The Fan (C, 1996)
Robert DeNiro is a baseball-worshiping knife salesman whose life is falling apart. He loses his temper with clients (a really bad habit in a knife salesman!) and doesn't make many sales, his ex-wife is getting a restraining order against him, and his plan of being a hero to his son is not going well due to his selfishness and crazy temper and his attempts to push baseball on the boy. About the only thing that's going well for him is that his favorite team, The Giants, have signed top hitter Wesley Snipes. But Snipes is having his own run of bad luck, too. Unable to deal with the rest of the things that are messed up in his life, DeNiro decides to try to help Snipes out of his slump by killing the player (Benicio Del Toro) who has Snipes's lucky number 11 uniform. But Snipes, being a sane person, doesn't show the proper appreciation for this, and DeNiro gets mad. A good return to Travis Bickle territory for DeNiro, and the film hits on all levels - quality script, direction, and performances. (This is immaterial, but here's a fun thing you can do: Snipes's character's name is "Bobby," so whenever you see DeNiro cheering for him, you can pretend he's congratulating himself on the great acting job he's doing. "Attaboy, Bob-bay!" Well, it cracked me up, anyway... ) -zwolf

Fantasy Mission Force (C, 1984) AKA Dragon Attack, Mini Special Force, Mai nei dak gung dui
One amazingly insane and stupid kung-fu thingie-whatsis starring Jimmy Wang Yu and Jackie Chan. It's World War II and the Japanese are attacking the world from a base that appears to be in uppermost Canada(?). Commanders from various countries (with Abraham Lincoln representing the U.S.) try to find someone to deal with the problem. After considering James Bond, Snake Plissken, "the bald-headed detective" (Kojak, maybe?), a woman with an eyepatch, and Rocky Balboa, they settle on Wang Yu. He starts recruiting an attack squad from various criminals, Dirty Dozen style, starting with Jackie. Jackie looks like a chimney sweep or something, wearing a top hat and doing a musical number. Sometimes he also has a Mexican bandito mustache, and sometimes he doesn't, although if he's supposed to be a disguise expert or something, I missed it. Jackie fights a big hulking fat guy, and then a guy dressed like Sherlock Holmes shows up, and a woman in leather blows up a shack with a rocket launcher, and then a bunch of Japanese guys dressed as Scotsmen show up and the woman takes one guy who may be trying to look like Elvis hostage. Then some guys with hoods over their heads ride in on horses, and a guy dressed as a knight causes some slapstick by jamming the point of his oversized WWI-like German helmet into someone's ass. Some more hooded guys (wearing Tarzan get-up aside from the hoods)jump out of a roof like ninja, and some Amazon women show up and put our heroes (if these are supposed to be our heroes - there's not enough of a plot to tell) lock them up with their heads through boards that have dominatrix-bodies painted under the head-holes. Then some Japanese Nazis show up in old cars from the 70's that have swastikas painted on them (except for the one that has a Star of David) and raise havoc. Or, at least I think they do - by that point I couldn't devote much more attention to this dreck. If there's a plot, it's well-hidden, and if it makes any sense to you then you're probably either on something or are well-versed in fever dreams. Either hilarious or dull, depending on your mood. Mine tended toward dull today, and the forecast calls for more dull tomorrow. People say Killer Meteors is Jackie's worst, but they haven't seen this. I actually like Killer Meteors. Most budget DVDs of this look and sound like they were filmed off a screen in someone's basement. -zwolf

Farz (C, 2001)
Made-in-India combo of Cobra, Lethal Weapon, and... Cop Rock! And layer heavily with the John Woo film of your choice. Some terrorists are running rampant, blowing things up (with some of the craziest, most extreme explosions you've ever seen - Bollywood has some ace pyro guys) and a police commissioner nearing retirement is getting fed up with them. So he gets saddled with loose cannon Sunny Deol, a guy who bears a vague resemblance to Sylvester Stallone and who sports a comb-over hairstyle even though he's not going bald. Sunny is ultra-tough and doesn't play around with criminals; he just wades in with a .45 in each hand and guns them all down... stopping every once in a while for the prerequisite Bollywood song-and-dance numbers, or to munch carrots. Sunny is so tough and cool that it's hilarious already, always blowing things up and not even flinching when they go off - smirking, in fact. He steals lines from Cobra ("Crime is the disease for which I am the cure!") and stunts from Lethal Weapon (jumping off a building and taking a criminal with him... 'cept with Sunny there's no air bag waiting!) and he drives his partner insane... especially when he starts a whirlwind romance with the guy's daughter, and even ends up marrying her - which makes her a target for the killers. Then he kills the brother of a master terrorist and things intensify even more, with the terrorist enacting a relentless (and brilliant) campaign to discredit and disgrace Sunny and drive him insane before killing him. But making Sunny crazy and enraged might not really be such a brilliant idea, seeing as how he kills dozens of people even when he's calm and happy. In between the songs and stylish slam-bang mayhem, there's a parody of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire with kids winning Pepsis, and our hero bench-presses a bus! Oddly, people start spontaneously speaking English for a few sentences now and then, my favorite outburst of which is an impassioned "I... hate... your... FACE!" Unbelievable action epic with lots of violence and plot twists that don't stop. Granted, it's all so over-the-top that it's not anywhere near realistic, but so what - it's entertaining as hell! Check it out... all nearly 3 hours of it. -zwolf

Fascination (C, 1979)
From one of the opening images - a woman in a lacy white dress standing spotless in the middle of a blood-splattered slaughterhouse - you know you're in for something weird and artsy. But, what else would you expect from Jean Rollin? A runaway thief finds an ominous old castle to use as a hide out, and there he finds a pair of pretty lesbians who have fun teasing him. It soon becomes clear that something strange is going on and he's in over his head, but he can't leave because some other criminals whom he ripped off are outside gunning for him. The girls warn him to leave before dark, because some "guests" are coming. One of the girls goes out to deal with the criminals - she stabs one while having sex with him, then picks up a scythe and dispatches the others, like a combo reaper/angel of death. Then darkness falls and the guests - described as "death" - start arriving. They're a club of seductive women who worship Satan, drink blood, and tell the thief that at midnight they're going to ritually murder him and use him as a main course. He doesn't take them seriously and he's having a ball dancing and playing games with them, but then midnight comes.... Beautiful-looking film has more plot substance than most Rollin films, mainly because the sex (while still there in abundance) isn't the primary motivation for the film. Lots of nudity but pretty mild gore. Classy horror sleaze. -zwolf

Fast and the Furious (B&W, 1954)
John Ireland is a hood on the run after killing a trucker, and he kidnaps Dorothy Malone to go along for the ride because she has a fast car. She proves to be quite a handful, though, and gives him a lot of trouble. The cops are looking everywhere for him, so he figures out the only way to stay incognito is to join in a car race to Mexico. Meanwhile, he and Dorothy start to like each other. Fast-paced '50's drive-in fodder that was one of Roger Corman's first production jobs. Has absolutely nothing to do with the Vin Diesel movie of the same name. -zwolf

Fatal Needles Vs. Fatal Fists
(C, 1980)
A couple of top law officers - the guy with the hat and the guy without one - catch a lot of bandits until they meet up with some guys called The Four Devils and the guy with no hat accidentally kills the guy with the hat (who was the more charismatic of the two... I think it was because of the hat). The remaining guy (Don Wong, who you'll also like in The Hot, The Cool, And The Vicious) becomes a drunk out of guilt, swears off fighting, and starts working as a laborer. But then his friendly employers get targeted by a colorful gang of thugs (including a little guy with Elvis sideburns, a huge fat guy with a toupee in the middle of his chest, and a guy with long white hair who kills by throwing acupuncture needles. This provides our hatless hero with a chance at revenge, and redemption. Better than usual plot, and the acupuncture needles make interesting weapons. The DVD contains an interesting and very informative commentary track by Ric Meyers (a kung fu film buff) and Bobby Samuels (a martial artist) that's worth the (modest) price of the disc all by itself. -zwolf

Fat Guy Goes Nutzoid (C, 1986) AKA Zeisters
Two drug-taking lowlifes are stuck with a huge, drooling, farting, crying, puking fat guy who's severely retarded and has a pinhead haircut. They take him to town and the viewer gets to laugh uproariously at his handicaps and see jokes about retards being shot, called names, and depicted as monsters. Sound ugly? That's because it is. This indefensible low-budget piece of shit from Troma productions is vulgar, unfunny, mean, and juvenile. Bad taste is fine, but this is just degrading, even by Troma standards. It was directed by John Golden. Fuck you, John, I hope you and your momma get cancer. That'd be funny, wouldn't it, John? Ha ha, fascist bastard. I'm glad you never got to make another movie. -zwolf

Fathom (C, 1967)
Silly espionage fluff with Raquel Welch as a skydiving expert named Fathom Harvill, who gets recruited by a British spy agency to recover something called "The Fire Dragon." At first it's supposed to be a device that can trigger an H-bomb, so Fathom agrees to the plan, but she later discovers that it's really just a jewel-covered golden dragon that's been stolen from the Chinese government. Everybody wants the artifact, including a horny, cold-blooded megalomaniac, nearly-insufferable and oddly-prissy Tony Franciosa (who delivers his lines like he's in love with himself and calls Raquel "poppet" waaaay too much... I usually like the guy, but this role makes you want to slap him, but that's part of the character, I guess), and the British team... any and all of whom may actually be double-crossing bad guys! A very-much '60's caper flick with happy music, pat dialogue, and goofy plot devices. But, Raquel makes for extremely good eye candy, and this utilizes her nearly as well as any film she's ever done (except maybe Hannie Caulder, which desperately needs a DVD release if anyone with the power to do so is reading this) and it's all pretty entertaining, anyway. Heck, I know I watched it enough times back when our local TV station used to play it in their late-night movie lineup, back when we only got three channels and there were no VCRS or DVDs (*Editor's Note: For you young people out there, this era was known as the 1970's). So, maybe it's a sentimental favorite... -zwolf

Fear in the Night (B&W, 1947)
Star Trek's Dr. McCoy, DeForrest Kelley, stars in this moody film noir flick with a brooding atmosphere courtesy of the Cornell Woolrich story ("Nightmare") upon which it was based. Kelley dreams that he kills a man in a mirrored room and then locks the corpse in a closet... and he wakes up with a key in his hand and blood on his wrist. He becomes obsessed with finding out what happened while he was asleep, and starts trying to track down that mirrored room, using deja vu as leads. During a rainstorm he finds the house with the mirrored room and tries to get help from his detective brother-in-law, who helps him discover what caused the killing and who's really responsible. Fast-paced, stylish noir with a very dark feel to it. -zwolf

Fear Is The Key (C, 1972)
Barry Newman is a scuba expert who is forced by gangsters to help them recover sunken jewels. He doesn't want to help them, because they killed his wife and child years ago. In the claustrophobic climax, he and tow of the hoods are in a small submarine and Barry turns off the oxygen. Barry also leads some cops on a great car-chase, too - after Vanishing Point, wouldn't you be disappointed if he didn't? Rugged, tough actioner from a novel by Alistair Maclaine. -zwolf

Fearless Fighters (C, 1973)
Some gold-seeking bandits kill a man's family, and he breaks out of jail to seek revenge. He allies himself with a whip expert and his sister, and a traveling swordswoman. The bandits form a gang to combat them, and recruit two martial arts experts called The Soul Pickers to help. One uses golden disks that emit a solar ray, and the other uses a big metal crescent in each hand. A guy called One Man Army also aids the evil doers. The bad guys are also helped by a group of Vampire Phantoms who disguise themselves as statues. One of the good guys falls off a cliff and destroys an arm and leg, but an old master replaces them with bionic weapons. Great kung fu movie with swordfighting instead of hand-to-hand, better-than-usual photography, and loads of colorful weapons and neat camera tricks (which seem to make up for a lack of true fighting skill in some of the actors). Total fun superhero-fu! -zwolf

Feast of Flesh (B&W, 1967) AKA The Deadly Organ
A crazy pervert in monster get-up goes out drugging women to make them into sex slaves whom he can control by playing an electronic organ. He also kills them by shooting them up with heroin, then dumps the bodies on the beach. Meanwhile swingers at the South American nightclubs are partying away, providing him with loads of potential victims. The dialogue-less scenes of him injecting women and then kissing them (with his monster mask still on) in his shadowy beachhouse are pretty weird, but the partying and police-investigation all get pretty tedious. The movie seems built mainly around people making out and brief titty-exposure scenes, none of which are as explicit as director Emilio Vieyra's softcore horror flick, The Curious Dr. Humpp. -zwolf

Female Convict Scorpion: Jailhouse 41 (C, 1972) AKA Joshu sasori dai 41 zakkyobou
Second in a Japanese women-in-prison series, this stars Meiko Kaji from the Lady Snowblood films as Sasori ("Scorpion"), a woman who's been wrongly imprisoned and is on a vengeance hunt. She's so dangerous that they keep her locked in a dark, cold, wet cell. When an inspector comes and they let her out, she tries to jab a sharpened spoon through a guard's other eye (apparently she got the other one in the first movie). So they chain her to a log and let the guards gang-rape her as a lesson to the others. Soon she stages a breakout from a prison truck and does some hideous things to the guards before leading some of her fellow inmates through the mountains. And that's where things get weird and mystical. They meet a crazy old woman with a knife, whose house falls down around her. She dies and a big wind springs up, covers her with leaves, and when they blow away again, she disappears. Then the cops start catching up to them. When some tourists rape and kill one of the girls, waterfalls turn to blood and Scorpion hijacks their bus and lets the girls torture them. When the abuse spreads to the innocent tourists the movie becomes a surreal production number about infanticide. At a roadblock the girls push Scorpion off the bus as a decoy, and the cops capture her and use her to try to free the busload of hostages... and she plays a trick, getting revenge. Very strange and effective hybrid of exploitation and art, poetic scenes mixed in with gore and sleaze. And it works! Kaji is stunningly beautiful and her acting is haunting, even though she says less than a half-dozen words the whole film; she has a feral, thousand-yard stare from hell... she's convincingly dangerous. Damned cool, completely punks out Xena. -zwolf

Female Vampire (C, 1973) AKA Erotikill, La Comtesse Noire, The Bare-Breasted Countess, The Loves of Irina
If you have to see one Jess Franco film (and believe me, you don't), this is supposed to be the one - his best work. Lina Romay wanders foggy forests wearing a cape, boots, and a belt... and that's it. She's mute and looks like somebody killed her puppy right before she went catatonic. Still, men don't ask any questions when she wanders out of the woods and bites them on the penis. She laments her fate in voice-over narration and drives a car with a flapping-bat hood ornament, for she is Countess Irina Karlstein, a descendant of a long line of vampires. Director Franco himself plays Dr. Roberts, a VanHelsing type who wants to put an end to the countess's suckfests. Meanwhile she's solemnly going about her business, gnawing the crotches of every man or woman she meets. Killing arouses her, so she frenziedly masturbates over the corpses of her victims. She can also turn into a seagull (maybe it's supposed to be a bat - everything in the world of Jess Franco is "close enough" - hey, it flies, what's the diff?) by flapping her arms. When she can't get a person, she sucks her thumb or a bedpost. She also visits a lesbian torture dungeon, just for variety. Then she meets a guy she really likes and is torn between love and bloodlust... and that's about as close as we get to any kind of plot. Franco's old fave, Dr. Orloff, shows up. He's blind but still does gynecological autopsies! Pretty light on story and no gore (the scenes from the Erotikill version at least smear some blood around her mouth), but loads of softcore porn and cheapshit camerawork, with occasional moments of art and atmosphere. Franco's best is still pretty sloppy, but this has some redeeming values... or lots of 'em if you're a horndog who can't bring yourself to watch hardcore. Lina Romay is pretty haunting in her uninhibited, deadpan performance. -zwolf

Fiend of Dope Island (B&W, 1961) AKA Whiplash
Charlie (played by former Tarzan Bruce Bennett) is a whip-wielding boss who owns everything and everybody on his small island in the Carribean, growing marijuana, dealing guns, and overacting with great enthusiasm. He abuses everybody around him, but they don't dare stand up to him until his right-hand man is surred on by "Yugoslavian bombshell" Tania Velia, a woman Charlie had shipped in for himself. She thinks Charlie's a scumbag and his cantina a dump, but she tries to manipulate him and does a lot of dancing, but that does no good, so she and Charlie's pal lead a native uprising against him, and if you thought he was overacting before... Dude must drink waaaaaay too much coffee, and use it to chase down meth-amps, because there's nothing left of the scenery but sawdust when he's done with it. Decent pseudo-sleazy island-adventure flick made a must-see by Bennett's jaw-droppingly hyperactive performance. He's so enthusiastic about his role that he's acting as fast as he can... it's like one big long spasm! He looks like he could fly to pieces at any second, and that makes the otherwise-standard story more compelling. -zwolf

Fifth Day of Peace (C, 1969) AKA God With Us, Crime of Defeat, Last Five Days of Peace, Dio e' Con Noi, Die im Dreck krepieren
Franco Nero and his friend are deserting German soldiers on the run as WW2 is ending. Hundreds of other German soldiers are being put in prison camps when Franco and his friend show up and turn themselves in, little knowing that a German Colonel von Bleicher is still commanding the loyalty of the German prisoners in the camp, and he's still exercising strict discipline. When some prisoners try to escape without checking with him first, he has them whipped to death. When he finds out that Nero and his pal are deserters, he wants them executed for it. A Canadian captain in charge of the camp has a power struggle going with von Bleicher, who has the audacity to ask for guns so he can execute the deserters, claiming it's not about the war, but about military principle. When the request is refused, the Germans protest by banging on their mess kits, en mass, nonstop, taking shifts so the monotonous noise never ends. Will the Canadian captain decide that the struggle to save a couple of deserters is worth it... or will he knuckle under? It'll only cost you a couple of bucks to find out, but be aware that the DVD's not great quality. Not bad military drama, with an Ennio Morricone soundtrack. -zwolf

Fight For Your Life (C, 1977) AKA I Hate Your Guts
Riveting low-budget suspense flick about a black family held hostage by three brutal thugs. The hoods - one Latino, one Chinese, and a redneck leader (William Sanderson, who's amazingly different from his funny Newhart/root beer commercial characters - he's completely despicable here!) - call the family every racist name in the book and generally abuse them. The father (named Ted Turner!) Is a preacher and doesn't believe in fighting back, but the incredibly nasty hoods push him far past his limits, and the family must take some much-needed vengeance. With a little nudity and mild gore, plenty of tension, and particularly scurvy criminals. Rather crudely made but very effective, should have you on the edge of your seat, and if it shows anybody how ugly racism can be, so much the better. -zwolf

Fight, Zatoichi, Fight (C, 1964) AKA Zatôichi kesshô-tabi, Blind Swordsman: Fight, Zatoichi, Fight, Zatoichi 8
The eighth Zatoichi film begins with a close-up of our blind swordsman hero almost stepping in horse shit, and, of course, it gets better from there. Some officials are on the hunt for him, and a lot of other blind masseurs pull a "I am Spartacus" trick to help him give them the slip. Then he gives his palanquin ride to a woman and her baby, not knowing that enemies were lying in wait for him, and they kill the woman, thinking he was still in the palanquin. Zatoichi takes the baby under his protection and sets out to return it to its father and avenge the murdered mother. So, Ichi doesn't only have to contend with fending off killers, but has to change diapers as well... sometimes simultaneously! He still finds time to do a little gambling and, as usual, proves impossible to cheat. A money-grubbing woman helps him look after the baby so she'll have a chance to pick his pocket. Things get a little bizarre when Ichi tries to nurse the baby, but overall the combination of Ichi's gentleness with the innocent child and his brutal slaughter of some truly unscrupulous enemies gives star Shintaro Katsu plenty of chances to show off not only his fighting skill but his acting range as well, including a flair for comedy (which, not surprisingly, often stems from incidents where the baby pees on somebody). The twist ending also delivers some strong pathos, and the fiery climactic fight is inspired. -zwolf

The Final Comedown (C, 1972)
Well-thought-out, more political than usual Blaxploitation (it's almost not exploitative... but then it includes plenty of sex and violence to keep its hand in that pool, too). A young black militant's story is told through interconnecting flashbacks as he's dying of a bullet wound received in a war with the police. Played by Billy Dee Williams, he's very intelligent but his impatience and rashness lead him astray, and open to manipulation... but such anger is hard to avoid, since he gets turned down for jobs when they find out he's black, he gets hassled by cops who think he stole a car he bought, and he has to watch is friends trying to escape into drugs. And finally, some well-meaning but flaky and incompetent white hippie types don't back him up like they promised and leave him hanging in a bad situation. The structure of the film is pretty smart; whenever the rhetoric of the flashbacks starts to get a bit heavy, they go back to more action scenes, which aren't badly done and include occasional blood-spraying. Doesn't hang together to be as powerful as it could have been, but definitely not just another black-action film. Worth seeking out. Also stars genre stalwart D'Urville Martin. -zwolf

The Final Countdown (C, 1980)
Kirk Douglas stars as the captain of the modern nuclear aircraft carrier The U.S.S. Nimitz, which, with full crew and modern jets, gets whisked back in time to the day of the raid on Pearl Harbor. Kirk must decide whether or not he should attack the Japanese forces and perhaps change history. Watching modern jets dogfighting old Japanese Zeroes is kind of strange, but there's not much action overall. Interesting concept, though. Also stars Charles Durning, Martin Sheen, Katherine Ross, and James Farentino. -zwolf

Find a Place to Die (C, 1968) AKA Joe... cercati un posto per morire!
After a rockslide caused by fending off bandits who are after their gold, a man is trapped under debris and has to send his pretty wife to a disreputable town for help. She finds this help in the form of a sweaty young man who's apparently driven to desperation by listening to a senorita sing the bad theme song. He was court-martialed from the cavalry and is hunted by the law and so he doesn't want to go there, because there's a torture-loving gang of Mexicans roaming that area. Money convinces him, though, and they gather a group of hard-luck guys who can use guns and head out to free the trapped husband. Soon they find dead bodies left by a bandit leader named Chato. Chato's found the husband first and tortured him to death, so the rescue party decides to take the gold instead, but Chato's gotten that, too. And he still wants the woman, so he sets up a standoff against them. Plenty of action and a fast-moving story, but this lacks much of the usual spaghetti-western style, coming across as more of a traditional American product. But not a bad one. -zwolf

Fist Of Iron, Feet Of Steel (C, ?)
...and brains of stone! Sorry, couldn't resist. Actually, this is a pretty good kung fu flick. A martial artist beats up some hoods on a bridge (only using one hand!) and makes them mad, so they come to his house, slap his mom around, and beat up his friends. He gets righteously pissed and, although he promised not to fight, he comes back to bust their heads. One of the main hoods is Yang Sze/Bolo Yeung, that incredibly muscular Chinese guy who's in so many of these movies. All the head gangsters wear hats that usually stay on even during fights. Stylish! Some crooked gambling with beans is also featured, as is some whorehouse humor. Good, bloody fights, including an amazing end battle with tonfa clubs and a staff. Better-than-average chop-socky. -zwolf

Fists, The Kicks, and The Evils (C, ??)
This is a retitling of god-knows-what. Some evil creeps (including Bolo Yeung, who's amazingly keeping his shirt on in this one - you can hardly recognize him!) start taking over kung fu schools and charging merchants protection money. Bruce Liang has to go up against them when they murder his father for knowing Crane Fist. Another teacher who's already dying from a previous fight with Bolo trains Bruce in Crane Fist before Bolo catches up to him and murders him. Bruce continues his training under an old master (kind of a Simon Yuen figure - this seems to be a variation on Jackie Chan movies). He starts ramming his hands into a bucket of rocks and smashing walnuts with a crane-form hand. Then he goes for revenge. It's about as standard as kung fu movies get, plot-wise, but it's very well handled and features good fight scenes (and lots of 'em - the climactic fight goes on for 10 minutes straight), so even if you've heard this one before, you'll like it again. Some plots are just classic, y'know? -zwolf

The Five Deadly Venoms (C, 1970's)
Kung fu classic about a rather goofy student who has to seek out five superwarriors from The Poison Clan, each of whose identity is a secret, and each of whom has been trained in a fighting style based on a different poisonous animal - snake, centipede, lizard, toad, and scorpion. Better-than-usual Chinese martial arts film plays like a video comic book, with super powers (amazing speed, iron-hard skin, the ability to walk on walls, etc.) and phenomenal fight scenes, and even a decent plot and some visual flair. One of the best. -zwolf

Flareup (C, 1969)
Luke Askew, who looks a little like Chuck Connors with an even more embarrassing haircut, kills his go-go dancing ex-wife because she wouldn't take him back. He also decides to gun down Raquel Welch, another go-go dancer whom he blames for "corrupting" his wife. He snuffs another dancer, so Raquel gets wise and changes locations, but an idiot from her old club (the "Pussycat A-Go-Go") tells the psycho where she is, and the chase is on again. Raquel gets a new boyfriend who helps her deal with the assassin. Good suspenser with Las Vegas and L.A. scenery, go-go dancing, a goofy music score that everybody seems to love for some reason, and, o' course, Raquel, Raquel, Raquel! Good pacing, total 1969 atmosphere. Don't miss if you're into that kind of thing. -zwolf

Friday the 13th (C, 1980)
Critics hated it and would later call it a harbinger of all-things-bad since it helped start the slasher movie craze, but nobody can say it wasn't influential. Plus its gore effects are still a hell of a lot better than you get nowadays, because Tom Savini studied medical texts while FX artists nowadays just seem to study other slasher films. An infamous camping ground, Camp Crystal Lake, a.k.a. "Camp Blood," is re-opening years after it was closed down because a couple of counselors were murdered. Soon after it opens, the murders start again, lots of 'em, via great gore effects - slashed throat, arrow emerging from throat, axe in the face, a beheading, etc. - and that's basically all the plot you need. Which is good, 'cuz it's all the plot you have. Led to sequels with no end in sight, but the best are Part 2 and Final Chapter. -zwolf

Friday The 13th, Part 2 (C, 1981)
A lot of people in short pants getting killed. It's very difficult to elicit sympathy for people in short pants. Anyway, the first sequel was also the first "Jason" film, and he's scarier here than in the others - he wears an Elephant Man-style pillowcase mask and has long hair and beard stubble and wears overalls so he seems more like a crazy mountain man instead of a crazy... electrician, or whatever the bald coveralled hockey-masked version resembled. The camp counselors are an especially unappealling, not-very-characterized lot, such at the guy with the hat, the girl with the farty Volkswagen, the girl whose only redeeming feature is a nice butt and that's not nearly enough, the guy in the wheelchair, obnoxious nerd "Ted," etc. - absolutely nobody you won't be happy to see impaled, slashed, or bludgeoned. And thusly do they go, via ice pick, garrote, machete, the infamous spear-through-two-bodies-at-once, a hammer, a pitchfork... damn near everything done in Mario Bava's Bay of Blood. Jason's creepier and not as cartoonish here, and the gore effects aren't quite as flashy as those Savini did for the first one, but Carl Fullerton's work is quite serviceable. One of the better entries in the series, although time - and a thousand imitations that have since made cliches out of any innovations - haven't been particularly kind to it. -zwolf

Frogs (C, 1972)
"Today the pond... tomorrow the world!" Before this film was released, frogs were nowhere near the top of the "most frightening animal" list... and the release of this American International Pictures masterpiece did absolutely nothing to change that. But it's still a damn cool eco-horror flick, despite the low-fear-factor of its title heavies. A freelance photographer (Sam Elliott at his most clean-cut) is taking pictures of swamp pollution, and then falls in with a family of spoiled rich folk. The patriarch of the family, Ray Milland (none of whose movies ever air on television before midnight, I think) is especially abrasive and responds to an overabundance of frogs by trying to poison them. This just drives the swamp life to converge on his property, seeking revenge. Snakes, spiders, lizards, Spanish moss, leeches, alligators, quicksand, snapping turtles, and, yes, frogs, all bring their moist-and-slimy vengeance down upon the foolish humans. Unless you have some kind of phobia, this ain't all that scary, but it's not boring. Weird music score, lots of croaking (no pun intended), a funny little cartoon clip if you stick through the credits, and one of the classic movie posters of all time - a frog with a hand sticking out of its mouth. (Nothing like that is in the movie, but that's okay...) -zwolf

From Hell (C, 2001)
A Hughes Bros. film, you'll either love it or hate it... such is their polarizing power. Same goes for Johnny Depp, who's solid enough in his role as an opium-addicted police inspector who uses his psychic visions to solve crimes. Heather Graham is also good, though a beautiful hooker with perfect teeth in Victorian London is as tough to buy here as it is in My Fair Lady. Basically, this is a shallower retelling of the graphic novel of the same name by Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell, which may be the definitive graphic novel of the 20th century. I can only recommend the film to those of you who've already read the book, as it takes care to explain in detail much of what the film glosses over or cuts out all together. I enjoyed this film. -igor

Full Contact (C, 1992) AKA Xia dao Gao Fei
Crazy damn hard-ass Hong Kong action flick directed by the god of such things, Ringo Lam, and starring an at-his-most-badass Chow Yun Fat. When Chow's buddy ends up owing money to a gang of psychotic criminals - a prissy-but-deadly magician, a mohawked steroid case, and a laughing sadistic slut who's named "Virgin" for the same reason that huge guys are often called "Tiny" - Chow tries to help out, but even though he's in full-on one-man-army mode he gets betrayed and messed up pretty bad. Some monks take a few bullets out of him, replace some missing fingers with prosthetics, and as soon as he's healed - sooner, even! - he starts gearing up for some cold-blooded, single-minded revenge. Meanwhile his betraying "friend" has been rising in the criminal ranks, and has regrets for betraying him. Chow may give the guy a chance to make it up... at a price. Things slow down a little in the middle (or, more likely, anything's going to seem slow after the slam-bang opening) and the plot gets a little complicated (clumsy subtitles don't help much) but overall this is one of the most badass strings of celluloid that John Woo didn't have anything to do with. Memorable dialogue: "Masturbate in Hell!" -zwolf

Funny Games (C, 1998)
Bizarre German art-horror in which a well-to-do family on vacation are terrorized by a couple of clean-cut, well-mannered young men in tennis outfits. They come over to borrow some eggs and start playing homicidal games with the family, humiliating, torturing, and terrifying the crap out of them. Things don't go the way you expect, and a few really odd things happen that turn the viewer into a conspirator, testing reality and playing on your sense of guilt, so while the smirking little psychos are playing games with the family, the director is playing games with the viewer... even sometimes intentionally letting you get bored with the violence by having people sit unmoving and silent for minutes at a stretch (negating the "movie" part of the movie), and referring to the viewer directly and re-winding footage when things don't go the psycho's way. This could have been brilliant, but it's a little too smug and smart for its own good and so the black humor isn't quite as disturbing as it should have been. Still, it's intense, out of the ordinary, and worth checking out. -zwolf

The Furious (C, 1981?)
If you're a Bruce Le fan (yep, that's Le, not Lee - I actually like some of Bruce Lee's imitators... sue me!), you'll be the one who's furious, because the video box makes outrageous lies claiming Bruce is in this, and he's not. A vicious drug dealer called The Rattlesnake beats up his rivals and even burns some of them alive. The police do everything they can to stop him, but since the back of the box says, "Only Bruce Le can put an end to 'The Rattlesnake'," I guess the sumbitch is gonna escape after all. Better script than usual, but a little less action (there's still plenty, though). The movie's not bad, but Best Film & Video, who put it out on tape, are some lyin' bastards. Stars Lo Lieh and Ku Fung (?!?). Has a little nudity. -zwolf

Fury in Shaolin Temple
(C, 1979)
Gordon Liu kung fu! Two fathers exchange infant sons to raise them in alternate kung fu styles in order to defeat some bad guys plaguing the land, who want to invade China but have the Shaolin Temple in their way. To learn their secrets, the bad guys steal Shaolin's secret techniques manual. Gordon (one of the sons) is introduced by footage of him working in the kitchen that I swear I've seen in another movie. Then there's waterfall footage (maybe from Shaolin Drunken Monk). Anyway, his kitchen duties have trained him in Shaolin Kung Fu, and given him background for his mission, learning Ghost Fist so he can combine it with the other son's Dragon Fist and vanquish the bad guys. It's not bad but it's kind of disjointed and looks like a patchwork of several films. Things unrelated to the plot happen and kind of get in the way of coherency, so it seems padded. But it's not boring... -zwolf

Futureworld (C, 1976)
Sequel to Westworld in which Peter Fonda and Blythe Danner visit Delos, the ultimate resort, where people can visit a medieval city, ski on Mars, and play around with all kinds of robots. Fonda gets to watch one of Blythe's dreams where she makes out with Yul Brynner, and he also fights samurai robots, faces a robot double of himself, and discovers an evil plan to replace world leaders with robot duplicates. Sort of like "Stepford World." A robot with no face made the cover of Famous Monsters Of Filmland. -zwolf

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