Robert De Niro trying to pick up girls at a VJ Day party runs up on Liza Minnelli, whose first 20 lines in the movie are “no.” De Niro plays a guy with social problems, if you can believe that. It’s a talky hangout drama with some good character moments, gradually accumulating plot as their music careers develop.
Then after an entire two-hour not-great movie, Liza’s husband is having a crisis because she’s more famous than him, and she stars in a play where her man runs off because he can’t bear being with a woman more famous than him… the movie finally, gloriously becoming the full-blown musical it had been hinting at, Liza’s glamour more interesting than De Niro’s aimless dissatisfaction. According to the wikis, the movie-within-the-movie was cut from the theatrical release version – no wonder it wasn’t commercially successful. And here I was stupidly wondering if it’s based on the real couple who wrote the titular classic song in the 1940’s/50’s, but the song was written for this movie.
Dick Miller, being the man:
Movie about a poor hotelier who’s being distracted from his job by flashbacks and allegations from when he was a mass murderer. Max (Losey regular Dirk Bogarde, a couple years before Providence) had passed himself off as a doctor during the war, “none of his patients survived.” Max has a cabal of nazis working on his legal case… including Greyburns (Gabriele Ferzetti, interrogator of The Confession, also of Fulci’s The Psychic) and Monocle Guy (Philippe Leroy of Le Trou). But the appearance of his surviving victim Charlotte Rampling (never seen her so young, she costarred with Connery in Zardoz the same year) throws everything off. Dirk and Charlotte have some kinda forbidden love thing going on, get gunned down at the end. The dubbing is slightly off, as are the characters… everyone here is psychotic, with no normal people to bounce off. Mike D’Angelo on letterboxd: “Mostly it’s tastefully dull.”
Nazi baroness dies giving birth in bombarded Berlin, the movie unconvincingly marrying perfect interiors with very rough stock footage. The baby is murdered, then in color the present-day baron speaks of a family curse, and a dirt-digging reporter gets her car pitchforked and runs headlong into the woods.
From here out, it’s your traditional story of a busload of people arriving at a haunted castle then getting killed one-by-one by a hot succubus in a revealing black dress, while the alchemist baron and his butler gradually parse out secrets. Not a generically bad horror movie though – it’s pretty much excellent from start to finish, including the ending where the devil deals with a priest to trade his soul for the bus people, then they all awaken and immediately die in a fiery bus crash.
Mouseover to manifest a succubus:
Brismée’s only feature, unfortunately! The writers made some 70’s porn, and this script was remade in 2012 by some low-budge Massachusetts residents. Rififi star Jean Servais plays the baron, Erika Blanc (The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave) the succubus, and Daniel Emilfork (OMG, Krank from City of Lost Children) the devil.
Between Demon Brother and Scorpio Rising, I got my titles mixed up and assumed I’d already seen this, either on the DVD or at an Eyedrum screening – but nope, and it’s so good, possibly the culmination of all Anger’s 50’s experiments into his 60’s rock & roll culty stuff and beyond.
Volcano eruption… fiery title rising from the ocean with nice reflection (how’d they do that)… baby alligator… bare-breasted woman in Egypt cut against colorfully-robed wolfy cult guy. I can’t accurately narrate what happens next, but I watched it a couple times.
I think that is an unknown dude named Haydn with the staff of light, and Metallica vocalist Marianne Faithfull beneath the sphinx.
Also rewatched Bobby Yeah, confirming that it is one of the greatest things that has ever happened.
Great doom-groove music on the opening credits by Wil Malone, who’s worked with Black Sabbath, Massive Attack and Opeth. Sadly, it was all downhill from here, since the English don’t know what’s scary, and there’s as much pointless ritual and habit here as in a samurai movie.
Couple of hippies discover a man passed-out in the subway. Male Hippy doesn’t want to tell the cops but his girl talks him into it – he was right, since the cops (led by Donald Pleasance) are pricks. But the passed-out man disappears, because he was kidnapped by the last of a tribe of nonverbal subterranean cannibals. And obviously they’ve been feeding on subway riders for decades, but this time they got a minor government official, so the police take interest – I can’t tell if this was intentional social commentary or if I’m being generous. Why was Christopher Lee in one scene?
Cannibal vs. government man:
Christopher Lee vs. giant mustache:
A very honestly eccentric movie. It’s not a horror comedy, but with that title and concept it can’t be intended seriously either. Or maybe it was meant to be a horror comedy (early on, after dissolving a traveler inside its yellow-acid body, the bed eats a bottle of pepto) but forgot to write any jokes. Everyone acts stoned in this, so maybe that’s a clue.
The narrator is a guy who’s been dead for sixty years whose soul is trapped in a painting overlooking a bed, created by a demon to seduce a mortal girl, whom he accidentally fucked to death, and now the lonely bed feeds on hippies who wander in and sit on it, getting dissolved to bones. After a long period of hunger, it eats a bunch of hippies at once and finally falls asleep, which allows the guy in the painting to speak.
I guess the final girl who completes the ritual that banishes the bed is Susan, but there’s also a Sharon and a Diane, and I got them confused. Susan’s brother who gets his hands dissolved to bones was later in some proper movies, and the boy in the painting was apparently a famous rock critic, but otherwise everyone here including the movie itself vanished until the cult kids rediscovered it in the 2000’s.
Albert Finney is a would-be comedian and general smartass, places an ad in the paper announcing himself as a private eye and immediately gets in over his head. It’s a good premise, because at no point is Finney an actual detective – when he finds a gun at a crime scene, he keeps playing with it and shows it off to everyone he sees.
Finney’s brother William (Frank Finlay, one of Lester’s Musketeers) is the type of serious businessman who also knows how to dispose of a dead body, and the brother’s girl who used to be Finney’s girl is his Charlie Bubbles costar Billie Whitelaw. Clues lead to an occult bookstore lead to a heroin trade. There’s a hot library girl, some racism, and some unusually good dialogue.
Oops, we discussed this one but I never wrote anything down about it. Australian period lit adaptation with some lively bits. I completely cannot recognize the Judy Davis of Barton Fink and Naked Lunch (which I just rewatched) in this Judy Davis… both Judys are very good, they just might as well be different people. We very much recognized Sam Neill as her suitor in the latter half, but it’s the odd movie about a woman who chooses to stay unmarried so she can have a career. Along the way we get one of the most well-staged pillow fights since Zero for Conduct.
After a tinted windowboxed flashback over classic pop music, Alice is grown up and is Ellen Burstyn, has son Tommy and real asshole husband (Billy Green Bush of Critters), who dies in a car crash in under 15 minutes. Alice wants to be a decent mom but her only skill is bar singer, and she tends to attract abusive dudes like young cowboy Harvey Keitel, so they ditch another town and she’s a waitress in Tucson when lovely Kris Kristofferson shows up – it’s a coincidence that I watched both of his 1974 movies the same month. Tommy hangs out with bad influence Jodie Foster, his mom has to deal with sardonic coworker Diane Ladd, and they both have to decide whether Kris can be trusted.
Ellen and Diane:
Harvey and his scorpion:
Not as revelatory as After Hours, but pretty great. A TV series based on this movie ran for nine seasons, I had no idea! Burstyn won the oscar, Ladd lost to Ingrid Bergman’s worst performance, and Chronicle of the Years of Fire beat it at Cannes.