CULT FILM Review Round Up – August 2010

Robogeisha - Noboru Iguchi 2009 – (just out on Cine Asia Extreme) 

review by Colin Dibben

 Two sisters with sibling rivalry issues are initiated into an assassin cabal. The assassins that aren't dressed like geisha have red dick masks on. There's an impressive sounding array of body enhancing weaponry on display, including machine gun breasts, butt blades, wig napalm, hatchet socks and Breast Milk from Hell but somehow or other I got bored.

It looked good and crazy from the Youtube trailer but the special effects look like they have been digitally painted on top of the film and there's actually too much story dealing with the sister squabbling and a group of old people.

If you put this on after the pub, you might fall asleep.

Black Dynamite (Region 1 US DVD)

review by Dan Collacott

This 2009 blacksploitation comedy shot on Super 16 film in just 19 days was pretty much everything I hoped it would be. It isn’t a spoof /parody in the same way as the Naked Gun films, it isn’t knowing or self referential it’s just a superb take on the ‘Shaft’ genre of 70s cop films. Packed with bad camera angles, shoddily cut together scenes, deliberate continuity errors, sublimely bad acting and a plot that reads like a bad acid trip. But that is of course the whole point.

Director Scott Sanders and lead actor Michael Jai White flawlessly capture everything good and bad about the genre, from the amazing soundtrack to the meticulous level of detail exhibited throughout (Arsenio Hall even gets an appearance). You could literally believe the film had been stumbled upon having lay dormant on the cutting room floor since the 70s.

The plot is your standard (?) cop’s brother dies, cop goes out for revenge then goes to war on drugs then on the gangs (with help from the Black Panthers) then finally takes on the US Government itself.  The film ticks every cliché box along the way, including gags about orphans high on smack, Black Dynamite’s insatiable sex drive and love of kung fu. The whole thing is gloriously silly with several bent double laugh out loud moments, although I must point out it isn’t an outright laughter/gag fest. Talk of sequels and an animated series persist, but on this evidence one of the big studios needs to sign up Sanders and put some serious funding behind him.

Watch the film more than once to unlock more of the hidden gems inside.

I Sell The Dead (out now on DVD)

review by Dan Collacott

I Sell The Dead isn't really a traditional Zombie film, in fact only in the second half of this low budget period horror comedy does anything zombie rear it’s rotting head. The film centres on the slap stick-esque grave robbing antics of Arthur Blake (Dominic Monaghan) and Willie Grimes (Larry Fessenden). The story is told through a series of death row conversations between Blake and Father Duffy (Ron Perlman).

The first half anecdotes/flashbacks concentrate on how a young Blake and Grimes first forge their eventually notorious grave robbing partnership. The second half shifts focus to their more profitable and specialist acquisition of the un-dead, and not to mention their less fortunate encounters with a deranged rival gang.

The setting of a fog soaked period England creates a perfectly macabre and bleak atmosphere throughout the film, yet somehow the morally obscure duo's humorous exchanges keeps the mood light. The film isn't really laugh out loud funny but certainly has its fair share of very comic moments, it also refreshingly avoids too many cliché buddy/bromance set pieces, or boy meets woman yawns. In fact aside from the main partnership there is little other character development there and nor is it needed!

Monaghan and Fessenden's on screen chemistry is both well pitched and believable, as is the world they inhabit and the protagonists they tackle. Perlman (Hellyboy) puts in a neat turn as the priest and Irish director Glenn McQuaid's direction is tight and effective throughout. Originality isn’t always enough and although this feels more like TV Drama than movie it still well worth the watch.

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