Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '87 - Samuel B. Prime ""

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Underrated '87 - Samuel B. Prime

Samuel B. Prime is a moving image advocate, curator, and archivist based in Los Angeles. He is a recent contributor to LAist and The Village Voice. In 2015, he served as a producer for Etiquette Pictures' Blu-Ray release of CATCH MY SOUL (1974) and also worked on the special features. Otherwise, he deeply admires Dick Cavett's savoir faire and his favorite Sonny Chiba film is Kazuhiko Yamaguchi's soon to be available WOLFGUY: ENRAGED LYCANTHROPE (1975). Find him online at for essays, film reviews, and free streaming movies.

GHOST'S LOVER (Yang Chuan, 1987)
One of my favorite discoveries of 2015, this spectral soap opera by Yang Chuan aka Richard Yeung Kuen can be summarized as follows: "A woman gets seduced and impregnated by a handsome ghost and then desperately attempts to abort the baby at a spiritually significant time and place."

SUKEBAN DEKA (Hideo Tanaka, 1987)
From the late Hideo Tanaka, a live-action manga adaptation about female high school detectives who must defeat an evil headmaster - long thought to be dead - before he can successfully brainwash all of the students into becoming an army of fascist robots on a place inexplicably known as Hell's Island. Viewed against its comparatively cartoonish tokusatsu brethren, SUKEBAN DEKA manages to achieve a balance between its most gruesome moments of torture and lobotomization with the outlandish premise that leads to helicopters being blown up by a deadly weaponized yo-yo. In its way, a perfect film.
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WORLD GONE WILD (Lee H. Katzin, 1987)
The bastard offspring of MAD MAX and other better known post-apocalyptic rip-offs, WORLD GONE WILD is a silly, self-aware wasteland wonder that fits into that category of appreciation known as "party movie." It is unimaginatively photographed, a bit meandering in terms of its plot, but it never stops being absolute fun. And weird. Supremely weird. Bruce Dern in perhaps his most autobiographical role. And, while I wouldn't have believed it a decade or more back, Adam Ant in his.
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FRIENDSHIP'S DEATH (Peter Wollen, 1987)
A small film of big ideas. Tilda Swinton is perfectly cast as Friendship, a robot emissary sent to Earth on a - largely ambiguous, although genuine - peace mission. Heady and philosophical, you could easily re-title this film MY DINNER WITH ANDROID. Not particularly accessible, in form or content, but - to those precious few who elect to seek it out and embrace it - sincerely rewarding.

A no-budget, angst-ridden student feature from Gregg Araki and, coincidentally, a microcosm of his career-long obsessions with aesthetic aimlessness, great electronic soundtrack compilations, and the pursuit of sex in all its glorious and violent forms. It all starts here. Spare, but spectacular.

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