4 Shots From 4 Films: My Apprenticeship, The Wayward Cloud, The Birds, The Bees and the Italians, Sky Murder


Humor.

My Apprenticeship (1939, dir. Mark Donskoy)

My Apprenticeship (1939, dir. Mark Donskoy)

The Wayward Cloud (2005, dir. Tsai Ming-Liang)

The Wayward Cloud (2005, dir. Tsai Ming-Liang)

The Birds, The Bees and the Italians (1966, dir. Pietro Germi)

The Birds, The Bees and the Italians (1966, dir. Pietro Germi)

Sky Murder (1940, dir. George B. Seitz)

Sky Murder (1940, dir. George B. Seitz)

The Daily Grindhouse: The Raiders of Atlantis (dir by Ruggero Deodato)


ROA

It’s been a while since I’ve done an entry in the Daily Grindhouse here at the Shattered Lens.  (And please, no snarky comments about the definition of the word “daily.”  I’ve been doing such a good job of controlling my temper lately…)  So, I figured I’d correct that oversight by taking a few moments to tell you about The Raiders of Atlantis, an Italian film from 1983.

(If you’re a regular reader, you know how much I love Italian exploitation films.)

On many a Saturday night, I have gotten together with my fellow members of the Late Night Movie Crew (including TSL’s own Patrick Smith) and we’ve watched movies with titles like Samson Vs. The Vampire Women, Cruel Jawsand Space Raiders.  Whenever it’s my night to pick the movie, I’ve always been tempted to select The Raiders of Atlantis.  In many ways, it’s the perfect film to watch with a group of snarky and outspoken friends.  The film is action packed, it features a lot of over-the-top melodrama, the pace is relentless, and the film is so defiant in its refusal to follow any narrative logic that you can’t help but respect its defiant soul.

(If Raiders of Atlantis could talk, it would say, “I do what I want!” before giving the finger to anyone complaining about not being able to follow the plot.)

I’ve come very close to picking it on a few occasions but then I always remember just how violent this film can be.  By the standards of Italian exploitation, The Raiders of Atlantis is actually rather tame but it still features a lot of people dying in a lot of disturbingly graphic ways.  People are set on fire.  People are graphically shot in the face.  One unfortunate woman gets a dart fired into her neck.  Heads roll, literally.

The Raiders of Atlantis tells the story of what happens when a bunch of scientists on an oil rig accidentally cause the lost continent of Atlantis to rise up out of the ocean.  A Caribbean island is conquered by an army of heavily made up, motorcycle-riding, mohawk-sporting “interceptors,” who claim to be the descendants of the original inhabitants of Atlantis.  Led by the evil Crystal Skull (Bruce Baron), the Interceptors are determined to kill everyone who does not possess Atlantean blood.  When they’re not randomly killing, they’re searching for an artifact that will … well, to be honest, I’m not sure why they wanted that artifact but they certainly were determined to find it.

Who can stop the Interceptors?  Well, how about Mike (Christopher Connelly) and Washington (Tony King)?  They’re two mercenaries who just happened to be nearby when the continent of Atlantis rose out of the ocean.  Along with a group of scientists, an escaped convict, and a random bald guy in tuxedo, it’s up to Mike and Washington to save the world!

(Washington, incidentally, has just converted to Islam and spends most of the movie demanding that Mike call him by his new name, Mohammad.  I imagine this is one of those subplots that would be abandoned if the film were remade today.)*

So, as I said before, The Raiders of Atlantis makes absolutely no sense but that’s actually a huge part of the film’s charm.  This is one of those relentless action films that truly does seem to be making it up as it goes along.  There’s something very enjoyable about seeing how many movies The Raiders of Atlantis can rip-off in just 98 minutes and you soon find yourself thankful that the film didn’t waste any time trying to justify itself.  The film may not be traditionally “good” but it is flamboyantly bad and, in many ways, that’s even better.  Maybe you have to be a fan of Italian exploitation cinema to truly understand.

Speaking of which, if you have any experience at all with Italian exploitation, you will immediately recognize half the cast of The Raiders of Atlantis.  You may not know they’re names, because these actors frequently changed their Americanized screen names from film to film.  But you’ll definitely recognize the faces and one of the more enjoyable aspects of The Raiders of Atlantis is that you get to see all of these familiar faces together in one movie.

For instance, Christopher Connelly is best known for starring in Lucio Fulci’s ill-fated Manhattan Baby.  Tony King gave memorable performances in both The Last Hunter and Cannibal Apocalypse.  The cast also features giallo and spaghetti western mainstays George Hilton and Ivan Rassimov, along with Filipino Z-movie veteran Mike Monty.  Stefano Mingardo, who appeared in a handful of violent actions films, shows up as an escaped convict and livens up every scene in which he appears.  Even Michele Soavi, years before he would direct the brilliant Dellamorte Dellamore, appears in a small role.  Unfortunately, George Eastman is nowhere to be found but still, The Raiders of Atlantis is worth seeing for the cast alone.

The Raiders of Atlantis was directed by Ruggero Deodato, who is best known for directing such controversial films as Cannibal Holocaust and The House At The Edge of the Park.  Raiders of Atlantis is nowhere close to being as extreme as either one of those films.  If anything, it feels like a more violent than usual SyFy movie.

The Raiders of Atlantis has apparently slipped into the public domain and, as of this writing, it’s been uploaded to YouTube.  You can watch the trailer below.  This trailer not only captures the feel of the film but it also features the film’s enjoyably vapid theme music.

—–

*And why not remake it!?  Chris Pratt and Tyrese Gibson could play Mike and Washington.

Trailer: Goodnight Mommy


So, what does everyone think of the trailer for Goodnight, Mommy?  For the past few months, people have been hyping this movie as one of the scariest movies ever made.  The trailer certainly has its moments, nicely mixing obvious scares with moments of deep unease and ominous atmosphere.  This is one movie that I will definitely be seeing as soon as it opens in theaters.

Remembering Lionel Atwill: DOCTOR X (1932) and MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM (1933)


crackedrearviewer

ghost4_0

When film fans think of their Mount Rushmore of horror stars, a few names immediately come to mind. Boris Karloff. Bela Lugosi. Lon Chaney (Sr & Jr). Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee. One name usually omitted is Lionel Atwill. Which is a shame, because the actor was front and center at the beginning of the horror cycle of the 1930s. While hard-core horror buffs certainly know his work, Atwill is best remembered today for his supporting role as the wooden-armed Inspector Krough in 1939’s SON OF FRANKENSTEIN. But at the dawn of the Golden Age of Horror, Lionel Atwill starred in two of the earliest fright classics, both produced by Warner Brothers: DOCTOR X and MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM.

x1

 

DOCTOR X is more along the lines of an “old dark house” mystery, with dashes of the new horror genre added for extra spice. Dr. Xavier (Atwill) is called in by the police in the…

View original post 1,401 more words

The Second Annual Academy Awards: 1915


Continuing to reimagine Oscar history one year at a time, LMB and I take a look at what 1915 could have been.

Through the Shattered Lens Presents The Oscars

John Wilkes Booth (Raoul Walsh) flees after shooting Abraham Lincoln in D.W. Griffith's Birth Of A Nation John Wilkes Booth (Raoul Walsh) flees after shooting Abraham Lincoln in D.W. Griffith’s Birth Of A Nation

The second annual Academy Awards were handed out on January 20th, 1916.  For the second and final time, the ceremony took place in the Empire Room of the Waldorf Hotel in New York City.  Just as in the previous year, the awards were handed out after dinner and a speech from Academy President Mack Sennett.  Again, the winners were announced before the actual ceremony and were given certificates of achievement.  According to contemporary reports, the winners who were present all gave brief acceptance speeches but nobody bothered to record what anyone said.

As in the previous year, winners were selected by a jury of distinguished citizens.  The 1915 jury consisted of:

  1. Harry Chandler, businessman
  2. Owen McAleer, former mayor of Los Angeles, California
  3. Ellery Sedgwick, publisher of…

View original post 794 more words