Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Film Discoveries of 2017 - Daniel Budnik ""

Friday, January 12, 2018

Film Discoveries of 2017 - Daniel Budnik

Dan Budnik's second book, '80s Action Movies On The Cheap, is available now and can be ordered from Amazon. His first book, Bleeding Skull!: A 1980s Trash-Horror Odyssey, is out of print but can still be found by those who look hard enough. His writing is on the Some Polish American Guy Reviews Things blog and the Bleeding Skull! website. He is host of the Eventually Supertrain and the Dan's Drive-In Double Feature podcasts, located at He is also co-host of The Made For TV Mayhem Show and part of the Podcastmania horror discussion.

Blaze Starr Goes Nudist (1962)
I don’t know why it took me so long to watch this. I’ll just say three things: Doris Wishman, Blaze Starr, Nudist Colony. ‘Nuff said.
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A Dragonfly For Each Corpse (1975)
Paul Naschy Goes Giallo! And he does a pretty darn good job of it. He plays the tough Milanese cop who is after someone killing “undesirables” and leaving a dragonfly ornament-thing on their bodies. He’s gruff and harsh… but he’s married to Erika Blanc and they have a sweet relationship, which I really liked. (Plus, Erika Blanc. Holy Moley.) You know how you’ll sometime see in reviews the writer remarking “It’s a rip-off of [whatever] but it feels like the filmmakers didn’t actually see that film so things feel weird.” (I’ve said it myself.) This one is the opposite. It feels like Naschy saw a bunch of giallo and did exactly what they were doing, which means everything is VERY giallo throughout. It’s Spanish but set in Milan because giallo films came from Italy. The motive for the killings is exactly what you think it’s going to be. Each of the suspects is exactly the sort of suspect you’d except in a giallo. The music is stock music… most of it from other giallo films. My favorite example: the title. Most of these films had cool and semi-lyrical (sometimes nonsensical and obscure) titles. This one seems like it’s a poetic flourish of some variety until you actually say it aloud. It’s not a weird turn of phrase or something exotic. It’s a blunt statement describing what the killer does after he kills, which only seems to be slightly weird and obscure. That’s Our Naschy!
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Suspicious Death of a Minor (1975)
I’m a big fan of giallo. I’m a big fan of poliziotteschi. This one mixes the two together (like Shadows In an Empty Room) and is a super good time. An unorthodox cop is trying to find out who killed a young woman. The whole film is slightly off-kilter and features odd scenes popping up almost randomly, including my favorite use of a movie theater ceiling ever. I don’t want to ruin anything for you. I knew nothing going in, just that it was an Umberto Lenzi film and it was supposed to be nutty. Both things are definitely true. The Arrow Blu-Ray looks amazing. Pick it up!
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The Intruder (1975)
Super fun proto-slasher that Garagehouse Pictures plucked out of the air and put on Blu-Ray this year. A bunch of people go to an island and they start to get killed one by one, including Yvonne DeCarlo, Mickey Rooney and Ted Cassidy. If you (like me) love this sort of movie, that’s all you need. You know you need to see it. If you don’t like this sort of movie, you’ve just broken my heart. I think this would make a great double feature with Have A Nice Weekend. I take that back. I KNOW it would make a great double feature with Have A Nice Weekend.
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Death Machines (1976)
Madame Lu and her giant hair has three programmed killer hit men at her disposal. And they kill a lot of people. When the bazooka shows up, you know this film is going to be fantastic. I’d seen the poster art for this for years but had always thought it was an Al Adamson film. And, as Al’s films generally make me sleepy, I avoided it. But, it’s a Kyriazi! He made Weapons of Death, which I quite liked. And Ninja Busters, which I’m less thrilled with. So, I picked up the Vinegar Syndrome Blu-Ray and finally saw it. It is Screwball! I loved it. It’s constantly finding new ways to be crazy and I can appreciate that. Plus, it’s a heck of a lot of fun. Recommended for everyone including Your Mama.
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Magic Lizard (1985)
This Thai film is one that I have no proper cultural context for. It’s (according to Wikipedia) about a giant lizard that guards a crystal that aliens are after. But, to me, it looks like a guy in a goofy lizard suit fighting characters from Ultraman, getting attacked by giant crocodiles and kicking lots of guys in the ass. I love it! For all I know, every third film made in Thailand is like this. It’s pure crazy to me. I never understood what was going on but… to hell with that. At first, I thought it was a kid’s movie. But, by the end, I wasn’t so sure. And then, I realized I didn’t care. Fun Fact: Magic Lizard was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards that year. It lost to the Argentinian film The Official Story. Actually, don’t quote me on that. No, wait… DO quote me on that. See what it gets you.

Ladykillers (1988)
At the hottest male strip club in Los Angeles, someone has killed a big, hunky stripper. And everybody’s worried! And everybody’s a suspect! And everyone has huge hair! Lt. Marilu Henner and Officer Her Boyfriend investigate! This TV movie is so 1989 and so gloriously ludicrous that I think someone was having a laugh but not everyone got let in on the joke, which makes for great times. I watched it for the Made For TV Mayhem podcast and had a blast. You Will Believe A Man Can Strip!

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