This scene (which, be warned, is a huge spoiler) is from the original Django (1966) and features the one and only Franco Nero. If you liked Django Unchained, you’ll love Django.
Last night, after we finished watching the first episode of the new season of American Idol, my bff Evelyn and I watched Megiddo: The Omega Code 2, an evangelical apocalypse film from 2001.
Why Were We Watching It?
Considering that I’m an occasionally agnostic Irish Catholic and Evelyn describes herself as being a “Jewish atheist,” and that Megiddo: The Omega Code 2 is a film about Armageddon told from an evangelical point of view, I think the real question is how could we not watch it? I mean, seriously.
Along with that, of course, Evelyn and I both wanted to watch something that nobody would ever expect either one of us to ever watch.
What Was It About?
Stone Alexander (Michael York) is President of the European Union and is promoting a plan that he claims will solve all of the world’s problems. His younger brother, David Alexander (Michael Biehn) is vice president of the United States and wants to keep America from turning into Europe. David is also in love with Stone’s wife (Diane Venora). And, of course, Stone is actually the Antichrist while David is Michael Biehn.
Anyway, Stone uses his magic devil powers to cause President Benson (R. Lee Ermey) to die of a heart attack and David becomes President. David, however, refuses to join Stone’s “new world order” so Stone frames David for the murder of their father. David goes into hiding with a few loyal American soldiers while Stone makes plans to launch a military strike against Jerusalem.
It all, of course, leads to a huge battle between the forces of Hell and the combined armies of Spain and China (no, really). David finally gets his chance to confront his brother, many prayers are said, and, eventually, a CGI demon pops up and creates a lot of CGI mayhem.
Evelyn claims that nothing worked in this film but I disagree just slightly. First off, and most importantly, Franco Nero is in this film! He plays Stone’s father-in-law and, while he may no longer be the dashing Lancelot from Camelot, Franco Nero is still aging pretty damn well.
Udo Kier is in the film too. Seriously, Udo Kier pops up in the strangest places.
Michael York is a lot of fun as the wonderfully evil Stone Alexander. York’s performance here makes his delivery of the line, “YOU CAN LIVE! LIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVE!” at the end of Logan’s Run look restrained. Also, if you’re going to have a made-for-evil name like Stone Alexander, you might as well be the Antichrist.
On a personal note, I had a lot of fun annoying Evelyn by pointing out that just about every policy proposed by Stone Alexander has also been proposed by Barack Obama. I imagine that Megiddo must be a very popular film among certain conspiracy-minded segments of the population.
What Did Not Work?
To be honest, the entire film didn’t work. It’s not a very good film. The special effects were cheap, the script made the Atlas Shrugged films look subtle, and I imagine that the film probably created more atheists than believers.
That said, Megiddo is still better than Avatar.
“Oh my God! Just like Evelyn and Lisa!” Moments
Franco Nero ages like a fine wine.
Back when I was 18 years old, I auditioned for a community theater production of Camelot. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been intrigued with the spectacle and romance of the Arthurian legends and I just knew that I would make the perfect Guinevere. And so, for two nights, I auditioned. I performed “Baby One More Time” as my audition song, I showed off my dance moves, and I did countless cold readings with countless potential Arthurs and Lancelots. At the end of the two days, the director told me that he would be in touch and I left with stars in my mismatched eyes, convinced that I had won the role of Guinevere.
Two days later, I got a call not from the director but from the assistant director. She informed me that while my dancing was impressive, I wasn’t right for the role of Guinevere because:
1) I was too young.
2) I couldn’t sing.
3) My voice carried too much of a rural twang for me to be a believable Queen of England.
However, she did tell me that I had been selected to be a part of the “chorus.” Well, I may have only been 18 but I still had my pride so I told her that, if I couldn’t I play Guinevere, I had no interest in being in their little production of Camelot. I was later told that this caused a lot of people to assume that I was a diva but no matter, I stand by my decision.
When I later saw the theater’s production of Camelot, I felt thoroughly vindicated. It wasn’t just the fact that the actress they cast as Guinevere had no stage presence, no boobs, and a horsey face. It’s the fact that Camelot itself isn’t a very good show. As good as the songs are, Camelot is something of a talky mess and Pellinore is one of the most annoying characters ever.
It was only after I saw that mediocre production that I discovered that there was a film version of Camelot. Released in 1967, the Warner Bros. production was one of the many big budget musicals released in the late 60s. It has a terrible reputation (and was a box office bomb) but I recently decided to watch it for two reasons.
First off, Camelot was nominated for five Academy Awards (though not best picture) and won three (Best Art-Set Decoration, Best Costume Design, and Best Music — Scoring of Music, Adaptation or Treatment). That means that Camelot won two more Oscars than The Graduate and one more than Bonnie and Clyde.
Secondly, this film version of Camelot features Franco Nero (who, in 1967, was literally the most handsome man in the world) in the role of Lancelot.
And so, I recently set aside 3 hours and I watched the film version of Camelot.
Camelot tells a familiar story. Arthur (played here by Richard Harris) becomes king of England and he marries Guinevere (Vanessa Redgrave). At the magnificent castle of Camelot, the most noble knights of England gather at a round table and Arthur preaches equality and chivalry. Eventually, the righteous French knight Lancelot (Franco Nero) travels to Camelot and becomes Arthur’s greatest knight. However, Lancelot and Guinevere fall in love and, as a result of the schemes of Arthur’s illegitimate son Mordred (David Hemmings), Lancelot and Arthur are soon at war with each other.
Despite my dislike of the stage production, I actually started watching the film version with high hopes. I have a soft place in my heart for the overproduced musical spectacles of the late 60s and I figured that what was slow on stage might be more tolerable when seen on film. Unfortunately, I was incorrect. Camelot is a painfully old-fashioned film and, clocking in at 179 minutes, it’s also one of the most boring movies ever made. Richard Harris was reportedly miserable while making the film and it shows in his performance. You get the feeling that King Arthur would rather be anywhere other than Camelot.
The only time that the film comes alive is when Franco Nero is allowed to command the screen. While the very Italian Nero is somewhat miscast as the very French Lancelot, that doesn’t change the fact that Nero plays the role with a passion that’s missing from the rest of the film. Franco Nero’s blue eyes did more to make me believe in Camelot than any of the songs sung by Richard Harris. One need only watch the scenes that Franco shares with Vanessa Redgrave to understand why they’ve been a couple for over 40 years.
Ultimately, Camelot is interesting mostly as an example of how the old Hollywood studio establishment attempted to deal with competition from television and European films. Instead of attempting to adapt to the new culture of the 60s, the old studio bosses just continued to make the same movies they had always made, with the exception being that they now spent even more money than before to do so. While it’s easy to mock them, you have to wonder if the Camelot of 1967 is all that different from the John Carter of today.
I am very proud to announce the return of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation Film trailers!
Yes, the feature took a short break in November while I was busy plotting my escape to Canada. However, after giving it a lot of thought, I’ve decided to give America another chance.
(Or, at the very least, to wait until after the 2014 elections to decide whether or not to stay here in Texas or to move to Degrassi street in Toronto, Canada.)
Anyway, without further delay, here are this week’s 6 trailers!
(One thing will always remain the same. Whether a Canadian or a Texan, Lisa does not do odd numbers.)
1) Texas Adios (1976)
This film stars my Facebook friend, Franco Nero.
2) City of the Living Dead (1980)
This zombie classic was directed by Lucio Fulci and features Giovanni Lombardo Radice, who recently liked a cute cat picture that I shared on Facebook. Merci, Johnny!
3) Starcrash (1978)
If this trailer looks familiar, it may be because I previously included it in another one of my trailer posts. But no matter! I love this trailer and I’m sure that a lot of our readers here at TSL will enjoy it as well. Next Halloween, I’m going to be Stella Starr. (Starcrash, incidentally, was directed by my Facebook friend, Luigi Cozzi.)
4) Far From Home (1989)
This film, which stars Drew Barrymore, was made by a bunch of people who are not friends with me on Facebook.
5) The Astounding She Monster (1957)
One reason I love 50s B-movies is because the monsters were always astounding.
6) Malibu Beach (1978)
And finally, let’s end things on a positive note!
What do you think, Trailer Kitties?
The last couple days have seen the release of a number of upcoming films that should be jockeying for all those fancy-pants end of season awards. One such film is the latest film from Quentin Tarantino. Django Unchained is his latest trip into the grindhouse world with this film being his take on the spaghetti westerns made popular by Italian maestros like Sergio Leone, Sergio Corbucci and Enzo G. Castellari.
It’s an ensemble cast that’s headlined by Jamie Foxx in the title role with Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson and Leonardo DiCaprio (playing against the grain as the main villain of the piece). To pay respect to the very genre that this film owes not just it’s title, but theme and tone, Tarantino has even cast the original Django in Franco Nero in the role of Amerigo Vassepi.
Django Unchained is set for a Christmas Day 2012 release date (hopefully the world didn’t end just four days earlier).
If there’s a film arriving this year that’s bound to be hyped up by both fanboys and critics alike it would be the latest from Quentin Tarantino. Django Unchained will be his ode to the spaghetti westerns of the 60′s and 70′s. The title of the film alone owes much to Sergio Corbucci’s own spaghetti western, Django.
The trailer first premiered simultaneously over at Fandango and Movies.com and the amount of times the trailer has been reposted over the blogosphere just shows how much people have been waiting for anything about Tarantino’s western when it was first announced. I know that pretty much most everyone here at Through the Shattered Lens have been anticipating this film especially co-founder Lisa Marie Bowman.
I’d describe the trailer itself, but it’s better just to watch it. I’m sure Lisa Marie squealed a bit when two Django’s met near the end.
Hi there and welcome to yet another edition of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation Film trailers!
1) Damnation Alley (1977)
This movie was actually on the Fox Movie Channel last night. The trailer’s better.
2) The Tenement (1985)
As this trailer makes clear, this film is also known as Slaughter In The South Bronx.
3) Enter The Ninja (1981)
It’s Franco Nero!
4) Eat My Dust (1976)
It’s Ron Howard!
5) Beatrice Cenci (1969)
Before Lucio Fulci devoted himself to making zombie films, he made this one. It tells the true story of Beatrice Cenci, an Italian noblewoman who, in 1599, conspired to murder her abusive father. Fulci considered it to be his second best film. I’ve never seen it but I hope to do so someday soon.
6) The Slams (1973)
Finally, let’s conclude this edition with Jim Brown in … The Slams!
Well, its Super Bleh weekend, the time of year when everything is just football, football, football! And Lisa says, “A bleh on both your houses!” Still, because I love theme posts, here’s the latest edition of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation Trailers – 6 Super Trailers For a Super Weekend! Yay! 8)
1) J.D.’s Revenge (1976)
He came back from the dead to possess a man’s soul, make love to his woman, and get the vengeance he craved!
2) Texas Adios (1967)
Starring the best, the one and only Franco Nero!
3) H.O.T.S. (1979)
Trailers like this prove that it was apparently a lot easier to be considered attractive back in the 70s.
4) Inglorious Bastards (1977)
I think this film features a former football player so it goes with the whole Super Bowl theme. Plus, the title was borrowed for Quentin Tarantino’s super Inglorious Basterds.
5) Wild Orchid (1990)
This film was directed by the super Zalman King who passed away on Friday. R.I.P.
6) Roadhouse (1989)
The film co-stars the even more super Ben Gazzara, who also passed away on Friday. R.I.P.
Seeing as how the Oscar nominations are due to be announced on Tuesday, I thought I would devote this edition to Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation trailers to films that were snubbed by the Academy. Remember them while you’re watching Rooney Mara accept best actress.
1) A Life of Ninja (1983)
Despite the colorful trailer, this film was not nominated for best Costume Design, Art Design, or Cinematography. Instead, all three of those awards went to Ingmar Bergman’s Fanny and Alexander.
2) The Shark Hunter (1979)
Franco Nero was not nominated for best actor for his performance here. Instead Dustin Hoffman won for Kramer vs. Kramer.
3) The Terrornauts (1967)
The true terror is that the 1967 Oscar for Special Visual Effects went to Doctor Dolittle and not The Terrornauts.
4) Americathon (1979)
The Academy has never really appreciated hard-hitting political satire which perhaps explains why the previously mentioned Kramer Vs. Kramer won best picture while Americathon was not even nominated.
5) Don’t Torture A Duckling (1972)
The Oscar for Best Foreign language film of 1972 was given to Luis Bunuel’s The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and not to Lucio Fulci’s classic giallo Don’t Torture A Duckling.
6) The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
And yet somehow, Annie Hall was named best picture.
From out of the shadows of our shared exploitive past comes 6 more of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation Trailers.
This is a fun trailer. It comes with its own theme song. There’s no type of love Dirty Mary won’t make.
This is one of those public domain films that seems to show up in every other Mill Creek Box Set. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine and the trailer is all tacky goodness. Plus, Erika Blanc’s in it. (And the title has allowed me to have a lot of fun at my friend Evelyn’s expense.)
Before he was hired to direct Zombi 2, Lucio Fulci directed this spaghetti western. Not surprisingly, it’s one of the darkest, most cynical westerns ever made.
Nine years before Four of the Apocalypse, Fulci directed another western, this one with Franco Nero. Have I mentioned the things I would let Franco Nero do to me if I could get my hands on a time machine? Mmmmm….Franco Nero.
From director Jesus Franco comes “99 women … without men.”
Don’t watch this trailer if you’re a toadsucker. Or easily offended.