Deadly Snail Vs. Kung Fu Killer (C,???) AKA Deadly Snake Vs. Kung Fu Killers
Extremely bizarre Chinese film that's not really a kung fu movie. An oppressed young worker named Cheung Fu rescues a shell from a snake and a tiny girl appears on top of it like she's about to ask for Obi Wan Kenobi, but instead she tells him to drip some blood on the shell. He does, and the movie becomes kind of like an episode of Bewitched, with the girl - who is a fairy - moving in with him and magically fixing his house up. When not staying with Cheung, she and the other "Sky Mussel Fairies" hang out in what appears to be a really nice living room equipped with an overactive bubble machine. Pretty soon Cheung's in trouble with his uncle and weird things are happening. A snake-demon shows up, poses as a monk, and fights ensue, with the Snail Princess fighting the snake demon, or merging with Cheung to fight his mean cousins. There's a giant snake, a girl who rots away in seconds, a shiny cube that turns into various weird fighters: a gourd-man (at least I think that's what he is), a fire-man, a log man (who can also change into various floating logs), a dirt-man, and a scarf-man. None of it makes much sense at all and it's not really a kung fu movie - there's not that much fighting - but you can't say it's not imaginative. And weird. It must've been inspired by dreams after somebody got ahold of some bad clams... -zwolf

Dead Man (B&W, 1995) AKA Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man
Bizarre, atmospheric, quasi-mystical sometimes-funny black-and-white Western-thing directed by Jim Jarmusch, and starring Johnny Depp as William Blake... but not that William Blake. He comes to a cruddy town called Machien to work as an accountant, but the boss (Robert Mitchum) promptly runs him off, and, after an altercation over a girl, Depp is wounded and shoots a man. Mitchum sends killers after him and he becomes a fugitive gunslinger by default, hanging out with an Indian named Nobody, who spouts a lot of profound-sounding nonsense. It all leads toward a not-too-unexpected end. Great stuff, but like all Jarmusch, it's an acquired taste. Look also for Billy Bob Thornton in a funny bit as a trapper ("By God, I'm hit. Lord have mercy. Burns like hellfire. You son of a bitch. I'm gonna have to kill somebody now."), Crispin Glover, and if you look really close you'll spot Gibby Haynes from the Butthole Surfers getting a blow job in an alley. Beautiful photography and great, moody guitar score by Neil Young. Overall it's not quite as great as Ghost Dog, but it's close, and along the same lines. Some of the images are haunting... -zwolf

Dead or Alive (C, 1999)
Nasty-minded Japanese director Takashi Miike commits another well-done cinematic crime with this light-on-plot / long-on-I-can't-believe-they-did-that, what-the-hell-is-wrong-with-them-ness. It's hard to follow the story, which is a lot of existential tedium, anyway; a Yakuza gang is warring with an upstart gang of Chinese criminals while a jaded cop tries to keep things from going too far. But since this is from the guy who directed Audition, of course they do. Much of the mayhem takes place in a crazy, frantic opening ten minutes where noodles are blasted out of a guy's belly after a big meal, one guy's throat is slashed while he's sodomizing another guy in the bathroom, a guy does a 20-foot line of coke, and a stripper dances through all of it. Then, unable to keep up that kind of pace (it's sort of a mistake to begin a with such a bang), the movie settles down into a lot of slow, nailed-down-camera dullness that is occasionally punctuated by such things as a junkie prostitute being drowned in a wading pool of her own feces, a guy deep-frying his own hand during a dinner party massacre with a body count of dozens, and a climactic showdown of one-upsmanship that has two guys literally shooting each other to pieces. It's all very strange and mixed-up between classy, patient filmmaking art and riotous freak-show excess. I think the trick is to not try taking any of it too seriously and just go along with it. Even though there's lots of astoundingly sick subject matter it's filmed with something oddly like restraint; most filmmakers who decide to "go there" in the first place would linger on the gory details more, but Miike instead draws back into long shots, doesn't overdo the blood, and leaves a few things vague. It's not overkilling what's already overkill to begin with, if that makes sense. -zwolf

The Dead Pool
(C, 1988)
The last and least of the Dirty Harry series has a little-too-old-for-this Clint Eastwood being nicer than usual and not killing quite as many people, and dealing with a script that isn't bad but just isn't up to the standard for this series. Dirty Harry has a new Chinese-American partner (Evan Kim, who's good) who helps him avoid getting snuffed when his name is added to a list of celebrities who may die in the near future. There's a highlight car chase (homage to Bullitt?) involving an explosives-rigged remote control car, but other than that there's not much you'll remember out of it, even though it won't bore you, either. Jim Carrey - in the good ol' days before he was a star and it was still safe for intelligent humans to go to the movies - has a bit part as a heroin-addicted Axl Rose wannabe (he lip-synchs to "Welcome To The Jungle"). Seeing him die is so cathartic you'll almost want the killer to get away with it... The real Guns 'n' Roses can be glimpsed at one point. -zwolf
Dead Presidents
(C, 1995)
The Hughes brothers have Larenz Tate in trouble with the law again, but this time he's a little more sympathetic than he was in Menace II Society. This well-done, impressive-looking film follows Tate and some inner-city friends from their high school graduation to Vietnam, where they're trained to kill. When the war's over, they're sent home and expected to just readjust to life after nothing but killing, and they don't do such a good job of it. One of them (Jackie Chan's Rush Hour sidekick Chris Tucker) got a dose of Agent Orange or something and has become a heroin junkie, too. Tate tries to be a good citizen, but he doesn't make enough money at his butcher shop job to please his wife, and he's humiliated by a local pimp. When he loses his job, he falls into an ill-advised plan to rob an armored car full of worn-out money that's on its way to be burned, with his war buddies as cohorts. The previews emphasize the heist (which has the perpetrators made up like guys in a black metal band), but that's only the last half hour of the movie. Accomplished filmmaking with violent, bloody action scenes and a good soundtrack of early 70's urban stuff. Good work. -zwolf

Death at Love House (C, 1976) AKA The Shrine of Lorna Love
Old made-for-TV haunted house movie that has Robert Wagner and his supposedly-pregnant (she doesn't look it) wife Kate Jackson moving into the huge house of a deceased blonde bombshell movie star, Lorna Love (Marianna Hill, from the underrated Messiah of Evil). Robert and Kate are planning to write a book about Lorna, who died in the '30s. Her body is perfectly preserved in a shrine on the estate, and it soon becomes brutally obvious that Lorna had been mixed up with a devil worshipper ("Father Eternal Fire") who's still around and active. John Carradine shows up to warn the writers of Lorna's evil, and he's promptly killed. Then Kate's almost gassed to death, and Wagner gets obsessed with Lorna, re-watching old silent films of her (which are hilariously unconvincing, given that Lorna has this very-70's pseudo-Farrah Fawcett hairstyle). Pretty soon Kate is chasing shrouded figures around the estate at night and uncovering a pretty twisted secret. Mundane direction by E. W. Swackhammer (a TV man all the way) robs this of a lot of creepiness potential, but the climax manages to be pretty spooky despite that. Decent old TV movie that might have some basis in Jayne Mansfield, since she was a sex-bomb who was involved in Satanic rituals. Available with two other movies on a cheap DVD called Great Ghost Stories. -zwolf

The Deathmaker (C, 1995) AKA Der Totmacher
This could have been titled "My Dinner With Fritz," except nobody eats anything... which is probably a good thing since Fritz Haarmann was famous for raping and killing 24 boys, and making them into sausages. The entire 2-hour movie is just a long conversation (from the actual transcript of Fritz's real confessions). A professor interviews him to determine if he is competent to stand trial, and a lot of it is pretty mundane, but it does get into some sicko graphic detail if you hold out long enough. It's pretty disturbing because (a) it's based on fact and (b) Gotz George, who portrays Fritz, is grubby and unnerving, staring and smiling with his rotten teeth and babbling nonsense. It does get dull in spots since it's literally all talk - absolutely nothing is shown but people sitting in a room - and it's got a little of that German-expressionist now-is-the-time-on-Sprockets-vhen-ve-danse pretentiousness to it. Worth checking out for the patient who have an interest in the Haarmann case, but Jerry Bruckheimer fans shouldn't bother The DVD includes a couple of short films which are even more Sprockets-y... "Headbutt" which has a lot of doofus German soldiers introducing themselves and then slamming their heads into lockers, and a big dance number with a guy hung upside down on a rope slammed into a couple of metal plates. I doubt you'll re-watch those much... -zwolf

Death Race 2000 (C, 1975)
This depiction of futures past should seem dated (I don't remember anything like this happening in 2000) but it's still great. In the future (remember the future?) there's a road race across the country in which points are given for running over pedestrians. The cars are modified to reflect the personalities of the drivers - a gladiator, a cowgirl, a Nazi, a gangster (Sylvester Stallone as "Machine Gun Joe Viturbo"), and Frankenstein (David Carradine with a black leather suit and cape and fake scars). Cars have blades, fangs, and bull horns to aid in killing pedestrians, and to make 'em look more flashy. It's sports entertainment... think WWE meets NASCAR. Some of the kills (which are shown quickly) get pretty bloody. Even though the race (a tool of a weird Big Brother government) is popular, it has dissenters who try to sabotage it. Fast-moving satire with tons of automotive mayhem. Imagine Mad Max mixed with Rollerball. The cheap DVD of this is actually of pretty good quality. -zwolf

Death Rides A Horse (C, 1967) AKA As Man to Man, Da uomo a uomo
Lee Van Cleef spaghetti Western, complete with Ennio Morricone score. A young boy witnesses his family massacred by several masked men. For fifteen years he (John Philip Law) practices with guns until he's a vengeance-fueled killing machine. Then Van Cleef gets out of jail and goes after the double-crossers who put him there. They happen to be the same creeps that Law is after, so he tries to tag along and get them first. Van Cleef gets in trouble with some of his "old friends" and then Law busts him out of jail, but they still don't start working together, which is too bad because Law soon gets in some trouble of his own, and is due for a bad surprise that you'll probably see coming. It's kinda long (115 minutes) but overall it's a good, solid western with some better-than-usual action and choice tough-guy dialogue, with cool performances from both Van Cleef and Law, plus some appropriate hot, dusty atmosphere. Most DVDs of this have really terrible picture quality, but if you get into the spirit of the whole thing that shouldn't bother you overmuch, especially since they all tend to be cheap. -zwolf

Death Wish
Charles Bronson plays a bleeding-heart, knee-jerk liberal (people repeatedly call him one to make sure the audience knows it; subtle this movie ain't) who becomes a killing machine when his family is brutalized by some really over-the-top criminal scumbags (one of whom is Jeff Goldblum). His wife dies and his daughter is traumatized to near zombiehood, so he gets mad and starts carrying around a sock full of quarters. He smacks a mugger with it one night and likes the feel so much that he moves up to a pistol when a client luckily gives him one as a gift. He wanders the scummiest areas of the city (which seems to be just about anywhere in this film - muggers seem to outnumber the regular people about three to one) flashing money around and trying to look like a victim so he can bring the predators to him... then he guns them down and becomes the hero of the city. The police want to catch him, but give him special privileges since he's doing such good work. It's a decent but not amazing action flick that managed to hit the right nerve and became a huge hit, spawning around four sequels and inspiring god knows how many imitators, including a couple of paperback book series that were direct steals from it (The Vigilante series, the .357 Vigilante series, and a how-blatant-can-you-get cheapo series called Bronson: Street Vigilante). The sequels grew increasingly ridiculous, with Bronson mowing down hundreds of slimeballs with machine guns and such. -zwolf

Deception, The
(C, 70's?)
Retitled (from what I don't know - the closest I can get is that it might be a film called Serial) French film about a novelist who's out looking at real estate when he hops a wall and finds a huge, decaying old mansion in the woods. A somewhat-demented girl named Arianne gives him a tour of the place, but when they come to a certain room (mysteriously locked) she runs away and hides from him. He decides that the situation has potential for a novel, so he goes back to the house. This time there's a maid, and a different girl named Agathe, who says no one named Arianne lives there. So, she shows him the house, and some things in it have changed. He thinks they're trying to trick him, so he comes back later and Arianne is there again, acting even crazier, showing him pictures on the walls which aren't there. Then she seduces him. The maid promises to explain things to him, so he comes back on a stormy night and she tells him that there are two girls, and he figures out they were playing a game to try to get him interested enough to buy the house, using Arianne as a phantom. He works out a plan with the maid and tricks both girls into showing up at the same time. Agathe is annoyed at first, but then starts seducing him by telling him erotic stories. He decides that if he buys the house, he can get both women, too, plus use it for a novel. So, he moves in, the maid dismembers live lobsters, the girls become more mysterious, and he becomes more confused. The maid tells him that the house is full of secret rooms and passages, and the girls spy through two-way mirrors. Then Agathe says they have to run away together because he'll be in danger if he stays there, but he gets mad and (apparently) rapes her, then tries the same with Arianne, because he's becoming very paranoid and insane... which was apparently the point of their game. Very odd, artsy, kinda creepy film, half in English, half in subtitled French, and contains some nudity. It has some known names in the cast - Leslie Caron, Bulle Ogier, Marie-France Pisier, and Corin Redgrave. Looks to be made in the late 70's, maybe, but I can't find a date on it. It's obviously a retitle (those ol' tell-tale non-matching superimposed credits), but of what? Bizarre and very obscure. -zwolf

Deep Blue Sea (C, 1999)
Jaws meets Alien. Scientists working at an ocean complex genetically enhance the brains of mako sharks, making larger and much smarter sharks. They're trying to get brain extracts from them to use as a cure for Alzheimer's (you'd think they'd go to elephants for this, since elephants never forget, but hey...), but what they do is create killing machines they just can't deal with, and after an accident with a helicopter shuts down the plant, they're stranded. You're not supposed to remember that the helicopter would be missed, since it was on a rescue mission, but that's just one a million things you have to overlook... this is really a pretty dumb movie that you should just turn your brain off for. The sharks get loose in the flooded complex and start hunting. Anybody can die at any time - even the more interesting and big-name stars like Samuel Jackson - and that gives some integrity to what's otherwise just another killer-critter movie. The sharks are mostly CGI, and I really, really hate CGI. It's better than in most movies, but you'll still wince a few times. The swimming looks especially unrealistic, given the physics of water as a medium. Like I said, turn your brain off and it's fun enough... -zwolf

Deep In The Woods (C, 2000) AKA Promenons-nous dans les bois
French slasher flick in which a group of actors is called to an isolated estate to put on a "Red Riding Hood" play for an eccentric millionaire's son's birthday. The millionaire is very strange-acting and his little boy is really creepy, staring catatonically and only smiling when he stabs himself in the hand with a fork. There are reports of a killer in the area, and soon the actors are getting stalked and slashed by someone wearing the Big Bad Wolf mask from the Red Riding Hood play. It all kind of reminds you of Soavi's Stage Fright. They get killed by speargun, bashing, drowning, and acid, and none of it is excessively gory. This has been called a "French Blair Witch Project" but that's to draw people in, since anything compared to Blair Witch seems to sell... there's no comparison whatsoever, and this is basically a regular slasher film, but with a lot more attention to style than usual. There are some really nice, classy directorial touches and it's a great-looking film, and that may distract you from the fact that it's really just another standard slasher flick. Not that that's a bad thing... -zwolf

Deep Red (C, 1975) AKA Profundo Rosso, Deep Red Hatchet Murders, Dripping Deep Red, Hatchet Murders, Sabre Tooth Tiger
This is probably the Argento film where style and substance most effectively balance one another, making this one damned effective and scary movie. Jazz composer David Hemmings witnesses a meat-cleaver murder in Rome and decides to investigate it himself, putting himself on a very twisted path. He hangs out with reporter Daria Nicolodi (Argento met her during this film, and they're married now) and his drunken pianist friend (who's probably driven to drink by his hilariously scatterbrained mother, as well as his covert homosexuality) while he gathers clues. But soon he's being stalked by the killer, who carries a tape recorder that plays a children's song. He digs up some disturbing clues in an old abandoned house, but meanwhile the murders are continuing and he's still a target. The mystery is convoluted and clever and stretches back for years, and the murders are shockingly violent - meat cleaver hacking, a scalding, teeth knocked out by repeated smashings into the corner of a mantel, a knife in the head, a head being run over, and more. And since the DVD contains the full, hard-to-find 126-minute version, you get a chance to see that Argento also has a flair for humor, too, in the interplay between Hemmings and Nicolodi (and her ridiculous car). Goblin also supplies one of their best music scores. This is top-notch Argento, because this time everything gels perfectly into a truly creepy portrait of obsession and madness. There's a running mechanical doll in one scene that ranks as one of the more nightmarish images ever caught on film, and the climax is a nail-biter. Essential Argento, essential horror. My only complaint is not with the movie, but with the DVD... I've had several of them, and they all stick on both of my DVD players. One won't play at it at all, and the other always gums up at the scene right after the little girl with the lizard. I've heard that other people have had this problem as well. Depressing, because I'd watch this one a lot if I had a copy that worked... -zwolf

The Defilers (B&W, 1965)
A couple of preppy peckernecks in search of "kicks, baby, kicks" kidnap a blonde who's new in town and lock her in a basement as a sex slave. They repeatedly rape her and slap her around. They're both total creeps, especially Carlie, who you know is messed up not only by his enthusiasm and brutality, but because he has Day Keene paintings on his walls. The other guy, Jaime, starts to have pangs of conscience, but since he's also striking out with his girlfriend a lot, he's not too quick to put a stop to their situation. Definitely sick and twisted (just about any David Friedman-produced, Lee Frost-directed movie is) but most of the sex and violence in this "roughie" is left to the imagination - just glimpses of mild nudity, "necking" instead of softcore sex, and slapping at someone who's offscreen. Considering the subject matter, the lack of anything graphic is about all that keeps it watchable. Extreme sleaze from the innovators of such things. -zwolf

Dementia (B&W, 1955) AKA Daughter of Horror
Weird experimental film that follows a disturbed girl (identified in the credits as "the Gamin") through "the tormented, haunted, half-lit night of the insane." She wakes up in a sleazy motel and then goes out into the city in the middle of the night. Angelo Rossito laughingly sells her a newspaper headlined "MYSTERIOUS STABBING." She's bothered by a couple of men before she rides off with a fat rich one, whom she ends up stabbing and throwing through a window. Then she has to cut off his hand because he's got her necklace. Becoming increasingly crazy, she runs into a jazz club where everyone jeers at her, and she wakes up back in the hotel room as if it were all a dream... but there's a severed hand in the dresser drawer. Bizarre no-budget art-sleaze that has no spoken words at all, but the Daughter of Horror version boasts ominous narration by Ed McMahon - "Do you know what HORROR is?!? Hey-yooooooo!" Mixed in with the sometimes-slow-moving (even though the movie's just under an hour, it still drags a little) narrative are strange surreal moments on a beach and flashbacks of family life in a graveyard. The producers had a hard time finding a market for this oddity, especially since censors found it all too gruesome. Oddly enough, it's the movie the kids are watching in The Blob... The DVD contains both versions of the film. -zwolf

Dementia 13 (B&W, 1963) AKA The Haunted And The Hunted
Just 'bout everybody's seen this low-budget AIP horror flick because it slipped into the public domain and most of the cheap video companies had a version on the shelves, often for about three bucks. Sometimes you really do get a bargain, because this is actually a pretty good flick with several memorable scenes. The first is the most memorable; Luana Anders and her husband are out in a boat and the husband has a heart attack and she dumps him into the lake and throws his radio in after him; he sinks and the radio keeps playing, distorted and bubbly as it sinks. Then Luana goes to Ireland to try to get her unbalanced mother-in-law to change her will by convincing her that she's getting messages from Kathleen, a daughter who died in the estate's pond years before. But as Luana works on this plan she becomes the first victim in a series of axe murders, which were fairly graphic for the time. This may also be the first film to show a girl on a meathook. The creepiest scene involves an axe attack on Kathleen's abandoned playhouse. Plenty of insanity, all in beautifully sleazy black and white. This wasn't really Francis Ford Coppola's first film - he did some nudies like Tonight For Sure and Playgirls and the Bellboy before this, as well as doing some uncredited work on The Terror - but it was his first mainstream feature, and it's an impressive piece of work for such a low-budgeted rush job. -zwolf

Demonia (C, 1988) AKA Liza
One of Lucio Fulci's later, lesser-known films, made after his hey-day and mostly forgotten. It looks cheaper than the usual Fulci, like perhaps it was shot on video, and it lacks the stylistic flair of his best work. But it's somewhat of a return to the gore he was infamous for, so it's not all bad. An archaeological team excavating in Greece opens a chamber in which nuns were crucified centuries earlier for conducting evil orgies. So, unholy forces are unleashed, and sick things start happening: a woman is attacked by cats (sorry, but as gory as this is, it's pretty hilarious due to some bad puppetry - woman's head and hand-puppet kittycats!), a guy has his tongue nailed to a table, a man is pulled apart by trees (impressive!), and other bits of nastiness that should please Fulci-ites, even though the ol' directing style looks a little more rushed and by-the-numbers than in his classics, and the shot-on-video look really cheapens things. Nowhere near his best, but still interesting for fans. -zwolf

The Demoniacs (C, 1974) AKA Les Demoniaques, Les Diablesses, Curse of the Living Dead
Another surreal horror film from Jean Rollin. A clan of islanders who make their living by looting the shipwrecks they cause get themselves haunted when they rape and try to murder two blonde girls who survived the crash of their ship. The girls hide in the washed-up ruins of other ships while the wreckers drink in a tavern and the captain (their leader) starts seeing their ghosts everywhere. They hunt the girls again, but they escape into the ruins of an old building that everyone is afraid of, claiming the devil lives there. There they find (strangely enough) a clown/mime and a Rasputin-looking guy who promise to help the now-mute girls get revenge. As if the shipwreckers weren't paranoid enough, a clairvoyant barmaid at their tavern hangout keeps predicting doom for them. The girls wander naked into the depths of the ruins and they free a man who was locked in a cell. He looks like some fancypants Siegfried and Roy style magician, but apparently he's the devil. He has sex with the girls (so much for the Siegfried and Roy idea) and gives them supernatural powers so they can get vengeance, but only for one night - at dawn they'll Cinderella back to helplessness. But the drunken sailors kill the clown and Rasputin guy, and the girls give up their revenge to save their friends instead. But they find a way to get payback even without powers. Weird film with some long stretches without dialogue and - typical of Rollin - some shots that are nothing short of visual poetry. There's plenty of (often laughably pointless) nudity and sex, no real gore, but some of the hallucinatory nightmare-logic that makes Rollin's films so unique. It's kinda crazy, it's definitely sleazy, but there's strangely beautiful art in there, too. Great cinematography and composition at all times, whether you're seeing the burning wreckage of a ship or bodies floating in seaweed. -zwolf

Demons Of The Dead (C, 1972) AKA Day of the Maniac, All The Colors Of The Dark, They're Coming To Get You, Tutti i Colori del Buio, Todos Los Colores de la Oscuridad, Una Stranha Orchidea con Cinque Gocce di Sangue
Stylish supernatural giallo film directed by Sergio Martino. A woman (Martino mainstay Edwige Fenech) thinks a slasher with strange blue eyes is after her, and she starts seeing him everywhere. She seeks help from her psychiatrist and from a coven of white-faced witches, but nothing seems to do much good. The witches try to take her into the coven, and when she tries to escape, she's attacked by dogs and taken back by the blue-eyed man, who is part of the coven. It turns out that the slasher also killed her mother because she tried to leave the coven, and he keeps stalking her, too. Better and more effectively stylish than other Martino films (such as Next!). He must have been watching some more Argento films, but he's still not in that league. Some gore. -zwolf

Demons of the Mind (C, 1971) AKA Blood Will Have Blood, Black Evil, Nightmare of Terror
Odd Hammer horror about a father who keeps his son and daughter locked up in his mansion, because they may be possessed... and he may be, too, all because of some kind of evil tainting the family bloodline. The brother and sister keep trying to escape so they can be together, and meanwhile people are getting killed by someone who scatters rose petals over their corpses. You can always count on Hammer for some great-looking, high-class horror, and this is certainly no exception; however, it is rather hard to follow and oddly uninvolving. Still, it's worth a look, even if it's not one of Hammer's best. -zwolf

The Desert Rats
(B&W, 1953)
Australian troops hold off Rommel's Afrika Korps at Tobruk, attempting to trap them even though the Nazis are using such tricks as attacking under the cover of sandstorms. In between head-on attacks, some of the Aussies sneak around at night to demoralize the Germans by killing random soldiers and sabotaging equipment. They end up besieged for weeks, undersupplied and subjected to frequent shelling, and their officer wants to pull out, but his men stubbornly refuse to do so. Since this is an old British film, the story sometimes gets nearly as stiff as these guys' upper lips, but overall it's not bad, with some decent battle scenes. -zwolf

Detour (B&W, 1946)
The noirest of the noir and the best B-film ever, made for PRC studios in four days for less than 30 grand, and shot in a two-for-one shooting ratio, meaning not many retakes. Tom Neal (who was a pretty hard-luck sonofabitch in real life, too - he beat up other actors and did time for shooting his third wife) plays Al, a low-rent piano player trying to get to L.A. so he can marry his failed-singer girlfriend. He has lots of luck, and all of it rotten. Coupled with some really bad decisions and a loser attitude, this shmuck is headed straight to Hell. He hitches a ride with a guy who o.d.'s on pills and then falls out of the car and dies. He thinks he'll be blamed for the death, so he assumes the guy's identity, but then he picks up a woman (Ann Savage) who knew the dead man and thinks Al killed him. She doesn't mind, though, because she's a feral, psychotic thing who blackmails him into helping her pull off some scams. And things get even more downwardly-mobile from there. Stark, sleazy, minimalist B-drama that plays like a novel David Goodis should've written (but didn't), with great performances (Neal is a believable deadbeat and Savage lives up to her name - she's a legend based on this film alone) and the cheap looks of the film add greatly to the atmosphere. Remade years later with Neal's son in the lead role. Do not miss this little 67-minute masterpiece - it's the ultimate hard-luck story, you'd swear the film stock had pulp in it. -zwolf

Deuces Wild (C, 2002)
I'm glad I read so many bad reviews of this before I saw it, because going in with my expectations really low-balled, I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't really that terrible. Plus, I was able to wait 'til the DVD dropped to half price (within just a coule of months). In 1958 Brooklyn, a tough but basically alright-guy gang called the Deuces work to keep drugs off their block, because their leader's brother died from an O.D., which drove his mother half-crazy. His older brother has a Romeo and Juliet/West Side Story deal going with the sister (Fairuza Balk) of a member of an enemy gang, the Vipers. Then an evil gangster named Marco gets out of jail for selling the drugs that O.D.'d our hero's brother, and he starts planning to bring drugs back into the neighborhood for top hoodlum Matt Dillon, and a gang war for the neighborhood breaks out. Cliches abound and much of the acting and dialogue does seem pretty silly, but it's tough to do a "'50's Brooklyn gang" movie and clear all the hurdles. But if the storyline interests you and you approach the movie with a willingness to like it, then it's fairly entertaining despite the stuff that'll make you roll your eyes. The pacing does lag a bit in spots but there are several of the expected rumbles. The only thing that really bugs me is they managed to make the usually-attractive Fairuza look almost horrific. Also stars a couple of people from The Sopranos (Christopher's girlfriend and Big Pussy). It's a pretty bad movie, yeah, but it's not boring. Worth a look if you like greaser gang rumble melodramas. -zwolf

The Devil Bat
(B&W, 1940) AKA Killer Bats
Mad doctor Bela Lugosi is hard at work developing something to make the world a better place - a bigger bat! And it's trained to attack a certain scent, which he makes into special shaving lotion, gifts of which he gives to his enemies before bidding them a meaningful "goodbye!" A couple of reporters are on the case, so they also become a target as Bela develops more bats to dispose of those he feels exploited his genius. Oh, it's bad, but I have good memories of it because back in the early days of videotape, nearly every cheap company on earth had a copy of this creaker on the shelves, and it's now making the rounds on DVD. The Roan Group's version is top notch - the print's a little beaten up (which adds to the atmosphere) but the transfer's sharp. -zwolf

Devil's Kiss (C, 1975) AKA Wicked Caresses of Satan, Perverse Caresses of Satan, Perversa caricia de Satán
A countess visits the castle of a duke whom she has a grudge against, because he bought up her property after her husband was murdered. Now she's broke and makes her living as a medium, and she's there to perform a seance. Secretly, however, she's teaming up with a telepathic mad doctor on a plan of vengeance. Combining her necromancy and devil-worship with his Frankenstein-like knowledge (plus some help from a mute short guy who's supposed to be a dwarf, but he's not quite short enough), they dig up a corpse and reanimate it. The zombie is creepy enough - a bald, pale, shirtless guy with a weird barrel chest, sucked-in gut, and surgery scars. One of his eyes is also stitched shut. They can control him by telepathy, but only just barely. He's sent out to kill the duke, and after this is accomplished, the duke's son takes over the castle. But the zombie is still active and out of control... Some pretty good atmosphere but not much in the way of gore, and sometimes it's unintentionally silly. Fairly average Spanish/French co-production, but worth a look for fans of this stuff. -zwolf

Devil's Messenger (B&W, 1961)
Lon Chaney Jr. once made a horror-story series for Swedish TV called 13 Demon Street, and it never aired. Much like had been done with Boris Karloff's The Veil, some producers made an anthology film out of three of the episodes. Lon - desperately earning money for booze - plays a sort of secretary at the gates of Hell, managing a rolodex of lost souls. He incorporates the three stories by sending a girl on delivery missions. The first story concerns a guy going into the snowy wilderness to take photos, and he meets and accidentally kills a strange girl who later shows up in his photographs. In the next story, a man falls in love with a girl found frozen in a glacier, and gets obsessed enough to commit murder. In the third a man suffers nightmares about a street where he played as a child, so he revisits the place to try to solve his mental anxiety. A medium tells him things from her crystal ball, including premonitions of his death, which he then struggles to prevent. At the end of the framing story, Lon has the formula for the atomic bomb delivered to Earth as a means of starting Armageddon and annexing a very overcrowded Hell. Some creepy scenes but overall pretty ordinary. -zwolf

The Devil's Nightmare (C, 1971) AKA Vampire Playgirls, Succubus, The Devil Walks At Midnight
Eurotrash horror classic with Erica Blanc as a succubus who haunts a German castle, causing appropriate deaths to seven tourists, each of whom represents one of the seven deadly sins - gluttony is the easiest to spot (and provides one of the grossest deaths, if only 'cuz you gotta watch a fat guy eat greasy chicken in extreme close up) but wrath, sloth, greed, pride, envy, and lust are all well represented. The casting is almost Fellini-like - the women are stunningly beautiful, but the men are mostly strange and grotesque - there's a sinister, skinny, ratlike guy who plays the devil, a butler who looks like one of his temples got caved in once in some real-life accident, an old man with a prominent bump on the back of his skull, etc. Erica Blanc (wearing outfits that could only exist in the early 70's) is a definite highlight, going from seductive to morbidly corpse-like. Most video prints are faded (the Interglobal Devil Walks At Midnight re-title is also re-edited for some reason, putting the opening sepia-toned WW2 sequence in as a flashback - even though, amazingly, they left the bloody stabbing-of-a-newborn-infant scene intact), but the Redemption DVD is excellent (aside from the embarrassingly stupid shot-on-video softcore intro with an unattractive vanilla dom and some lesbian cannibals - it's just in the way, but I guess some thirteen year old out there really appreciates it) - it's letterboxed and restores a considerable amount of softcore lesbian footage (lust meets sloth, guess who does all the work?). The gore's not extreme, but it's there in the form of decapitation, impalement, iron maidens, green puke, and other such cool stuff. Tends to get better (and somewhat classier) with repeated viewings. Really not bad at all, with a haunting music score. Does take on a nightmarish air if you watch it late enough at night. -zwolf

Devil's Sword (C, 1984)
Bizarre Indonesian oddity with a possible Italian connection (Barry Prima is in it and it has some resemblances to old muscleman epics, production-wise). Amidst the kind of fantasy sets that are usually confined to old Hercules (okay, not that high-dollar... think Machiste instead) movies, an old hermit forges a super-sword out of a meteorite, and some cultists raise a Crocodile Goddess. She wants a certain young man for a sacrifice so a demonic guy rides a flying rock to interrupt his wedding and behead half the guests, until the wife attacks him with wind from her flying umbrella. Then Crocodile Men show up and fight a headband-wearing, mullet-haircut hero (Prima), while the Crocodile Goddess makes out with her captive on a flaming turntable and the hero's master starts dying of the poison of the Red Serpent... which our hero tries to cure with a glowing exploding mushroom. But he still has to cut off both the master's legs. All the evil warriors of the world unite to take over the planet, which they might manage to do if they get the second Devil's Sword, which is improved by the addition of violet light... which I bet looks more stylish than the one without the violet light. Our hero is given a mystic scroll that presumably does something (we know not what) and is told not to let it fall into the hands of evil warriors... many of whom the Crocodile Queen is making out with in yet more exotic settings. A skeleton in Chinese garb rows our hero and the wife of the abducted guy (her name is Pita Loca, which can sort of translate to "Crazy Bread") away on a raft which seems to be powered by Alka Seltzer, and they're attacked by Crocodile Men! Then a toothless hag battles a Super Mario clone who has his own version of a flying guillotine, and a guy who uses a snake that turns into a staff (Moses?!?!) interrupts them and they make outlandish threats to each other ("This whip will smell of your death!" "I have two graves dug for you!" "Why not dig a third for yourself?" etc.) And after that the movie starts getting ridiculous! Good luck following the plot (is there one? must there be?) or keeping track of things - just enjoy the crazy LSD fever-dream situations, laughable special effects, over-the-top costumes and sets, bad Casio keyboard music score, and hilarious heroic-fantasy dialogue. Be aware, though, that the "Kung Fu Classics" DVD (which shouldn't set you back more than five or six bucks) has no menus, only one long track, and has a pretty soft, overexposed picture. It's letterboxed, at least. If Mystery Science Theater 3000 ever got ahold of this it would be their best episode ever, even if they didn't say anything. Also watch for the unbelievable glowing-eyed cyclops with the floppy arms - he is bad movie gold! It's worth crawling over a mountain of legitimately good movies to find this hideous wreck, seriously. -zwolf

The Devil Thumbs A Ride (B&W, 1947)
Whenever you get Lawrence Tierney in a noir film, buddy, you got somethin'. The man's a badass. In this one he plays a guy named Steve Morgan, who holds up a theater and then gets a ride with a happy, slightly-drunk guy who's celebrating a combination birthday/anniversary. Tierney lets a couple of girls ride with them, because he likes one of them. While this whole road trip from hell is just getting under way, the cops are already looking for them, due to a tip-off from a gas station attendant who didn't like Tierney for making fun of a picture of his daughter (it's pretty hilarious!) Then Tierney takes the wheel, tries to run over a cop, and gets everybody in deeper and deeper trouble... 'cuz he's in a partying mood. Scary and intense B crime drama, fast-paced and clocking in at just over an hour. -zwolf

Devil's Wedding Night (C, 1973) AKA Full Moon of the Virgins, Il Plenilunio delle vergini
An archaeology scholar believes he's located the fabled Ring of the Nibelungen in Dracula's castle in Transylvania. So, he and his ne'er-do-well identical twin brother travel there. One of them is quickly vampirized by a seductive countess. The other brother shows up and, after a drunken night of debauchery (or at least watching the countess and another girl debauch, while splattered with blood) he discovers his brother entombed in a crypt, alive. Meanwhile the countess is using the power of her ring to draw all local virgins to the castle, because the vampirized brother is going to serve as the new Count Dracula in a Black Mass wedding. There's lots of nudity and some mostly-unimpressive gore (decapitations of hooded men whose heads seemed pretty loose already, burning, staking, and a hand getting amputated). It's pretty standard plotwise but has decent sets and some spooky atmosphere-on-a-budget. You could do better, you could do worse. It's Italian but seems more American than most. Sara Bay (from Lady Frankenstein) stars. -zwolf

The Devil With Hitler (B&W, 1942)
Bizarre Hal Roach comedy propaganda. Hell's demons (guys in business suits with goofy horned headgear) decide that the devil's just not getting the job done, so they need someone more ruthless and evil - Hitler! On Earth, Hitler's busy trying to put one over on the equally goofy Mussolini and the Japanese leader, "Suki Yaki." Between them, they're basically the Three Stooges. Hitler meets a maharajah who laughs himself sick over Hitler's mustache, then makes him eat soup that a sneaky G.I. dumped a whole can of pepper in, so steam comes out Hitler's ears. Then he drinks kerosene, and watches a magic show where Suki Yaki gets "changed" into a monkey who squirts Hitler and Mussolini with ink. Then they try to go to bed (Hitler and Mussolini lookalikes in long underwear are quite disturbing), but Americans put them on a captured submarine, where they insult each other and have a big brawl. Then the devil shows up (making for some invisible-man gags) to try to make Hitler do one good deed. Then they get attacked by a model airplane that flies up Hitler's ass while he's on a vibrating-belt exercise machine, and then he gets yanked up with a giant map before being released to fall through the floor. It's like Fuhrer Clouseau. The devil doesn't have much luck getting him to do a good deed, because he keeps having everybody shot and trying to figure out ways to back-stab his friends. The three fascist stooges plant bombs, trying to blow each other up, with cartoonish results. And there's plenty more. As satire goes it's about as subtle as a chainsaw, but it's an incredible wartime curio, and it's always fun to see deserving targets take a beating, so check out this slapstick extravaganza if you get the chance. I've seen this listed as a short, but the one I saw (taped from the old Nostalgia Channel) runs 'bout 83 minutes. Some of the Japanese jokes are pretty racist, but the rest of the film is funny enough and pretty well-made; they had a good budget. George E. Stone, who played Suki Yaki, was also one of the adult stars in several Little Rascals shorts. -zwolf

Dial 1119 (B&W, 1950)
Gritty cheap little B-flick about a quiet young psychopath who gets off a bus after shooting the driver with a stolen gun and then walks into a bar and takes everyone hostage. Turns out he's an escapee from an asylum and demands to see his doctor. The cops surround the bar but won't let the doctor go inside. To make things more interesting, the bar has a television... which is tuned to wrestling most of the time but later shows media coverage of the hostage situation. Well-done intensity on a budget, deserves to be on TV more often. -zwolf

Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome (B&W, 1947) AKA Dick Tracy Meets Karloff, Dick Tracy's Amazing Adventure
Boris Karloff is a hardcore criminal named Gruesome who comes back to town after a jail sentence and meddles in a mad doctor's lab, getting a dose of some strange gas that leaves him stiff and apparently dead. He wakes up and escapes from the morgue, which freaks out Dick Tracy (Ralph Byrd) and his sidekick - "If I didn't know better I'd think we were dealing with Boris Karloff!" Gruesome and his gang use the stiffening-gas to immobilize everyone in a bank so they can rob it, but Tracy's girl Tess Trueheart is in a phone booth, isolated from the gas, and sees the whole thing. Tracy has to track Gruesome down in ten hours before the story hits the papers and causes a panic. Tracy comes up with a pretty clever plan to catch him, but it may get him thrown into a furnace! Lots of action in the style of the original comic strip, and moves fast at just over an hour. -zwolf

Die Sister Die (C, 1972) AKA The Companion
The director of The Courtship of Eddie's Father went on to direct this pseudo-horror flick and then disappeared. And it's no major loss. An unscrupulous man's older sister is a bit mentally unbalanced and has tried to kill herself several times. Since she's sitting on a large inheritance, he hires a nurse to stay with her and make sure that her next suicide attempt is a successful one. The sister is very bitchy and suffers from guilt-inspired nightmares (about pulling off people's heads, for instance - it's about the only creepy part in the movie) that cause her to sleepwalk. Meanwhile the brother is putting cyanide in her pills, but evil plans have a way of backfiring in these flicks. You should see every plot twist coming a mile away in this non-scary horror flick, but it's got just enough atmosphere to save it from being dull. -zwolf

Dillinger (B&W, 1945)
Monogram crime biopic with the always-badassed Lawrence Tierney as the infamous bank-robber. He makes an unsuccessful small-time start holding up drug stores and ends up in jail with the best bank man in the country for a cellmate. He becomes a student and promises to break some of the big-time bank robbers out and form a real mob. As soon as his time is up, he robs a movie theatre and only escapes getting caught because the ticket girl thinks he's cute! He gets guns into the prison, and soon his pals are out and no bank in the country is safe. He gains more power over his gang and gets double-crossed, but no jail can hold him and he's soon back, robbing trains. After a lot of trouble with the feds, Dillinger gets his. Fast-moving, tough gangster flick with robbery footage stolen from Fritz Lang's You Only Live Once, because it's only appropriate that you steal something in making a Dillinger picture. -zwolf

Dil Se (C, 1998)
A happy-go-lucky young man goes to work for a radio station in India, heading into the hills to interview terrorists at a training camp to find out what they're so mad about. On the way he sees a black-veiled girl at a train station and becomes instantly smitten, but she leaves. He starts seeing her all over the place and tries to talk to her. She tells him to go away, but he's devoted and stalks her (in movies this is usually considered "romantic" - remember The Graduate?) She says she's married, her brothers beat the crap out of him, and still he keeps on being obsessed, even though the girl's not even pretty. She starts to relent a little, but always maintains her distance because she has a dark secret: she's a terrorist, and has been given a suicide mission... He agrees to marry another girl his parents have arranged for him, but the terrorist girl shows up at his wedding preparation, wanting a job at the radio station. She wants to get press access to a big parade, where her "martyrdom operation" will take place. He finally gets enough clues and figures out what's happening and gets in big trouble, still trying to save her... and even though she's having second thoughts, she may be too deeply brainwashed to stop. Bollywood romance with a dark edge, pretty powerful. The musical numbers aren't as intrusive as usual, and even though I'm not a big fan of those, I did like the one on the train... everybody was rocking out so hard I'm surprised they didn't derail it. One of the more popular Indian films stateside, with a political message that's a bit gutsier than the usual ultra-patriotic jingoism. -zwolf

Diner (C, 1982)
Barry Levinson directed this critically-acclaimed, no-action nostalgia piece about a bunch of guys (Mickey Rourke, Kevin Bacon, Timothy Daly, Paul Reiser, and others) who hang out at a diner. It's set in 1959 Baltimore, so there's lots of '50's music and atmosphere. Mickey Rourke has some of the best parts as a sleaze who bets on his sexual exploits. There's also a guy who makes his girlfriend pass a football test before he'll marry her. Some people will love it, but the only reason I kept watching was because I was waiting for the '68 Lost Continent to come on after it. Not badly made, and not as boring as it could be, just not my type, so if it sounds interesting, watch it, and if it doesn't, don't. -zwolf

Dinosaurus! (C, 1960)
A tyrannosaurus, brontosaurus, and a Neanderthal man are discovered frozen under the sea. They're brought up, thawed, and revived by lightning. It's all very convenient. A little kid befriends the bronto and the Neanderthal, and says things like "You sure are one terrific caveman!" The Neanderthal saves a woman by attacking the tyrannosaurus with an axe, and she stays in a cave with him and says things like "What does a nice caveman do after a hard day's work in the jungle?" The monsters fight each other, and the T. rex fights a steamshovel. The monsters are mostly done in (grade B) stopmotion photography, but sometimes appear to be really good puppets. Juvenile, but fun. -zwolf

Django (C, 1966)
Notoriously violent spaghetti western that spawned more than fifty sequels (most of which weren't sequels at all - just unrelated westerns with "Django" in the title). Despite some really terrible dubbed dialogue, the film boasts a strong first half hour as a stranger named Django (played by icy-eyed, scruffy Franco Nero) drags a coffin across a landscape of mud. He rescues a woman from some sadists who just rescued her from some other sadists (lotta sadists in this movie), then trudges into town, drags his coffin into a bar, and then sits and waits. The town is besieged in a war between Mexican banditos and a Ku Klux Klan-like bunch of ex-Confederates who wear red hoods and are led by a fanatic named Major Jackson. Django soon picks a fight with the Major and his men, kills several, and invites the whole group (50 or so) to a showdown in the street. When they show up, he pulls a Gatling-type machine gun out of his coffin and mows them down. Things get slightly more ordinary after that, as Django joins up with the Mexican bandits, pulls a double-cross, and ends up at war with everybody until they crush his hands and leave him supposedly helpless. But, he manages an impressive and memorable (if highly unlikely) showdown in the graveyard in the end. The body count is in the hundreds, and amidst the brutal hand-crushing there are also scenes were ears are sliced off and fed to their owners, whippings, punch-outs, and a catchy theme song to make it all more jovial. Not as stylish as Sergio Leone's work, but still heavily influential and nearly legendary. There are more violent spaghetti westerns (such as the extremely-nasty Cutthroats Nine, for instance), but this was hardcore for its time, and may still be a bit much for some viewers. Despite the dozens of subsequent films with "Django" in the title, there was only one official sequel, Django Strikes Again, once again pairing star Franco Nero and director Sergio Corbucci, over 20 years later in 1987. Both films came out on DVD as a letterboxed two-disc set. -zwolf

Django Kill... If You Live, Shoot! (C, 1967) AKA Se sei vivo spara, Oro Hondo, Oro Maldito
Infamous and legendary entry into the sequel-in-name-only series of films that came out in the wake of Corbucci's Django. This one was rarely seen and had levels of violence and weirdness that made it often whispered about. Turns out it was a case of too much hype, really, even though it is pretty violent and weird... just not that violent or weird. Some Indians who are looting some corpses they find in a mass grave discover that one of them isn't dead - a half-breed named Django (or at least that's what we'll call him, since his name is never mentioned in the movie, only the title). He'd been gunned down by some bandit companions who decided not to share their stolen gold with their Mexican partners and shot them instead. The guys who find Django (Tomas Milian, who was Chaco in Fulci's Four of the Apocalypse) heal him up and melt some gold down into bullets - they'll work better than lead for taking revenge. They take him to a town called the Unhappy Place, where the murdering bandits have been massacred by the gold-hungry townspeople. Django shoots up the leader, but doesn't kill him. During bullet-removal surgery the townspeople find out the bullets are gold and they jam their fingers into his wounds trying to grab the rest of the bullets, which kills him. Django hangs around because the gold's still in town (the alderman and the saloonkeeper are hiding it from a local rancher and arguing about who gets a bigger share). The rancher and his black-clad, gay muchachos kidnap the saloon keeper's weirdo son (he likes to slash up his stepmother's clothes) and Django tries to help the kid escape, but the kid kills himself first. The gold gets hidden in his coffin and buried, and then the alderman kills his partner and frames Django, who gets help from the alderman's supposedly-insane wife who's been kept locked upstairs... but things don't go smoothly. Notorious for its violence, which isn't quite as widespread as rumored but is pretty strong, including graphic bullet-removals, a scalping, an exploding horse, and a few psychedelic editing techniques. Plus there's a lot of Christ imagery associated with Django and fascist imagery with the muchachos, just to take things to another level. Still pretty strong, strange stuff. -zwolf

Doctor Blood's Coffin (C, 1960)
Ambitious doctor Peter Blood (I guess they named him that in homage of Errol Flynn's character in Captain Blood) is run out of his hospital for carrying on forbidden experiments on human beings. Soon afterward, people in his hometown turn up missing and medical supplies are being stolen, because Dr. Blood has set up shop in an old tin mine outside of town, and he's come home to work with his father, who's also a doctor. And all the while he's still kidnaping people and doing experimental medical procedures on them. To impress his nurse girlfriend, he transplants a living heart into the moldy, rotten corpse of her late husband and brings him back to life. She is somewhat less than pleased... Tries to be a Hammer-type film on a budget, but doesn't quite make it. Pretty average. -zwolf

Dr. Lamb (C, 1992) AKA Gao Yang yi Sheng, Dr. Lam
Hong Kong "Category III" horror-crime drama. Simon Yam gets caught with some "abnormal" naked photos of girls, and the cops work very hard to beat a confession out of him, but he barely even flinches and says nothing. Finally when his family starts hating him, he confesses. He'd been working as a taxi driver and picked up some drugged-out woman who vomited on him. That, combined with a rainstorm, triggered him to strangle her, take her corpse home, and start working it over with a meat cleaver, then a circular saw. Lotsa blood and bits of meat hitting the walls but it's not as extreme gore-wise as it could have been. When the cops check his house they find body parts in jars, including a severed breast which, oddly enough, is used as comedy relief! He has a collection of them because he started killing more women on rainy days. Some of these killings have nastier gore. Most of the women he kills are prostitutes, but he does kill one who's innocent and wants to marry her after she's dead. Pretty twisted, for sure, but not quite as graphic as its reputation suggests, although the necrophilia is pretty taboo-breaking. The subtitles are often ridiculous ("He excretes feces and urine in his room. I think he is normal."), but the story's dark and pretty well-done. Not a must-see, but fairly sick crime drama-horror flick. -zwolf

Donnie Brasco (C, 1997)
I hate Johnny Depp's guts so you know if I tell you he's good in this movie, it's only 'cuz it's true. And Al Pacino is even better. Depp stars as Joe Pistone, a.k.a. Donnie Brasco, an undercover operative for the feds who's been trying to get in good with some mobsters in order to get the goods on them. It works better than he ever dreamed - with the help of a completely unwitting guy named Lefty (Pacino), who practically adopts Donnie, Donnie gets to be a "made guy." This is great for the feds, but it's rough on Donnie. His marriage is falling apart because he's never at home (and when he is, he's so locked into his gangster role that he's not the same guy anymore), and he's reluctant to blow the whistle on the bad guys because he knows that if he does, they'll "send for" (that's "kill" to youse citizens) his ol' buddy Lefty, who he's actually come to love. One of the best gangster movies to come out in the past several years, this is a definite must-see. Top notch in all respects? Fegiddaboudit! -zwolf

Donnie Darko (C, 2001)
Wow. Playing like a John Hughes script filmed by David Lynch, right down to the soundtrack, this one opens strangely with Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) waking up in the middle of the road in the foothills above his neighborhood after what must have been a serious night of uphill sleep-biking. Donnie's new friend is Frank, a rabbit (man?... man-rabbit?) from the future who gives Donnie the date of the end of the world & a series of violent tasks to complete. Can Donnie figure out the basic principles of time travel before he gets caught & everything stops? Or has he just gone friggin' nuts? Go watch it & see for yourself. An excellent cast & an excellent film. -igor

Don't Open The Door (C, 1975)
This is the most uninvolving of director S.F. Brownrigg's four classic low-budget horror movies (Don't Look in the Basement, Scum of the Earth, and Keep My Grave Open are the others) because of some clumsy narrative choices in the first twenty minutes or so, but stick with it; like all of Brownrigg's stuff it should be seen and studied for its strange atmosphere. Browrigg's regular cast members (Gene Ross, Rhea MacAdams, Hugh Feagin, Annabelle Weenick) are on hand for this Southern gothic psycho-slasher tale, in which a young lady comes to a small town after an anonymous caller tells her that her grandmother is dying. Soon after she arrives she hears doors closing elsewhere in the creepy old house, and soon after that a weird stranger starts making disturbing phone calls... the ol' the-calls-are-coming-from-inside-the-house trick, with the guy watching her from a secret room while he fondles dolls, telling her that he's the guy who stabbed her mother to death years before. It's pretty creepy and demented but manages to maintain a PG rating. Madness is scarier than blood, anyway, and Brownrigg was a master at portraying nightmarish craziness. -zwolf

Don't Torture A Duckling (C, 1972) AKA Non Si Sevizia Un Poperino, Woodoo, The Long Night of Exorcism
Lucio Fulci's first graphically gory film is a strange giallo about the murder of young boys in an isolated mountain village. There are plenty of likely suspects - a mentally-deficient goof who likes to watch guys making out with grotesque whores, a witch who digs up baby skeletons and makes voodoo dolls, and a pedophile slut who gets off on teasing the local boys to keep herself occupied when she can't get drugs. The imbecile guy finds one of the kids dead and buries him, then makes a ransom demand... because he's an idiot. Then a woman doing her washing finds another boy at the bottom of a cistern. Then another boy gets a phone call and agrees to meet someone, then wanders out in the rain and is choked to death. People start to suspect the witch, so the police visit her teacher, a black magician who lives like a hermit, but he says she's not evil, and that he was out in the area of the killing that night, following a vision from a saint. Then the cops notice the slutty woman visiting the old magician, too. As evidence mounts, the villagers track down the witch woman, who confesses to killing the boys because they were messing around near the grave of her child. But she didn't strangle them - she just used voodoo dolls, so she's not really the killer. An angry mob whips her to death with chains, anyway, which is damned graphic and brutal, chunks of flesh being stripped away and blood flowing... it's Fulci being Fulci. Another boy is found face-down in a pond with his head split open, after he was hanging around with the slut-woman. She's interrogated and says she didn't kill anyone, but is a drug fiend with an interest in black magic. An investigator and the slut start finding doll-heads, which leads to the discovery of the killer and a scene where someone falls down the side of a mountain, tearing ragged chunks off of their face as they hit rocks on the way down. It's a pretty obvious dummy, but ya gotta give points for the idea. This isn't the all-out gorefest type of film that Fulci would later become infamous for, but it is an effective and twisted giallo film that was very hard to find before the advent of DVDs. The title translated literally to "Don't Torture Donald Duck" (from one of the doll heads) but was changed because Disney is a jealous god, with lawyers numerous and mighty, amen. -zwolf

The Doom Generation (C, 1995)
"Sex. Mayhem. Whatever." This cheapo gorefest has gotten a cult following and even some critical acclaim (Variety was impressed!) even though it's not that far removed from a Troma movie: it looks just like one, the acting's about that caliber, the plot's their kind of deal, and a lot of the dialogue is Troma-tic. A bitchy valley girl and her stoner cabbage of a boyfriend pick up a psychotic creep named X (who has Jesus tattooed on his penis) and they get involved in a convenience store shooting (with a ridiculous decapitation gag) that becomes a murder spree. Everywhere they go the number 666 shows up, and everybody mistakes the girl for someone else. A fast food worker stalks them and gets an arm blown off. A love-triangle develops, so there's plenty o' sex mixed with all the violence. Things just kind of meander along to a nihilistic ending. It's a little overrated, but it's not bad overall... it's just that pointlessness is the point. Lots of cameos by people like Christopher Knight (Peter from The Brady Bunch), Heidi Fleiss, Margaret Cho, Amanda Bearse, and Perry Farrell from Jane's Addiction. Might've been more effective if it wasn't intended as a comedy... From Greg Araki, who seems to be tryin' to build a rep from this kind of thing, since he has other movies like Totally Fucked Up, Nowhere, and This Is How The World Ends. -zwolf

Doomwatch (C, 1972)
British eco-horror based on a BBC TV series. A scientist from the anti-pollution Doomwatch association visits an unfriendly seaside village to study effects of toxins in the environment there. The locals view him as a threat, because they're suffering from strange mutations. Dogs and people are becoming violent, there are bodies buried in the woods, and there are terrible things locked away in back bedrooms, all stemming from eating contaminated fish full of pituitary growth hormone which causes aggression and acromegaly. The makeup effects are great, but the narrative is a bit stiff and dry, and it comes across as closer to drama than horror. Still, it's well-made and not bad. -zwolf

Double Identity (C)
Dubbed espionage "thriller" in which a man is repeatedly mistaken for his evil twin. The Russians are out to kill the twin because he stole secrets from the KGB. The only way to tell the twins apart is by smell! Finally, after much sneaking around, the guy confronts his twin and attempts to settle things. Very boring. Apparently a French/German co-production. Deservedly obscure. -zwolf

Dragnet (C, 1954)
First film featuring Jack Webb's unique creation, no-nonsense inspector Sgt. Joe Friday. Friday and company investigate the shotgun murder of a small-time hood, firing questions at suspects right and left until they get the facts. Jack Webb looks calm even when he's beating the snot out of people. Pretty hardboiled and cool. Followed by a '69 TV movie and the famous series. -zwolf

Dragnet (C, 1969)
Sgt. Friday (Jack Webb) and his partner Gannon (Harry Morgan) are after the man who killed a couple of models, even though Gannon has a toothache. They show practically everybody in the world artist drawings and eventually scrape together the evidence. Funny and well-done, just like the series it spawned. Friday telling off a racist child molester is a highlight. Made for TV. -zwolf

Dragon Against Vampire (C, 1985)
Three goofy, unsuccessful thieves wander around robbing graves, eating dogs, getting attacked by hands that burst from the ground, and acting unconscionably stupid. They come to an old inn and find out that a vampire has been preying on virginal young girls in the area. Two of the thieves and the innkeeper are killed, so the remaining thief tries to protect the innkeeper's beautiful daughter and avenge his friends. The vampire can control the daughter's mind, and he makes her drink chicken blood. The thief goes to an old hermit who teaches him Shaolin sorcery and gives him an amulet that looks like a backwards swastika but works like a crucifix. Not much fighting, but plenty of comedy, and a little mild gore. Enjoyable enough Chinese kung fu/comedy/horror, but seeing the name "Elton Chong" in the credits is always a sign that this isn't going to be the best kung fu movie you've ever seen... -zwolf

Dragon Claws (C, late 1970's) AKA Secret Ninja, Secret Ninja Roaring Tiger
(This one gets confusing - I think HKMDB has it wrong, and that the"5 Pattern Dragon Claws" movie is the Joseph Kuo movie... which IMDB has erroneously placed the DVD picture next to on their site. Make sense out of all the retitling if you can.) There are at least two movies with this title, and they both star Hwang Jang Lee! The one I'm talking about here is the one with Dragon Lee and directed by the usually-bad Godfrey Ho, who is doing a better-than-usual job here. This is one of my all-time favorites, largely for sentimental reasons (an obscure satellite station, The Carribbean Super Station, used to show it a lot and I saw it a jillion times - one of my first kung fu movies. Hwang wants to steal some secret kung fu manuals from a temple right before a big martial arts contest. An overly-ambitious student steals the books and the abbot ends up dead, and Dragon goes after Hwang's gang with a vengeance. Hwang is really one bad dude in this one; he grabs people's chests and they pee, then die! He can also set people on fire with the friction of his kicks. He even kicks one of Dragon's nipples off! Dragon gets injured pretty badly and is left for dead, but he's found by a white-haired beggar monk who heals him. There's also a monk who sounds like he was dubbed by Peter Brady doing his "pork chopsh and apple shaush" Bogie impression. Dragon trains hard, even fighting a guy wearing a weird tiger mask! Like most Dragon Lee movies, this one is spiced up with bizarre elements, and the fights are much more dramatic than usual, with spaghetti-western-duel buildups, and they do pay off. This is still one of my favorite kung fu flicks, and even though it's for sentimental reasons, I think the film can still back it up, too. Especially since the price of the DVD is about five bucks and the quality's decent. -zwolf

Dragon Vs. Needles of Death (C, 1982) AKA Needles of Death
A sullen young man named Chung Shan joins a kung fu school, but he gets picked on a lot for missing practice... but he's actually off practicing something else: throwing nails into trees and rocks. His dad was a carpenter, so he always had lots of nails to play with, and keeps plenty of them around in hidden armbands. He's haunted because his family was killed by plague and doesn't get along with most of the other students. One of them, a guy named Sammy, is more sympathetic, though, and helps train him in kung fu in exchange for nail-throwing lessons. Their relationship is strained because they're both in love with their teacher's daughter. Chung Shan gets the girl but becomes an outcast because the teacher doesn't approve, and he ends up working for salt smugglers. A criminal contracts him to kill a rival leader... who turns out to be Sammy's long-lost father. Gang fighting erupts, but the fight between Sammy and Chung Shan is more personal and tragic. Good plot and plenty of action make up for a low budget and lack of big names in the cast. The last 20 minutes is constant fighting, with nails, knives, and a tonfa coming into play. The dubbing sounds like it was done by people who usually do Italian crime and horror movies. I liked this one a lot. -zwolf

Dreamcatcher (C, 2003)
If you took Signs, John Carpenter's The Thing, Alien, Stand by Me, and David Cronenberg's Shivers & pureed them together into a paste, this film would be the runny bowel movement that you'd have after eating & digesting that paste. I've always really enjoyed Stephen King movies... til I saw 'em. Don't get me wrong, I think The Shining is an amazing film. The Green Mile & Shawshank Redemption were very good, too. But usually King's stuff, excellently written, just bites on film... Maximum Overdrive, Lawnmower Man, The Mangler, Needful Things... So, anyway, government quarantines & violent soldiers led by the now-insane Easy Reader (who now has eyebrows like an old Shaolin monk!), an alien virus that attacks all living creatures, and some found-in-the-cold strangers who burp & fart all of the time, all get in the way of some old friends reuniting for their annual visit to their boyhood somethingsomething... I should've dozed off at that point. The usual King fare, loaded down by derivative everything & very average special effects. -igor

The Driver (C, 1978)
Ryan O'Neal is the best professional getaway driver in the business, with nerves of steel and icewater in his veins. Bruce Dern is a hothead detective obsessed with bringing him in. Both are a bit unbalanced. Bruce tries to set Ryan up, but finds that the criminal world is more difficult to deal with than he thought. Lots of excellent car (or truck, in some cases) chase scenes, and, as usual, great direction by Walter Hill. Isabelle Adjani also stars. -zwolf

Duel At Diablo (C, 1966)
Indians battle the cavalry in the desert, picking them off until there's just a small group left, including Sidney Poitier, a woman with a half-Indian baby, and James Garner, who carries around the scalp of his dead Comanche wife until he finds the man who killed her. Well-made western with plenty of action. A couple of violent (but not gory) scenes include Garner sticking a knife to a man's neck and breaking his arm, and Indians torturing a man by turning him on a wheel over a slow fire. -zwolf

The Dunwich Horror (C, 1969)
Sandra Dee falls into the clutches of Brady-haired Dean Stockwell, who plans to use her as a sacrifice to allow The Old Ones, a race of ancient gods, to return to Earth. Superstitious villagers try to stop him. Full of weird effects such as tricks with color, lots of distortion lenses, and odd camera angles. Not bad unless you're expecting it to be as good as H. P. Lovecraft's story... in which case, you're going to be disappointed in every Lovecraft movie, because his writing just doesn't translate to film. -zwolf
I really enjoyed this one, much more than The Haunted Palace or any other similar stuff from this era. Outside of Stuart Gordon's Re-Animator & From Beyond, you won't find a better Lovecraft film. Ia! Yog-sothoth! -igor

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