Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Rosalba Neri News # 24 - 2 MALES FOR ALEXA Coming On Blu-Ray


    X-Rated has announced the forthcoming Blu-Ray/DVD release of Juan Logar's 1971 giallo FIERAS SIN JAULA (WILD ANIMALS WITH CAGES aka 2 MALES FOR ALEXA). Starring Curt Jurgens (THE SPY WHO LOVED ME and THE VAULT OF HORROR) as a wealthy industrialist who marries one of his daughters friends (Rosalba) and later discovering her stepping out with Juan Luis Galiardo (ANTHONY AND CLEOPATRA) devises a nasty revenge. 
    A Spanish/Italian co-production (filmed in Paris) its an excellent genre example and is one of Rosalba's best giallos. I've lost count of how many crappy transfers of this I've collected on DVD and VHS through the years so speaking for myself this will be a very cool release. Containing both the harder Italian cut and along with the Spanish version and a bunch of extras, its all detailed over on their Facebook page.
    X-Rated initially releases these in insanely low numbered collectors edition hardboxes that sell out almost immediately, with (luckily) a later release in media book form. Here is the Amazon Germany page for the pre-order of the media book edition which comes out Feb. 10 and Diabolik DVD also carries these releases on occasion (and are great folks to deal with) so it might be worth to check them out too. The media books are also limited, so its best to jump on these right away.
   Here's a post I did earlier on this great slice of 70's Euro-cult and it's a happy feeling to check another one off the wishlist in whats turning out to be a banner year for Rosalba in HD.




Monday, January 30, 2017

DEATH GAME 1977

aka THE SEDUCERS and MR. MANNING'S WEEKEND

"The Object is to Stay Alive"


"Donna and Jackie. Every Man's Fantasy. One Man's Nightmare"



     Opening with a bit of grim bit of hyperbole as a screen crawl reads "This motion picture is based on a true story. It should serve to remind us that fate allows no man to insulate himself against the evil which pervades our society" , this bizarre and unsettling slice of 70's psycho-sexual exploitation got a bit of press awhile back when in 2015 Eli Roth wrote and directed a remake titled KNOCK KNOCK starring Keanu Reeves. 
     Directed by Peter S. Traynor, DEATH GAME was released in 1977 and stars Sandra Locke (who was in the midst of her professional and personal relationship with Clint Eastwood at the time) and a no holds barred performance by the wonderful Colleen Camp (THE SWINGING CHEERLEADERS and VALLEY GIRL) along with the still busy character actor Seymour Cassel (CONVOY) - and who sports a pretty impressive porn-stash here. 
     Floating around initially as a project in Eastwood's Malpaso production company (which probably explains the presence of Locke) it was picked up independent producer Larry Spiegel who along with director Traynor was also responsible for the mishmash train wreck that is 1977's EVIL TOWN. Written by one and done screenwriters Anthony Overman & Michael Ronald Ross (which might well be pseudonyms for Spiegel & Traynor), playing out like a plot straight out of a Penthouse letter gone horribly wrong its an intriguing piece of low budget film making that combines some unnerving sequences and an improvisational theatre performance. 
     Opening with a bizarre upbeat song called "Dear Old Dad", the ditty plays out over the main credits which are composed of a child's crayon drawings of home and family life, were introduced to George Manning (Cassel) who with his wife and child away from home is spending a quiet weekend alone immersed in his upper middle class San Francisco abode in all its dark paneling and shag carpeting 70's grooviness.




     Locke and Camp playing respectively Agatha (although referred to as Jackie in the print ads and called by her last name Jackson frequently in the movie) and Donna are two rain soaked young hippie girls who in the pretext of getting lost on the way to a party show up at the doorstep of George. Initially letting the pair in to use his phone the two girls put forth an air of innocence at first, but there is something underlying creepy about the pair as Agatha forcefully barges into the house while the child-like & wide-eyed Donna follows in her wake. Sitting by the fire they begin messing with his tricked out hi-fi system and humongous aquarium and later retire upstairs to dry and wait "until their ride shows up".
     After a bit George goes upstairs and finds them engaged in flagrante delicto in his hot tub.  Hesitant at first he succumbs to the ol' male urging and jumps in to join them and by engaging in this ultimate male fantasy he sets himself up literately for a trip through hell in his own house. Thinking they've left during the night, the next morning  he finds the two girls in the kitchen messily making breakfast while throwing food about, smearing syrup throughout the house and greedily wolfing their food down (sans utensils) like animals. 
     Becoming increasingly irritated at the pair, George sees his control of the situation rapidly eroding as he witnesses his middle class lifestyle being dragged down into madness when  Agatha informs George of their underage status (17 & 15 !) and demand money in lieu of going to the police and Donna prances about  claiming shes in love and wants to be with him forever.  Finally getting them to the bus station, George arrives home and finds the pair encamped back at his home whereupon things get really bizarre as the tie him to his bed and torture him for the remainder of the weekend as they plaster the poor sap with food and various household products. Locke paints her face and prances about in his wife's clothes while Camp screams continuously "daddy" to him (which brings to mind all sorts of creepy things).  




    Through its 91 minute running time the film slowly descends more and more into chaos and nightmare with the climax going totally unhinged with a fractured disjointed sound scape and claustrophobic closeups as George is put on trial by the girls for his "sins". The plot while simple in its basic execution is fascinating as its told entirely through the lone males eyes. We get no back story on the the two women and they're only seen by George (and us) first as an object of his male fantasy and later as its ultimate nightmare when his middle class lifestyle & family life are destroyed by members of a rebellious younger generation (i.e. hippies) of which even the young and appearing innocent ones are to be feared.
    Although letting his carnal instincts take over (however it can be believed that he was a dead duck as soon as he opened the front door), George is shown to be a caring loving family man as a brief montage in the beginning shows him clearly in love with his wife and later he has a tender conversation on the phone with his son. 




    Locke was 29 at the time and Camp 22 (playing 17 & 15 ) and in all her roles Locke brought a certain other worldly weirdness to her characters that could be alternately fascinating or sometimes irritating (or even downright unintentionally hilarious) and she uses all these attributes to her advantage here and I think this can easily be seen to be her finest role. With her spacey wide-eyed gaze she brings a real creepiness to her character (especially in the films climax when she paints her face), but its Camp who steals the show here.
    A very natural actress who always brought a real earthiness to her roles, Camp (who happily is still very much active to this day both as an actress and producer) is truly frightening here going from innocence to full bore psychotic (much of her screaming duologue in the climax seems to be ad-libbed) and in spite of Locke coming across as the main protagonist, its Camp's Donna whose the most unnerving. 
   She was a favorite print ad model in the 70's (always seeming to wear a red bikini) and was one of the three playmates (Camp is "Mrs. May") in APOCALYPSE NOW. Colleen has a pretty amazing list of screen credits including (in addition to those listed above) THE GUMBALL RALLY,  Bruce Lee's GAME OF DEATH and and a wonderfully touching performance paired with Frederic Forrest as Deborah Foreman's hippie parents in VALLEY GIRL. 











Colleen Camp showing us why Doug Throley Headers are the best !

Friday, January 27, 2017

Rosalba Neri News # 23 - 88 Films AMUCK ! Blu-Ray

   

    Some good news from 88 Films as they've posted some news concerning the Blu-ray release of Silvio Amadio's trippy and perverse 1972 gaillo AMUCK ! (aka ALLA RICERCA DEL PIACERE). Starring this blogs favorite actress along with Barbara Bouchet and Farley Granger, it's one of the best Italian giallos of the 70's and is my personal favorite Rosalba role. According to 88 Films over on their Facebook page, the film passed the BBFC uncut with "strong sex, nudity and sexual violence" (how 'bout that !).
   Amazon UK has the pre-order up with a Feb. 27th release date and a Camera Obscura release will follow up in March. Both will feature new HD transfers from the original camera negative along with both the uncompressed Italian and English mono soundtracks and newly created English subs -which means you can toss those old bootlegs in the trash. The 88 Films release will feature an interview with Barbara while the Camera Obscura release will have the participation of Rosalba (with presumably more extra features to follow).
     With a release later this year of LADY FRANKENSTEIN from Nucleus Films and the recent release of Blue Underground's 99 WOMEN these are truly wonderful times we live if your a Euro-cult (and Rosalba !) fan.
     Awhile back I did a post on AMUCK ! based upon the old grungy Eurovista quasi-bootleg DVD that features a dead center cropped transfer and that sickly green/yellow tint to everything. Below are some screen caps from 88's new transfer that were posted on their Facebook page. I'm tingling with anticipation for this release.