Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Bang Bang Kid

Bang Bang Kid (1967)



The sexy picture on Amazon is a titch misleading, which placed this movie in the also-boughts of a bunch of sex comedies.  This isn't a sex comedy or a comedy at all.  It's an Italian comedy.

I thought it was going to be one of those insufferable silent movie homages, but they just didn't bother with much dialogue for long stretches.  No jokes, no sight gags, just people mugging for the camera for the first twenty minutes.

Then we finally get what we came to see - Happy Days' Tom Bosley and a robot gunslinger in a Spaghetti western.  While I'm glad they didn't completely cop out and have an actor just perform stiffly, I was disappointed the robot was just a guy in a Tom Bosley fright mask instead of a stack of cardboard boxes painted silver.  Mostly I'm disappointed in myself for thinking there was any reason this movie would be entertaining.

But when you find out that Tom Bosley was in a Spaghetti western with a robot gunslinger, you can't not watch it.

Here's the Amazon link, though it currently isn't available.  If you buy something else through the link, you can support our questionable business model of reviewing movies nobody should watch.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Dr. Morton's Sinister Experiment 1: Blue Blood

Dr. Morton's Sinister Experiment 1: Blue Blood
by John Ball
Erber Publishing 1974
DR. MORTON - Grusel Krimi Bestseller 1: Blaues Blut (German Edition) by [Ball, John]

Dr. Glenn Morton is a London doctor who treats the poor.  He is also a sadistic mad scientist, aided by his World War II buddy William Grimsby, who's a serial killer on the side.

In the first installment, Dr. Morton has captured an embezzler, Mr. Stone, and is performing experiments on his blood in a secret laboratory under the private clinic where Dr. Morton lives his double life.  The experiments turn the embezzler's skin blue, and he's seen by a patient while trying to escape.

Grimsby gets the urge and has to get himself under control so that Morton can rely on him again.  He hits on a hiker before throwing her off a cliff in a sexual frenzy.  They capture a patient who was a witness to the blue man, adding her as an experimental subject.  Grimsby goes to kill another patient who talked to the first, but is stopped when her boyfriend shows up, but returns to stab her and her visiting Aunt.

Dr. Morton is questioned by Chief Inspector Pratt of Scotland Yard.  The embezzler offers to turn over his fortune if he's released and gives Dr. Morton the combination to his safe.  He's injured in an escape attempt, and as his artificial blood has no coagulant, he bleeds out his blue blood as the doctor and Grimsby mock him with his stolen goods.

Dr. Morton has the reputation as the goriest and most violent of the Gruselromans, but it's still pretty tame stuff, even if the concept is pretty dark.  There have been several villain pulps before this, but those just gave the bad guy top billing, while the stories were focused on the heroes.  Dr. Morton is strictly from the side of the villain, with Scotland Yard barely making an appearance.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Carambola!

Carambola! 1974

Starting with 1967's God Forgives...I Don't, Bud Spencer and Terrence Hill formed a comedy team of a grumpy big guy and agile good looking guy, making mediocre Italian comedies into the 80s.

Starting with 1974's Caramblo!, there was an imitation duo of Paul L. Smith and Michael Coby.  Paul L. Smith is the big beardy guy who looks out of the corner of his eyes a lot in movies like Dune and Crimewave, and is perhaps best known as playing Bluto in the Popeye movie.

Couldn't ask for better casting, given that I thought Bud Spencer was Paul L. Smith before I paid it any attention.

Anyway, Carambola!.  Fake Terrence Hill is pool shark who is blackmailed into catching gun runners, so he tricks Bluto into helping him.  It's not very good or very funny.  The best part is a running gag of fake Bud Spencer being unable to drink milk because he keeps breaking the glass.  Hilarious.

There's also a rip-off of the slap/quick-draw/slap sequences from the Hill/Spencer Trinity movies, only it makes less sense.



Then there's the theme song, which plays about twenty times through the film.  This stupid thing's been running though my head for a month, made worse by my only being able to figure out half the lyrics.



This, along with a zillion other spaghetti westerns, are currently available on Amazon Prime.


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Rockabilly Hell by William W. Johnstone



Rockabilly Hell
by William W. Johnstone
1995 Zebra Books


Retired cop Cole Younger joins up with journalist Katti to investigate a series of haunted roadhouses that materialize off the freeways of Arkansas.  The clubs were host to the scum of the Earth for decades, and they now house their damned souls and are linked to the disappearance of hundreds over the years.

Add to that a material conspiracy - former club-goers turned pillars of society led by multi-millionaire Victoria Staples discovered they could lure their enemies to the haunted spots and the ghosts would kill them and dispose of the bodies, forming the basis of a criminal empire.

Said pillars hope to stop Cole and Katti's investigation, while the two join forces with private detectives, FBI agents, and a cussy priest.  Ghosts, in the form of sparkly dots, murder witnesses before they can talk.  Cole figures since ghosts are just made of electricity, he can kill them with a stun gun.  The stun gun zaps parts off the ghost until they comically run around and turn into rotting corpses.

Cole decides that ghosts are not allowed to kill anyone, despite them doing so throughout the novel.  Since the ghosts aren't killing people, they must be just distracting the victims until Victoria's gang can kill them in child snuff porn.  That's just deductive reasoning, but to prove it they order a copy of every snuff film and watch them for clues.

For a while, Johnstone doesn't want to do a ghost story anymore, so we have the FBI halfheartedly investigating Victoria's child snuff angle, which is detailed in some of the nastiest child sex scenes Johnstone has written to date, just to get in the sodomy quotient.  Out of sheer coincidence, two rapists dump two dead teenage girls on Victoria's property for a subplot that goes nowhere.

The investigation, such as it is, grinds to a halt, and the plot founders.  Time to bring in the true villains - the press!  They hear about the haunted roadhouse and hold a barbeque on the side of the road.  Cole and Katti team up with some trusted Republican reporters, presumably because Democrats don't believe in ghosts.

I was expecting the haunted roadhouse (you know, the one the book was supposed to be about) to make a big reappearance and be relevant again for the conclusion.  It doesn't.  What does happen is that it rains urine and hails poop over the reporters.

Meanwhile, back in town, folks are acting funny.  People are less friendly, etc.  We get a condensed version of the Devil books, with all the townspeople who aren't the right kind of Christian raping and slaughtering each other.

Five percent of the book left, just enough time to introduce a contagious zombie plague.  The FBI arrest everyone in the child snuff ring who wasn't killed by zombies, the end.

Far and away the most unfocused of the Johnstone horrors.  It was good to see him try a new premise, but it was clear he had no idea where to go with it.  Of course there's a sequel.

Available in Kindle from Amazon.

Click here to read a sample.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Shadow 320 - Reign of Terror

The Shadow 320
Reign of Terror by Maxwell Grant (Bruce Elliott)
July 1948


I've read a few Shadow, each of them a little different vibe.  This is the first I've read which felt like one of the radio shows.  An extortion racket, led by an overweight gourmet, threatens a variety of citizens.  The Shadow tracks them to an underground lair and ends up trapped in a lion cage.  He escapes, in what I'm sure would have been an exciting sequence if it were on-page, and then talks everyone into killing each other.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Wu Tang Collection on Amazon Prime

While Netflix lost interest in older movies in favor of original shows with serial harassers, Amazon Prime has more than picked up the slack in terms of exploitation movies.  I've gotten my money's worth in a single weekend checking out their massive collection of Spaghetti Westerns, Italian exploitation, and kung fu movies.

Most of them, almost 500 titles, are from the distributor Wu Tang Collection, and I suspect there are some questionable copyright issues, so watch them while you can.  And if you happen to be subscribing to Prime anyway, if you get it through this link Trash Menace will get a cut to support our questionable life choices.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Hellborn by Gary Brandner

Hellborn
by Gary Brandner
1981 Fawcett Gold Medal



A single mom with undefined powers attracts the attention of body-swapping demon Astragoth, who can switch bodies via sex.  Some demon buggery and light incest, otherwise pretty by-the-numbers.

Paperback from Amazon.