November 19th, 2008

LOW BLOW (1986) **

Leo Fong wrote, produced and stars as a chicken feet soup eating, Members Only jacket wearing detective who is hired by a rich industrialist (Troy Donahue) to rescue his daughter from a cult ran by the blind Yarakunda (none other than Cameron Mitchell).  Fong puts on a Toughman competition to see who’s got the guts necessary to help him storm the cult’s fortress and rescue the brainwashed bimbo.


You would think that any movie that featured Cameron Mitchell as a cult leader named Yarakunda who wears a Satanist robe and has a pentagram tattooed on his face would be worth a look.  Well, you’d be right.  The scenes where Mitchell hams it up talking a lot of gibberish about love and God are great fun, especially if you’re a fan of the man.  It’s just a shame that he’s actually a “good” guy and really believes he’s doing the Lord’s work.  Actually it’s his head of security, Karma (Akosua Busia) that’s the real villain who is just using Yarakunda for her own purposes.  Imagine how much fun the movie would’ve been if Mitchell had been TRULY nutzo.  Oh well, you can still have some fun spotting Tae Bo guru Billy Blanks in an early role as a guard.


Fong is OK in the lead and his fight scenes are decent for the most part.  The opening Sudden Impact style scene where he breaks up a robbery was well done, although most of the action looks like it suffers from a lack of time and money.  There is one hilarious part that makes the flick recommended.  It comes when Fong is battling a security guard and he steps on the guard’s head and crushes it.  The effect is nothing more than a watermelon with a face painted on it.  It’s almost worth sitting through this lifeless actioner just to see that WTF moment.


Oh and yes, true to the title, lots of people are dealt low blows.


AKA:  Savage Sunday.  AKA:  The Last Fight to Win:  The Bloody End.


Herschell Gordon Lewis directed this boring tale of a gang of teenage hooligans led by Dexter (Ray Sager from Lewis’ Wizard of Gore) who go on a crime spree.  They trash a house, beat up the elderly, throw babies into trash cans, take clean laundry off a clothesline and stomp on it, smash bikes, bully a bunch of little kids, chop up a boat with an axe and rape a girl on the beach.  Finally a fine upstanding teen stands up to the gang and sets out to put an end to their reign of terror.


With a Lewis movie, you’re more than willing to sit through all of the amateurish acting, languid pacing and static camerawork just as long as he delivers on his trademark gore.  Well, Just for the Hell of It features some blood, but ZERO gore, making it kinda worthless.  The film is filled with lots of filler scenes of the teens endlessly smashing things up, teenagers dancing around aimlessly and bands performing on stage.  The music is pretty awful and the shitty theme song “Destruction” is repeated ad nauseam for maximum irritation.


Lewis favors long, lingering shots of the gang breaking shit instead of say, a “plot”, but that’s okay because these scenes have some kind of hypnotic power to them.  Unfortunately there is a lot of dull stretches in the movie where nothing much happens.  The best scenes of the film come during the montage where we see newspaper headlines of the gang’s crime wave being burned, slashed and covered with blood. 


Just for the Hell of It was filmed back to back with Lewis’ She-Devils on Wheels and even features some of the same cast members turning up in supporting roles.  While it’s nowhere near the same league as that immortal classic, if you’re a Lewis completist (like me) you will definitely wanna take a peek for curiosity’s sake.


AKA:  Destruction, Inc.


Blast-Off Girls would make a great double feature with Hell’s Bloody Devils as both films feature a cameo by none other than Colonel Harland Sanders!  Also, both flicks pretty much suck balls, so they got that in common too.


A Svengali type music promoter finds a band called The Big Blast and tries to mold them into a marketable teen idol group.  He manipulates them and treats them like dirt, but in the end, they get their revenge during a live television show when they play a song called, “Go ____ Yourself”.


The flick takes a very dim view of the music industry as the manager is into various shady dealings (like staging phony scenes where deranged female fans run up on stage and rip off the bands’ clothes).  This could be an interesting concept, but like most films directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis that don’t feature any gore, it’s barely watchable.  Even the title is a complete letdown as there are no girls in the band.  (The Blast-Off Girls of the title refers to their female fan base.)


Star Ray Sager (a veteran of several Gordon movies) kinda resembles Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist from The Hives when he’s singing on stage.  It’s a shame that the music is terrible though.  You know you’re in trouble when the only thing worth a damn about this turd is the gratuitous Colonel Sanders cameo.  After that minor thrill has worn off, what you’re left with is a predictable, boring mess.