Somewhat up and at them after yesterday's packed exFest III from the fine folks at Exhumed Films. 8 movies, no trailers and nothing more than 5 minute breaks between flicks to gather your senses and maybe hit the potty before the next flick began. Here's the lineup...
SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY (1974)
Ernest Borgnine is a controlling grandpa who lives on a farm with his college age granddaughter. When some bank robbers (including a cackling Michael J Pollard) come a calling he decides to teach them some lessons. Not so much a revenge flick as it is a portrait of Borgnine -- who acts his ass off -- going off his rocker all the while thinking he's striking a blow for decent folks.
RADIOACTIVE DREAMS (1985)
Albert Pyun's offbeat post-apoc rock opera stars Michael Dudikoff and John Stockwell as refugees from a nuclear shelter who dress and act like they're from the 1940s as they try and keep various factions from getting the keys to the last remaining nuclear missiles on the planet. I remember feeling kinda "meh" about this when I saw it back in the 80s but it has held up way better than I ever imagined and comes off like a demented STREETS OF FIRE.
THE WITCH WHO CAME FROM THE SEA (1976)
Totally offbeat and surprising psycho thriller about a waitress who deals with her history of sexual abuse at the hands of her alcoholic father by gruesomely killing football players and actors she picks up. A disturbing portrait of a descent into madness complete with some of the best side characters in trash cinema history. Millie Perkins' performance in the lead role rivals Susan Tyrell's captivating turn in NIGHT WARNING.
William Lustig's gritty urban actioner starring Robert Forster as a blue collar worker whose happy family is shattered when a gang kills his son and mutilates his wife. Supportive pals like Fred Williamson help him deal with his grief and anger issues (not to mention a stint in the joint for contempt) by taking revenge on the gang members. Bloody good fun with Steve James, Joe Spinell and Carol Lynley in small roles.
LIGHTNING SWORDS OF DEATH (1972)
Talky, kinda draggy third flick in the Lone Wolf and Cub series with our disgraced shogun executioner and his son wandering the landscape encountering mercenaries and yakuza. The big battle against a massive army is sort of fun but the climactic swordfight is a total letdown. Martial arts in general isn't my cup of tea so this may have been the lowlight of the event for me – which ain't bad at all.
GET DOWN AND BOOGIE (aka DARKTOWN STRUTTERS, 1975)
A Colonel Sanders doppleganger has invented a cloning machine and is kidnapping members of the black community for his own political aspirations. Which is far too normal a description for this wildly un-PC blaxploitationer featuring Roger Mosley, Otis Day, Stan Shaw, Dick Miller and many other familiar faces.
PICK-UP SUMMER (aka PINBALL SUMMER, 1980)
Nearly plotless Canadian teen sex comedy with two pals getting into hijinks during their summer vacation. The "plot" ostensibly concerns a pinball competition at the local arcade but the running time is largely an excuse for D-grade gags, a lot of shots of topless babes, curvy butts in cut-offs and bikini bottoms, and a soundtrack (which I *must* own) filled with power-pop knockoffs. In other words, I loved it.
Limp porn parody of the blockbuster JAWS in which an orally-fixated mermaid blows her way through the dumpy schlubs of a resort town. Brother Theodore adds some madness to the proceedings in the Robert Shaw role as Carl Clitoris, a Nazi who pilots the SS Cunnilingus into the waters looking for the mermaid. Robert Kerman (EATEN ALIVE, CANNIBAL FEROX, CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST) co-stars in the Richard Dreyfuss role as Sy Smegma. I'm glad I shipped off the recent DVD release to somebody else for review... I think one was definitely enough!
Overall a pretty great lineup that harkened back to the first exFest's trash potpourri, though I still think that installment may win out over this one slightly thanks to REDNECK MILLER, NO WAY OUT and THE FACE WITH TWO LEFT FEET.