Movie of the Day : Blue Underground’s DELIRIUM

 

Rita Calderoni in Delirio caldo (1972)

1972’s Renato Polselli directed Italian Giallo/Thriller DELIRIO CALDO (loosely translated as ‘Hot Frenzy’, and in the US called… DELIRIUM), remains 48 years later jaw-droppingly ludicrous, ‘wtf’ inducing and bat-guano insane. One of the more luridly filmed of Italy’s spate of Giallo films, even for that genre this film was strange.

Strange in the performances, strange in the script, strange in the direction, the film lives somewhere beyond reason in more ways than one. Many times throughout the film, if you are anything like me, you will alternate between shaking your head at the ludicrousness of the movie, and ‘WTF?” exclamations at the audacity and luridness of the movie.

If you are familiar with films like PEEPING TOM and PSYCHO and the works of Dario Argento, you know the general ground this film covers, but this film seems to be as much about titillation as it is terror, covering that ground in very much a grind-house, soft core porn, exploitation way.

It is not a film made with any sense of humor (there is a slight comedy relief character, but as is typical in these films he is not remotely amusing), but there is a sense of ludicrousness in watching it, in just how extreme and over the top everything is, from the direction to the performances to the depravity to the fashion.

Delirio caldo (1972)

 

It is the odd period between the swinging sixties and free love seventies, Italian style, before it all went to hell; and even in a movie as debased as this one, that touchstone to the age of miniskirts and bell bottoms and psychedelic shirts (even for police officers 🙂 ) is strangely fun to see.

There are two distinct versions of this film, the Italian version and the US version, both pretty different, but both equally odd and equally worth seeing/comparing. Being a 70s Italian Giallo, these were typically recorded without sound, so both the Italian and English versions are ‘dubbed’ versions, the soundtrack put on afterwards. Both soundtracks are equally valid, you just have to determine which cut of the film you prefer.

The American version is a rather crudely cut, at times butchered and toothless version (at times not), tacking on a completely moronic vietnam war opening and flashbacks, and cutting the manic scenes that essentially make this movie, into pretty tepid, uninspired bits. Definitely see the Italian version if you can only see one. And if planning to see both see the Italian version 1st, and watch the American version more just to see the diferences.

Now one interesting plus to the American version is It does actually in parts make more sense than the Italian version, however it does this, again in parts, at the cost of the hyperbolic dream madness momentum that drives the Italian version.

It also loses and changes major subplots, by including scenes not in the Italian version, and the films divulge further the closer you get to the end. At first I see those changes as weaknesses, but as the film goes on, the American version, while not as fun, is bat crazy in its own way. The American version, particularly with its Vietnam wraparound, very much predates a similar far more popular 1991 horror-tinged American film.

It is a fascinating look at two very distinct cuts of a film. So yeah, this review is pointing you toward the Italian version, if you can only see one of them, but yeah comparing the two is very intriguing.

I have to tell you, re-watching this film, the Italian cut, after having not seen it in years, taken for what is is, a piece of 1970s era exploitation fluff, and with a caveat that violence against women is a bad thing of course, this film as a bit of not to be taken serious film-making, is absolutely mind-boggingly ludicrous and entertaining at the same time.

I would have to say if you are a fan of 1970s Italian Giallo’s and have not seen this one, you should rectify that. While not in the same cinematic league as the best of Argento ( DEEP RED, SUSPIRIA) or the best of Fulci (ONE ON TOP THE OTHER, SEVEN NOTES IN BLACK, DON’T TORTURE A DUCKLING, and LIZARD IN A WOMAN’S SKIN) this is definite compulsive watch in its own right.

 

Unsurprisingly this film is currently not available on streaming (for me, this emphasises the ‘here today – gone tomorrow’ unreliability of streaming, and why physical media will always be necessary and king, and the gold standard for viewing… your way. And this comes from a guy who also enjoys and pays for streaming). However BLUE UNDERGROUND put out a great DVD of it, with both cuts of the film. Use the link below:

 

DELIRIUM by Renato Polselli

“One of the more bizarre and extreme giallo. Exactly as described – this one has not been oversold; it’s charms are not exaggerated.Even the most jaded “seen it all’ viewer will get some kicks from this underrated gem.”

–Amazon.com Review

 

Thanks for looking and if you liked this post, give a like. Always appreciated! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Katia Cardinali and Mickey Hargitay in Delirio caldo (1972)

 

 

 

THE LAST WORD : SUPERMAN II Richard Lester Theatrical Version vs SUPERMAN II Richard Donner Cut!!

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Netflix is showing the theatrical cut of SUPERMAN II. Anyone who tries to tell you the Richard Donner cut of SUPERMAN II is better than the Richard Lester theatrical version is quite frankly deranged.

Okay maybe that’s a bit harsh (no it is not) but while there are pieces of the so-called Donner Cut that would be nice added into the theatrical cut, most notably the Marlon Brando scenes in the fortress of Solitude are essential, and the extended scenes with Luthor and Ms. Teschmacher are just a lot of fun (I strongly recommend getting the DVDs of both and cutting those scenes into the Theatrical cut to create something I call the improved cut. It will wow you).

as a whole the theatrical cut of SUPERMAN II is vastly superior and more satisfying then the Donner cut. Full stop.

The opening is vastly superior in the theatrical cut, as is the reason for Zod’s escape from the phantom zone. And the ending of the Donner cut, SUPERMAN turning back time again, is just lazy and stupid, from a creative level, and makes the memory wiping kiss in the theatrical version look like a stroke of genius.

And yes the theatrical version takes liberties with Superman’s powers, force beams, mirage powers, using the shield on his suit as a net, but I never had a problem with these scenes… because they were fun. And really, in for a penny… in for a pound, once you sign off on heat vision and cold breath, then mirage powers, and force blasts, and memory wiping… seems like just enjoying the ride.

Both versions skate over the final reckoning of the defeated villains, so neither version is perfect, but of the two the theatrical version is head and shoulders better. In my opinion Donner wanting to end the 2nd movie with the same unsatisfying gimmick he ended the first film with, like I said, is just lazy writing and unimaginative thinking. I could clearly see based on that, why the studios replaced him.

Final verdict?

The Richard Lester SUPERMAN II theatrical film, trounces the Richard Donner SUPERMAN II Cut by a mile.

Get your copy here:

 

Superman II (Two-Disc Special Edition)

Slim of the Day : THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN : FALL OF MAN

We have the technology.

We can rebuild him.

We can make the world’s first Bionic Man.

 

Four decades ago kids everywhere thrilled to that opening of one of their favorite TV shows, The Six Million Dollar Man starring Lee Majors as the titular hero… Steve Austin.

Well New jersey Publisher  Dynamite Entertainment since 2014 has been bringing us various slim revivals of everyone’s favorite slow motion super powered hero.

[Slim- A stapled publication, consisting of words and pictures telling a narrative in periodical format, typically monthly doses, told in scant pages in a highly portable format, with eye catching covers and interiors. Also known by the more widely used misnomer of comic books.]

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And 2016 mini-series THE FALL OF MAN written by Van Jensen with art by Ron Salas and Letters by Taylor Esposito and colors by Mike Atiyeh and Caitlin McCarthy, is the companies fourth time at bat with this property and is their most successful. As it takes place in the 80s, in a cold world, where the wall has not yet fallen. but the year is never implicitly stated; instead the time is set in inventive and satirical story beats and sight gags.

From 80s star references to a bit of lampooning of the high tech marvels of the day (Such as portable phones in the early 80s, truly monstrously sized things by today’s standards, but back then they were marvels. Same with the room sized computers that had less processing power than even your low-end laptop today); while all the while telling a crackerjack action story of betrayal, globe trotting espionage, and bionic feats of derring-do.

It’s just a fun series.

And while Ron Salas figure drawing at first strikes as merely serviceable, his use of layouts and panel composition and inventive storytelling is exceptional, as are his covers for this series. I’ve read all issues of the series to date, and they have all been exceptional and come highly recommended. 

If late to the party have no fear, as all issues are available at the link below.

Use the below link, get great books, and support this blog, as every purchase though the link, generates a couple pennies to keep this blog bringing you the best in Pop Culture finds!

Without further ado, get your issues of THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN : FALL OF MAN here:

 

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COVER GALLERY : Favorite Flash Comic book Covers! 1959-1970

COVER GALLERY : Favorite Flash Comic book Covers! 1959-1970

If you have watched television recently, you probably know the very popular FLASH TV series. After some misgivings regarding the show, I’ve grown quite fond of it.

What you might not know, is the comic book series.

The Flash is a comic book series that has had several incarnations; and without doubt, one of the most popular ones is the silver age series, that introduced the scarlet clad Flash, Barry Allen.

The silver age series ran from the late 1950s to about 1970. Here is a selection of my favorite FLASH comic book covers from that period. The covers (as were the interiors) overwhelmingly were the vision of one man, Carmine Infantino, who was the art director of all of DC’s comics, and (at the formative years of an oft maligned medium) defined the look of what an exciting comic book cover was.

His artwork, while perhaps crude and simplistic compared to the more refined and rendered artists of today, has a sense of design, the placement of text and graphics, and the art of getting you excited, that is still head and shoulders above most artists today.

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Carmine, at the end of 1967 with his workload as art director/executive editor increasing, after almost 8 consistent years as the sole artist of the Flash, passed on the reigns of cover and interior artist to talented newcomer Ross Andru.

Ross Andru after some initial growing pains proved himself a talented artist, growing into a strong cover artist in his own right. His issues get progressively better.

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But by far the best covers of this period are the haunting, almost baroque covers by the great Joe Kubert. Paired with stories by John Broome and the always great Robert Kanigher, these issues are a must own for any fan of great art and story. Some exemplary Neal Adams and Gil Kane covers round out the list of best covers as 1970 closes out the silver age of comics.

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Hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of the best of Silver Age FLASH Comic Book Covers! Drop us a line and let us know some of your favorites!

And to own these issues yourself? Well the bad news is most of these have not been collected yet. The good news is brand new collections are on the way. The first one, THE FLASH OMNIBUS was released last year, is hardcover, full color, and contains over 800 pages!! At $60 it is not cheap, but considering you get reprinted tens of thousands of dollars of comics, it’s a deal.

Get it The Flash Omnibus Vol. 1
here!

THE SHOUT (1978) – Expressionist 70s Horror at its Best!

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THE SHOUT (1978) – THE SHOUT is a type of horror film that the 70s managed to produce arguably better than any other decade (save perhaps our current streaming generation, the share bulk of content at our fingertips allows for a diverse range of content and experimentation). The eerie existential tale of foreboding; tales of protagonists beset from seemingly all sides by nameless and unnameable dreads that live disturbingly close to the fragile facade of our normal lives.

A culmination of sorts of the filmic movements before it (namely Expressionism, often called German Expressionism, and Film Noir) and the new dynamism of the conflicted post war, post age of Aquarius 70s; 70s Expressionist horror grafting the fatalism of Film Noir to Expressionism’s use of exaggeration and distortion to illicit an emotional response, to create a horror that was more about broader questions of what lives beyond the borders of the accepted, and the illusions… of control.

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Films like DON’T LOOK NOW, IMAGES, THE ABOMINABLE DOCTOR PHIBES, AND SOON THE DARKNESS, THE DUNWICH HORROR, LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE, LET’S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH, MAGIC, OBSESSION, PHANTASM, DEEP RED, THE SENTINEL, SUSPIRIA, ERASERHEAD, SHORT NIGHT OF GLASS DOLLS, GANJA & HESS, NEITHER THE SEA NOR THE SAND are marked by extreme directorial flourishes, bordering on surrealism, creating worlds of emotive rather than accepted reality.

THE SHOUT, features a stellar cast of burgeoning British Stars, among them Alan Bates, Susannah York, John Hurt and Tim Curry, all brilliantly directed by the legendary filmmaker Jerzy Skolimowski. His only film in the horror genre, THE SHOUT much like IMAGES (directed by another great, serious filmmaker Robert Altman), manages to be not just a great genre film, but one of the best films of Skolimowski’s lauded career.

Not the typical Horror movie, the best horror of the 70s resists and transcends easy classifications, and trite genre labels. Indeed THE SHOUT would be as justified in the drama or fantasy or art film designation as any other, but somehow horror seems to sum up best the creeping unease that these types of 70s films in general, and THE SHOUT in particular, provide.

This is horror not of the slasher or torture porn fodder that unfortunately passes too-often for horror in the 21st century, but something more… imaginative. While the 70s had its own knife wielding maniacs, that was often played as a facet of the horror, rather than the horror in total. The horror that the 70s dealt in was rather a call back to the existential roots of cinema, horror, and arguably humanity, the MR James and Wakefield definitions of horror… the horror, with questions that endure.

Jerzy Skolimowski’s THE SHOUT is a film that rewards repeat viewings. See it for yourself courtesy of Amazon Prime, or get the DVD here: The Shout [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.2 Import – United Kingdom ] or Blu-Ray here: The Shout (1978) [ NON-USA FORMAT, Blu-Ray, Reg.B Import – United Kingdom ]

Grade: B+.


Now Playing: Recommended NetFlix Streaming Movie of the Day… DIRTY MARY, CRAZY LARRY

Now Playing: Recommended NetFlix Streaming Movie of the Day… DIRTY MARY, CRAZY LARRY!!

Directed by John Hough this 70s road thriller and petrol fueled powerhouse is a sleek, adrenaline inducing, justifiably acclaimed masterpiece of the genre. It is to car and road movies, what JAWS is to shark movies; the standard by which all others will be judged.

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Wonderfully performed by Peter Fonda, Vic Morrow, Susan George, but particularly Adam Roarke as the taciturn mechanic, this film in a word is… Awesome! Great direction and editing, phenomenal stunts that even in the age of CGI or especially because of the age of CGI remain… jaw dropping; and a wonderful script that is an evocation of the times, and a loving homage to the road movies that came before.

Highly Recommended!!

You can currently watch it for free on streaming, but once seen you are going to want to own this movie. It is too good to leave it up to the vagaries of streaming licensing deals, your ability to see this baby whenever you want.

Get it on Blu-Ray here, while you can: Dirty Mary Crazy Larry / Race With The Devil (Double Feature) Blu-Ray

The Best James Bond Movie Posters of the 1970s!

The Best James Bond Movie Posters of the 1970s!

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Brought to you by MONARCHS OF MAYHEM Indiegogo campaign!
Go view it and back it here! Thanks!

http://igg.me/p/437605/x/2628928

Classic COMIC BOOK Comic & Cover of the Day: BATMAN and TEEN TITANS

Today’s classic comic cover (alliteration is your friend) is a Jim Aparo cover from writer Bob Haney’s crazy 1970s run on BRAVE AND THE BOLD. This is one of the best books DC was putting out back in the 70s, and even back then the stories were outrageous non sequiturs, diverging wildly from established DC tropes of storytelling and often character. I loved Bob Haney’s stories, and being even of their time the stories were out of their time, and therefore remain oddly timeless.

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This particular cover and comic of the day is BRAVE AND THE BOLD #149, from 1979, starring BATMAN in conflict with the TEEN TITANS, and titled ‘LOOK HOMEWARD, RUNAWAY’. Both the absurd and highly entertaining writing of Bob Haney and fluid and graceful art of Jim Aparo are at full gallop in this fun story.

If interested grab a copy here!

Enjoy till next time!

Best Bronze Age COMIC BOOK COVERS! Spider-Man! Morbius!

Best Bronze Age COMIC BOOK COVERS! Spider-Man! Morbius!

With the new Spider-Man movie on the horizon (which I have no interest in. The cast and the story-line looks uninteresting, no matter how many trailers they try, and yet another Imax 3D post conversion, that looks awful in the trailers) I thought it was a good time to examine one of the better Spider-Man spin-offs, the character known as Morbius, The Living Vampire!

The following are GREAT bronze age covers from the 1970s, with some nifty interiors as well.


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To purchase any of these books (which have not been collected in color, and they need to be) go to the following link:

Buy ADVENTURE INTO FEAR:THE LIVING VAMPIRE comic books here!