The Daily Grindhouse: Death Has Blue Eyes (dir by Nico Mastorakis)


Death Has Blue Eyes

Just in case you needed proof that I will literally watch and review anything, here’s a few thoughts on an extremely obscure Greek thriller, which was first released in 1976.  As often happened with exploitation films in the 70s, this movie was released under several different names.  It’s original Greek title was To koritsi vomva.  Apparently, in England, it was known as The Para Psychics, which is truly a hideous title.  I prefer the American title, Death Has Blue Eyes.

So, maybe you’re wondering how exactly it was that I ended up watching a totally unknown (and unsung) Greek thriller that was filmed long before I was even born.  The trailer for Death Has Blue Eyes was included on the first volume of 42nd Street Forever, an amazingly fun and entertaining compilation of grindhouse movie trailers.  (I imagine that I’m not alone in counting 42nd Street Forever as my introduction to the anything goes aesthetic of the grindhouse.)

Check out the trailer below!

I have to admit that this trailer became something of an obsession of mine.  Some of it, of course, was the music.  And some of it was because every second of the trailer screamed out “low-budget 1970s.”  But, beyond that, I loved this trailer because it contained so many scenes and yet it still told me absolutely nothing about the film.  Seeing as how there were very little information about Death Has Blue Eyes online, I would watch the trailer and I would try to figure out how all of the random scenes fit together.

I could tell, of course, that the film was an action movie.  It was also obvious that the film featured a woman with psychic powers and that she could apparently blow up tents and kill men in bowling alley.  Just as obviously, the two men — one dark-haired and one blonde — were trying to protect her from an evil organization.

But, beyond that, I found myself obsessing on the odd scenes of the two men and the woman on the beach.  Why, I asked myself, were they on that beach?  And why, in a few shots, did both the woman and the blonde guy have such dark circles under their eyes?  Why was their skin so much more pasty and white on the beach than it was in the rest of the trailer?  Why was the blonde guy laughing like a maniac as the tide came in?  Why did the dark-haired guy appear to look so shocked when he saw the blonde guy and the woman dancing?  Why were they dancing on the beach in the first place?  And why, while the mysterious woman looked on with a mournful expression, were the two men fighting in the ocean?

Could it be, I wondered, that the three of them were dead?  And maybe the beach was purgatory?  Perhaps that explained why the blonde guy was laughing.  Maybe he had been killed after opening that briefcase full of money.  Maybe he was laughing at the fact that, as soon as he became rich, he lost his life and found himself on Purgatory Beach.  All that trouble to get all the money and here was betrayed, dead, and in purgatory.  No wonder he couldn’t stop laughing.

And what about that briefcase full of money?  Obviously, this was a heist film.  The two men must have been friends until they both fell in love with the same psychic woman.  And then, after the heist and the fireworks show, the two men turned against each other.  They fought.  They died.  And they ended up in purgatory.

Yes, I thought to myself, that had to be it!

And, as soon as I figured that out, I knew that I had to see Death Has Blue Eyes.  I mean, how often do you get to see a film that so perfectly combines film noir with Catholic theology as the trailer for Death Has Blue Eyes?  Death Has Blue Eyes was obviously a forgotten classic, waiting for one brave red-headed film blogger to defend it!  And if that film blogger has mismatched eyes and loved to dance, all the better!

Unfortunately, it was not easy to see Death Has Blue Eyes.  There’s a few old (and expensive) VHS copies floating around but the film has never been released on DVD or Blu-Ray.  (I am lucky enough to have an old VHS player, as all good lovers of film and history should!)  However, a year ago, someone was good enough to upload Death Has Blue Eyes to YouTube and I finally got to see it!

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And all I can say is that my version is sooooo much better.

I was right about the film being an action film that featured two guys protecting a blonde with psychic powers.  But I was totally wrong about purgatory.  In fact, when I saw how the beach scenes were actually used in he film, I got angry because my version was so much better!

(Because the film contains a lot of nudity and some violence and I don’t want our little site to get in trouble, I’m not going to embed the video here.  But if you want to watch the film on YouTube, click here!)

Anyway, as for the film, it tells the story of Bob (Peter Winter) and Ches (Hristos Nomikos), who are two con artists who make a living by seducing older women and pretending to be guests at expensive hotels.  After Ches’s latest cougar victim kicks them out of her home, they find themselves homeless.  But then, they’re hired to serve as bodyguards for Christine (Maria Aliferi).  Christine is a powerful psychic who witnessed a political assassination.  Because she can read minds, she knows both who the assassin was and who he was working for!

The rest of the film is basically a nonstop collection of car chases, exploding tents, and random assassins.  (What’s odd is that Christine can blow people up by merely looking at them and yet, she still needs bodyguards.)  It doesn’t make a bit of sense and the two “heroes” are incredibly unlikable but, because it’s such a product of its time, the film is oddly watchable.  It’s terrible and there’s no purgatory but it’s still probably the only film ever made about two gigolos hired to protect a blonde with ESP from a bunch of motorcycle-riding assassins.

That said, I still think my version of the film is better!

Check out some footage below, along with listening to a bit of the film’s score.  As I said, it’s all very 70s.

Straight No Chaser: The Marx Brothers in MONKEY BUSINESS (Paramount, 1931)


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After filming their stage successes THE COCONUTS (1929) and ANIMAL CRACKERS (1930), The Four Marx Brothers made their first movie written directly for the screen. MONKEY BUSINESS showcases the anarchic comedy style the brothers were famous for in a very loosely plotted script by humorist S.J. Perelman and Will B. Johnstone (with “additional dialogue” by Arthur Sheekman) full of crazy comic moments.

The brothers play stowaways on an ocean liner bound for America who get mixed up with a pair of rival gangsters. Groucho, of course, gets mixed up with gangster Briggs’s wife, the wonderful Thelma Todd. She takes the role usually reserved for Margaret Dumont, but her youth and beauty give it a different spin. Groucho and Thelma are perfect foils, whether it’s their comic banter (Thelma: “My husband will wallop me” – Groucho: “Always thinking of your husband. Couldn’t I wallop you just as well?”) or their zany dance routines. Thelma would make…

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Song of the Day: Turn the Page (Metallica)


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Through good times and bad I have always been a huge fan and follower of Metallica. Even as they foolishly went off track following the path Bob Rock set for them throughout most of the 1990’s through the disastrous St. Anger debacle as they tried to return to their earlier sound, I have always followed this band which made up the original Big 4 of thrash metal (Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer and Megadeth).

It was on their 1998 cover album, Garage Inc., that the band released one of their most popular songs. It wasn’t an original, but a cover of the classic Bob Seger hard rock song about the hard road and life of a musician. Seger’s “Turn the Page” is just one of those hard rock tunes that latches onto the listener and forces them to listen and understand. Most such songs tend to be quite pretentious with nothing much to say once the listener really pays attention. The same cannot be said about Seger’s song.

Metallica decided to cover this song for their Garage Inc. album which was all about them covering their own favorite hard rock and metal songs of the past. While Metallica kept the original’s tempo, they added their own heavier and harder edge to song that straddles the line between hard rock and heavy metal. Even James Hetfield’s alcohol and cigarette ravaged vocals lent a sense of the hard road and life the track sings about.

The biggest change from the Seger song to Metallica’s cover has to be the accompanying music video which still remains one of the most controversial in MTV’s music video history (well, when they still played music videos). Seger’s song was released in 1973 when the concept of music video was nonexistent. With Metallica’s cover it was almost a guarantee that it would get a music video and what a video it was and still is.

The video was directed by Jonas Akerlund who had made a name for himself directing some of the most creative and innovative music videos of the day. His take on the song switches from a musician’s hard road and life on the road to that of a single mother trying to make ends meet as an erotic dancer by day and a prostitute by night to provide for her young daughter. The video was banned from receiving any sort of airplay on MTV as it dealt and showed the disturbing side of such a life. The fact that the tamer version of the video (below) still couldn’t make it on the airwaves just showed how much more haunting and controversial the uncensored version turned out to be.

Turn the Page

On a long and lonesome highway,
East of Omaha
You can listen to the engines
Moanin’ out it’s one note song
You can think about the woman,
Or the girl you knew the night before
But your thoughts will soon be wanderin’,
The way they always do
When you’re ridin’ 16 hours,
And there’s nothin’ much to do
And you don’t feel much like ridin’,
You just wish the trip was through

(Chorus)

Here I am, on the road again,
There I am, up on the stage
There I go, playin’ star again,
There I go, turn the page

So you walk into this restaurant,
All strung out from the road
And you feel the eyes upon you,
As you’re shakin’ off the cold
You pretend it doesn’t bother you,
But you just want to explode
Yeah, most times you can’t hear ’em talk,
Other times you can

All the same old cliches,
Is it woman, is it man
And you always seem outnumbered,
You don’t dare make a stand
Make your stand

(Chorus)
Ah But here I am, on the road again,
There I am, up on the stage
Here I go, ah playin’ star again,
There I go, turn the page
Woah

Out there in the spotlight,
You’re a million miles away
Every ounce of energy,
You try and give away
As the sweat pours out your body,
Like the music that you play

Later in the evenin’,
As you lie awake in bed
With the echoes of the amplifiers,
Ringin’ in your head
You smoke the day’s last cigarette,
Rememberin’ what she said

What she said

Yeah, and here I am,
On the road again,
There I am, up on that stage
Here I go, playin’ star again,
There I go, turn the page
And there I go, turn that page

There I go, yeah, Here I go, yeah, yeah
There I go, yeah, Here I go, yeah
Here I go, There I go
And I’m gone

Val’s Movie Roundup #13: Hallmark Edition


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Cupid, Inc. (2012) – Okay, who would have thought that Jamie Kennedy would actually be decent as Cupid? This is the guy who taught us how to survive a horror movie and was in Son Of The Mask (2005). But yep, he plays Cupid and does a good job. But he really isn’t a big part of the film all things considered. That falls to Joely Fisher. The deal is that she has to get a new couple together by Valentine’s Day, then she will find her true love. If Jamie Kennedy showed up and told me that, then I would probably ask him if I should see Dinotopia: Quest for the Ruby Sunstone (2005), but she takes him up on his offer. The rest can be boiled down to four words: It’s a Hallmark movie. Believe it or not, this is my first Valentine’s Day Hallmark movie, so I guess it’s the best one I have seen. I’ll tell you this, it’s much better than Gabe the Cupid Dog (2012).

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Fixing Pete (2011) – This one is kind of like Recipe For Love, but not as good. This has dark haired Brooke Burns who is tasked with making over a frat boy looking guy for his upcoming book tour. People often complain about female stereotypes, but this one has the male stereotypes in spades when we are introduced to Pete (Dylan Bruno). Luckily, that doesn’t last long and the two move closer and closer to each other. It’s nice, but if you can find Recipe For Love, then watch that instead.

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Murder 101: New Age (2008) – Once again it’s time for the Van Dykes to solve a murder. This time there are four of them. We’ve got Dick, Barry, Shane, and Carey. As the title suggests, the New Age movement plays a part here. Apparently, after The Nanny, Charles Shaughnessy joined the New Age movement. Basically there’s a room with him dead and gun in his hand while the only other people there are in a really deep meditation. So who killed him? It goes from there. I can’t believe it took till my third Murder 101 movie to realize that Barry Van Dyke’s character is not a cop, but a PI. Not sure then why the Van Dykes seem to just take over the investigation, but who cares. All that matters is that there is a scene where you get to see Dick Van Dyke play tennis on the Wii. When I saw that, I knew my life was complete. Actually, there are several humorous lines surrounding technology. Better than the mystery movies you get from Hallmark nowadays.

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Dad’s Home (2010) – Been awhile since I watched Mr. Mom (1983), but I think it’s probably quite similar. Except kill off the Mom and set it during this generation’s Great Depression. Really, that’s it. We watch him as he settles into his new role as a stay at home dad while looking for work. Before he had a nanny that took care of his kids, but she’s let go after he’s let go from his job. Not sure why she was let go though since he somehow is able to keep this very expensive home and cause of the ending where I swear he decides to not work again. Of course, there has to be a romance thrown in. The hot and nice blonde teacher takes a liking to him and things progress. The only thing that was memorable was when dad interviews for a job at a tech company. The head of the company actually refers to Social Network Accounts as SNAs. I couldn’t even find that in Urban Dictionary. He asks him if he podcasts. I also swear he asked him if he was on Orkut. That’s the social network that was really popular in Brazil. He also asks if he “does Twitter”. What? Was this intentional to show that the guy was actually clueless about the industry he was in or did the writers not know what they were talking about. Or were they trying some feeble attempt to make fun of tech companies. I think it’s the feeble attempt one since they mention a company acupuncturist. Grow up! These are jokes I would expect from a standup comedian. You can skip this one.