Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '75 - Sarah Jane ""

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Underrated '75 - Sarah Jane

Sarah Jane has seen over 4,400 films. She is partial to exploitation genre. She originally hails from Southern California but it currently stuck somewhere in the South West. She once studied to be a script supervisor. She generally uses a lot of curse words in her writing. Her ramblings can be found at


The Devil’s Rain (1975) Directed by Robert Fuest
On the wall in our kitchen hangs an Italian poster of this movie called “Il Maligno”. It shows a goat-headed Ernest Borgnine, hands outstretched, where in between is a semi-nude woman doing some weird back bending yoga move. Really something everyone wants to look at while eating a wholesome meal with your family. Our four year old sometimes tells us the “goat man is scary”.
Anyway, this film stars William Shatner and that is all you need to know. Well, okay, that would make for a short write-up so it also stars Eddie Albert, Keenan Wynn, Tom Skerritt, and Ida Lupino. A very young John Travolta makes an appearance as well as some cat named Anton LaVey.
In the film, Shatner plays a guy who has a book that Ernest Borgnine wants something fierce. Borgnine has been trying to get the book for ages. The book gives the Borg some weird satanic powers. Shat goes looking for Borgnine and finds him in some ratty little ghost town. After a while, Shat’s brother (Skerritt) and the gang come looking for him. At some point, there is a battle of faiths (cue Amok Time music) where a gun turns into a snake and Borg turns into a goat. If that doesn’t get you to want to see this movie, I don’t know what will. Corbis, God Damn you!

Switchblade Sisters (1975) Directed by Jack Hill
Oh, Jack Hill, how I adore you. You’ve made so many films that my husband and I have enjoyed over the years; Spider-Baby, Coffy, the two Birdcage movies, Foxy Brown, and, of course, Switchblade Sisters. With lines like “Everybody knows your crank can hook a tuna”, how can you not like it. Basically, a girl transfers to a new high school and becomes involved with the Dagger Debs. They are a group of not-so-nice girls who are into very extra extracurricular activities. The film includes girl gangs, boy gangs, juvie hall, love notes, eye patches (“Hey, I lost my eye for this gang”), sex, drugs, someone named Muff, knife fights, and just about everything else a good exploitation film contains. If you aren’t in a hurry to see this, you should be.

Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) Directed by Peter Weir
I first caught this movie on IFC years ago. Back when IFC actually showed films and was watchable. This is such a beautiful yet unsettling film. On Valentine’s Day in 1900, a teacher at an Australian girl’s school takes some of her students out for a field trip to Hanging Rock. Hanging Rock is a geological formation and the girls are there to explore and, afterwards, have a picnic. Weird things start to happen and,eventually, the group returns to the school in a panic and without some of its party. The film is very quiet, atmospheric, and well, eerie. We never really find out what exactly happened and why and that is the most unsettling thing of all.

Deep Red (Profondo Rosso) (1975) Directed by Dario Argento
This is a film that is near and dear to my heart. Some of you might think the film isn’t underrated and you might be right, but it is in my top 3 films of all time so I have to take the opportunity to write about it here. Maybe there is someone in this wonderful audience who hasn’t seen the film so if this make just one person watch it, my job here is done.
Dario Argento has made some amazing films (and, let’s face it, some amazingly horrible films as of late) but Deep Red is my favorite over Tenebrae and Suspiria. This was another movie I first caught on IFC many years ago. I had never seen an Argentof ilm so I had no idea what to expect. When it was over I was actually giddy with excitement about what I had seen. The colors, the blood, the killings, the music, that fucking mannequin, those damn black gloves (we all know it’s you, Dario <wink>)David Hemmings is a musician of the jazz persuasion who witnesses a murder. He hooks up with Daria Nicolodi to try and solve the murder. That is all you need to know. Well, that and it is all kinds of awesome. Please seek this out immediately; if you have seen it, you should revisit it, if you haven’t seen it, you are in for a treat, my friend.

Almost Human (1975 US release) Directed by Umberto Lenzi
Tomas Milian AND Henry Silva? In the same film? Together again for the first time? Nice.
Actually, this is the first thing I saw Tomas Milian in. He is absolutely insane in this movie. I remember turning to my husband and said “Who is this fucking guy? We need to see more of him.” Henry Silva is, well, Henry Silva. He is what he is and that is fantastic in every wayMilian plays a crazy as a loon criminal who gets tired of pulling off crimes with little to no reward (including killing just about everyone who gets in his way) so he decides the smart thing to do is kidnap some rich guy’s daughter and hold her for ransom. You can image the hi-larity that ensues. Silva is on his trail the whole time because it isn’t like Milian gives a shit about leaving a trail of clues (and bodies) along the way. This movie is a bravura performance from Milian; he is just so insane and over the top. If you like yourself some Italian crime films (and really, who doesn’t?) and you like good and sleazy, then you should check this out.

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