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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Killer Nun

Suor Omicidi
The Killer Nun
D: Giulio Berruti
P: Enzo Gallo for Cinesud Produzioni//St & Sc: Giulio Berruti & Alberto Tarallo//DP: Tonino Maccoppi//E: Mario Giacco//M: Alessandro Alessandroni//Art D: Franco Vanorio//Makeup: Mauro Gavazzi.
Cast: Anita Ekberg, Alidi Valli, Massimo Serato, Daniele Dublino, Laura Nucci, Alice Gherardi, Aeede Barriault, Antonietta Patriarca, Sofia Lusy, Nerini Montagnani, Franco Caracciolo, Lou Castel & Joe Dallasandro.

A nun confesses to a priest that, because she was raped as a child, she wants revenge on all men. Meanwhile, Sister Gertrude works at the hospital where she cares for the elderly and sick. She thinks she has cancer and has already survived a brain tumor. She becomes more and more violent as she crushes a patient's dentures and slaps others around. When some of her charges begin turning up dead, she's afraid she may have killed them during one of her blackouts. The film builds to a depressing conclusion where the guilty are punished and the innocent set free.

This may be a bad film, but it's bad in a very entertaining way. Anita Ekberg was far too overweight and old to play Sister Gertrude, yet director Giulio Berruti (KILLER NUN was his second and last film) allows her to dress like a hooker and try and seduce a man in a bar. Didn't he realize what a hideous mistake he was making? No doubt such judgement led him to miscast Ex-Warhol protege Joe Dallasandro as a concerned doctor who works at the hospital. Then there's poor Lou Castel, who is so contemptful of his part he appears to be drunk (watch him trip over objects such as his crutches and tables for no apparent reason).Paola Morra, who plays Sister Matill is a real looker and her nude scenes certainly help a woefully inept production such as this. The murders are quite nasty which helps contribute to the overall trashy mood. A movie for when you want to wash away that "arthouse" experience from your pallette.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Exciting new Eurocrime film book by Matt Blake!

To quote the talented Mr Blake:

"It’s been a while, but I’m finally ready to announce that a new WildEye publication is on the way! In the Name of the Law – Italian Crime Films from 1945 to 1969 is the third WildEye book, followingGiorgio Ardisson: The Italian Jame Bond and the now out-of-print Fantastikal Diabolikal Supermen. Here’s the blurb…
During the 1970s Italian cinema discovered crime. Inspired by the likes of Dirty Harry and The French Connection, numerous producers and directors rushed rushed their own cop and gangster movies (or poliziotteschi, as they became known) into production. But it wasn’t a phenomena that emerged out of nowhere and it wasn’t entirely due to trans-Atlantic influence. Indeed, crime (or criminality) had already been an important feature of hundreds of Italian films, from the neo-realist classics of the 1940s to neo-noirs made two decades later.
This book is an exploration of this murky area; a look at films either respected or forgotten which can authentically claim to be antecedents of the poliziotteschi. In doing so it charts the progress of the genre while it was still in the process of discovering its ideal form. So buckle up your seat-belts and get ready to meet the assorted delinquents, bandits and mafiosi who were to be found in Italian films between 1945 and 1969.
A bit of context: I started working on this book about four years ago, when it was initially intended to be the first in a three part examination of the poliziotteschi genre. At around the time I finished this first section, Roberto Curti released his Italian Crime Filmography, 1968-1980. Damn you Roberto! No, seriously, Roberto’s book is really excellent, and it made doing the second and third part of the trilogy rather redundant, at least for the moment. However, I think this part, which largely covers the period before Roberto’s book, is still very worthwhile in it’s own right: you can think of it as a prequel, but by a different director. In fact, I find a lot of the films covered here just as – if not more – interesting as the more familiar seventies crime films; and where else would you find essays on the likes of Passport For A CorpseBarriers of the Law and Gente d’onore (as well as more acclaimed but sadly oft-forgotten gems such as Bandits of Orgosolo and Bitter Rice).
Anyway, I’m hoping to have it available early in the New Year (i.e. late January). It’s 224 pages long, Royal size (234mm x 156mm), with a nice glossy cover and 8 pages in colour. As usual, it’s packed with rare artworks, trivia about the films and…. well, all the usual. More news as it comes… "

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Mad Butcher

The Mad Butcher
D: John (Guido) Zurli
P: Robert H. Oliver & Dag Molin//St & Sc: Robert H. Oliver & Karl Ross//DP:?//E: Graham Lee Mahin//M: Alex Alexander (Alessandro Alessandroni)//Art D: Frank Di Stefano//Costumes: Gloria Cardi//Makeup: Diana Green Rose.
Cast: Victor Buono, Brad Harris, Franca Polcelli, Karin Field, Carl Stearns, Sybil Martin, Michael Turner, Arthur Mann.

Otto, the local butcher, is being released from the insane asylum for good behavior. His wife had him committed after he hit a customer on the head with two pounds of liver. He separates from his spouse and spends all of his time trying to restore his business' good name. His wife continues to nag him endlessly to the point where Otto kills her and grinds the body up into hamburger. Mike, a Chicago newspaper man on overseas assignment, becomes suspicious of Otto and begins to spy on him. He ends up falling in love with one Otto's neighbors, Hansel. More people disappear while Otto's meat prices continue to drop from a surplus of supply. When Hansel disappears, but her ring turns up in a customer's sausage meal, Mike goes looking for the mad butcher.

You know from the first minute that this film's tongue-in-cheek approach will be a painful viewing experience. Black comedies only work when the participants take them seriously, an impossibility when your lead character is played by Victor Buono. His broad portrayal of Otto sinks the film early and it never recovers.  Comedies involving cannibalism rarely succeed. Director Zurli never made a good film and even went to Turkey (the last bastion for crappy filmmakers) when he couldn't get work at home. Brad Harris is his usual wooden self. He doesn't appear to understand that he's in a comedy. He overdoes it so much he appears to think he's making a silent movie. There's nudity from the female cast but even that fails to raise the film to the level of even passable sleaze. A failure that should be avoided at all cost.