Cultural Gutter: Battle of the Brains

All in all, brains aren’t really scary – at least up until that moment when you see one pick up a hammer with its spinal cord and come flying at you.

Face of Eve

If jungle adventure movies have taught us anything, it’s that modern man, with all his so-called “refinement” and “civilization”, is the most dangerous animal of all. Even though those city folk ultimately fall prey to quicksand, cannibals, and hungry wild animals.

The Fabulous World of Karel Zeman

If you took special effects film pioneer Georges Melies and combined him with stop motion animation genius Ray Harryhausen and surreal fantasist Terry Gilliam, then taught him to speak Czech, you’d have a film maker very close to Karel Zeman. I was strolling across Prague’s Karluv Most, as is the way of a jetsetting international…

Fireball

Since the day Tony Jaa, Prachya Pinkaew, and Panna Rittikrai suddenly popped up on fight film fans’ radars, Thailand has become the go-to place for the hyperactive, bone-jarring, stunt filled, totally ridiculous style of film making that defined the Hong Kong action film industry in the 1980s. The arrival of Thailand on the martial arts…

Future Hunters

Cirio Santiago’s Future Hunters resembles some ancient horror buried for millions of years at the bottom of a pit beneath some black and unnamed ruin of a city comprised primarily of forms and colors that have no corresponding point of reference in our own universe. In fact, when first I purchased this movie on VHS,…

Farz

At the risk of sounding even more like a broken record than I usually do, allow me once again reiterate a common theme for much of what we discuss here: exploring the vast world of international cult cinema is as frustrating as it is rewarding. Rewarding because, obviously, it opens a whole world — quite…

Fantomas

If I rack my brain, I can come up with an English language corollary by which to describe Fantomas. But that doesn’t change my perception that there is something irreducibly French about the character. Certainly, Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu is similar, in that he is one of those rare examples of a villain serving as…

Forbidden World

Forbidden World delivers pretty much everything I could hope for from a Roger Corman film. He knew what we kids wanted, and in the 1980s, what we kids wanted was stuff we kids probably shouldn’t be seeing. And bless him, Corman gave us that in spades with this movie.

Faust: Love of the Damned

If you can roll with the goofiness of a demon anti-hero who seems to be taking acting queues from Jimmy Walker, this movie is fun enough, stupid enough, and warped enough to be a pretty entertaining, dumb time.

Female Prisoner Scorpion: Jailhouse 41

Emboldened, perhaps, by the success of the first film and the amount of creative leeway given him by Toei, Ito this time largely dispensed with genre trappings and delivered a film that was even more obviously the product of a singular directorial vision.

Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion

Female Prisoner #701 is a thrilling piece of exploitation cinema, as well as a challenging work of visual artistry. But, as great as it is, it merely set the stage for what was to come.

Felidae

That it never received a theatrical release in America is a no-brainer; distributors would undoubtedly have hit a mental logjam trying to market a movie that looks on the surface like a family film but plays out like an angst-ridden version of The Aristocats as imagined by Eli Roth.