Sunday, June 08, 2014

Produced and Abandoned #17

Ten more titles deserving a wide region 1 DVD release:

1. The Vampire of Dusseldorf (1965)- Actor/director Robert Hossein is someone whose filmmaking talents I've admired on this blog before, and this film (also known as "The Secret Killer") looks at the exploits of a serial killer in Dusseldorf during the Great Depression. Hossein made a number of moody, minor works in between acting gigs. The few I've been able to track down, including "Death of a Killer" and "Cemetery Without Crosses" only hint at the talents of this diverse man. Bottom line, we need more Hossein available.

2. Forty Deuce (1982)- Another actor turned director is Paul Morrissey. Coming from the Warhol school of experimentation, unlike Hossein, there are a number of Morrissey's films available. Low budget... twisted avant garde and counter-culture, Morrissey is a definite acquired taste. While I've enjoyed some of his works- "Flesh For Frankenstein" and "Blood For Dracula" are weirdly spirited takes on the classic horror tropes- there are major downers as well. "Trash", "Flesh" and "Heat" are the epitome of self-indulgent, aimless provocations. And they look like shit as well. So, having said all that, "Forty Deuce" is one of his later films that's disappeared. Perhaps its subject matter about a gay prostitute trying to sell a junkie teenager (a young Kevin Bacon) to an older man had something to do with its precarious existence.

3. Bloodbath (1978)- Perhaps there's a reason this mid 70's American giallo has vanished. It sounds ludicrous. From IMDB: "Chicken, a desperate hippie junkie living in a small Spanish village, is finding it difficult to separate fantasy and reality. This isn't helped by the villagers practising magic and child sacrifice, or his involvement with a group of boozy ex-patriots lost in their own dreams and regrets." Did I mention it stars a (probably coked-up) Dennis Hopper and Carroll Baker? Also known as "The Sky Is Falling".

4. The Nun (1966)- Like Robert Hossein, Jacques Rivette is another filmmaker sorely under-represented on home video. Of his 32 films, I count only 7 are available on region 1 DVD. I've heard nothing but praise for this early film in his career about the doubts and uncertainties of a woman forced to take a vow as a nun. The fact that it stars Anna Karina only boosts my anticipation to see this. It is available on YouTube (which, by the way, should get mounds of credit for having soooo many films available to watch if one searches hard enough and has the right way to watch them on their big screen TV) but its without English subs.

5. The Coca Cola Kid (1985)- I gather this film was released on DVD at one point in the 90's, but its now OOP as all copies go for ridiculous amounts online. Starring Eric Roberts as a corporate agent visiting Australia in order to expand Coca Cola's market share, the word of mouth and chatter about this film have always been affectionate. In addition, "The Coca Cola Kid" was directed by experimental Serbian filmmaker Dusan Makavjev, which only heightens the wonder about this film.

6. The Assassination (1972)- Still the go-to authority on unfamiliar or secondary artists worth further exploration is "Film Comment", and last month's issue featured a small article on French filmmaker Yves Boisset. Reading through his list of films on IMDB feels like a treasure trove of 'policier' greatness waiting to be discovered. This 1972 film stars just about anyone popular in French cinema during the early 70's- with a cameo by Roy Scheider! Like many other films on these lists I create, "The Assassination" is really just an excuse for any other films by this director to be viewed and shared. The bright spot about this film and Boisset in general is that his films seem to available pretty easily if you look in the right places.

7. The Visitors (1972)- Great director Elia Kazan's second to last film, this one sounds eerie and psychologically complex: "Bill, Martha and their little child Hal are spending a quiet winter Sunday in their cosy house when they get an unexpected visit from Mike Nickerson and Tony Rodriguez. Mike and Tony are old acquaintances of Bill; a few years back, in Vietnam, they were in the same platoon. They also became opposed parties in a court martial - for a reason that Bill never explained to Martha. What happened in Vietnam, and what is the reason for the presence of Mike and Tony?" From the IMDB description. Filmmaker Brian DePalma later remade the same source material into his film "Casualties Of War". Also, there appear to be releases of this film in France and Spain and talk of an American release in 2011, but I can't find a region 1 DVD copy.

8. Candy Mountain (1987)- Starring Kevin J. O'Connor as a musician trying to track down a legendary guitar maker, "Candy Mountain" has been a cult favorite for years now, fitting into the moody, punk rock aesthetic made fashionable by Jim Jarmusch and the aforementioned Paul Morrissey. Directed by indie legend Robert Frank, this film is available on YouTube. The reactions- like all cult products- are wildly divisive.

9. Darker Than Amber (1972)- Crime novelist John MacDonald and is fictional protagonist Travis McGee make their first appearance on-screen here as Rod Taykor embodies the "savage consultant" in a film that seems to blend criminal bodybuilders and Jane Russell in one sun-baked noir tale. Reviews of this film have been high, citing two different versions out there- one a cut apart TV version and the other an uncut, much more violent vision. I'm a fan of any 70's noir and this one sounds like malevolent fun.

10. Spermula (1976)- If anyone's still reading... google it. Just google it.

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