Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Vincents Vile Video Vault: So what really is behind the door of ROOM 237 By Vincent Daemon

So great to have the talented Vincent Daemon reviewing again! Enjoy. 
So what really is behind the door of ROOM 237 Review by Vincent Daemon

Directed by: Rodney Ascher

Starring (in voice form):
Bill Blakemore
Geoffrey Cocks
Juli Kearns
John Fell Ryan
Jay Weidner

Honestly, I’ve never been a big fan of THE SHINING. Not the book really, the “revised” tv mini-series was “entertaining,” if nothing else, but Kubrick’s version I’ve always found virtually unwatchable. In fact, outright unwatchable. I know that’s anathema within the current horror community, but most things I do in general it seems are anyway.  But the the idea behind this particular doc seemed very interesting, and incredibly well put together, deeply intriguing me for whatever reason. Not only am I a horror junkie, I’m also a documentary junkie.

When putting it on, I did so with an open mind, ignoring everything I’ve ever disliked about the Kubrick classic. What I got was, to my astonishment, an ever-fascinating series of perceptions and opinions and observations that, quite honestly, would have never occurred to me, all coming from intelligent people and VERY thought out.

Another interesting thing is that many of the people interviewed couldn’t stand the film either upon initial viewing, and even repeated viewings. However they, much like myself, kept coming back to it over the years.

The film is presented in “9 Parts,” each one delving into a different point of view or observation about the film, that at first all seem completely batshit crazy. Until you listen and watch, very carefully, and begin to notice the various aspects of what exactly they are talking about. As the 9 segments flawlessly flow together, a much larger, much darker story is being told, one infinitely creepier in all reality than what King had penned.

That is also one of the more interesting “Parts,” is they do go into King’s ultimate fury at what he felt Kubrick had “done” to his book, which was essentially completely, and quite deliberately, and literally, wrecked as Kubrick very passive-aggressively went and essentially and made his own creation instead.

There is a definitive and dark bleakness to the entire affair that I really appreciated. The doc is actually suspenseful in its own right, and sheds lights on the film that actually coalesce and make sense, ALMOST, by its conclusion.

Oddly enough, scenes of various other films are used to accompany the exposition, including “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Barry Lyndon,” “The Shining,” strangely (but in a way making a certain sense) Lamberto Bava’s “Demons” & “Demons 2,” “Eyes wide shut,” and very odd footage of the classic moon landing, which I found to be the most interesting “Part.” Supposedly there is a theory that Stanley Kubrick was “hired out” anonymously, by Disney, (ie: forced, I believe  - - - Disney is infamous for sick behind the scenes tactics - - - look up Disney and the Lemmings) to “stage” the moon landing. The film takes a definitive turn toward the completely bizarre at this point, as apparently Kubrick HATED doing that, it tore him up inside, this bizarre lie and contractual obligation to which he HAD to follow, almost turning him into Jack Torrance, and makes several allusions to that within “The Shining” itself. Hell, just look at the director’s visual disintegration during the course of making the film.

Of course all of these are strange, almost OCD-like personal observations, which is what us true film buffs do.

What I like the best: by the films conclusion there is no real, concrete, quantifiable conclusion to any of this. Like a substantial portion of Kubrick’s work.

My opinion? Kubrick was burnt the fukk out, especially from the dreadfully dull “Barry Lyndon,”  probably on a lot of coke, and crammed several different ideas, hints, and secrets within the film, as he’s notorious for doing, while simultaneously telling King to stuff it, for whatever reason, as even that is still essentially a mystery.

The director/documentarian did his job and he did it well. He let’s you draw your own conclusions. ROOM 237 is the room of secrets and mysteries, the one room Danny was NEVER to go in. Dark things hide behind that door, just as they do within this film. I would think it a fascinating watch for ANY horror fan/film buff. It was for me.

I may just give Kubrick's “The Shining” another shot.

Bio: Vincent Daemon currently works for THE INTESTINAL FORTITUDE https://theintestinalfortitude.wordpress.com/ ezine, his column titled ROSETTA BONES. He is still putting out increasingly strange short fiction, and frequently appears on the ANDROID VIRUS & SEAN SHOW, as well as has many other projects going. He can be contacted at vdaemon13@gmail.com and on fb at https://www.facebook.com/vincent.daemon.1

Monday, March 30, 2015

It Follows - Just add an SH at the beginning!

I`ve had one of those weeks where my whole world had been totally turned upside down and inside out. A beloved furry friend had departed quiet suddenly and of course emotions ran high, tears were shed and trying to face life without my special little girl. My friend and fellow writer for the blog William invited myself and my partner out to see a movie at a little independent cinema. It had been ages since I had been there and I really needed to get my mind off things.

He suggested we see "It Follows" from the trailerI had some reservations but I went into the cinema open and wanting to experience something new smart and entertaining.

Before the review let me just say this: I`m not one of these critics that enjoy picking films apart- I went in this not reading a single review and going in fresh with an open mind.

The opening scene pretty much sets the tone for the film, a pretty girl runs out of her house wearing barely nothing screaming and passers by mildly fain interest... Even her Father only mildly asked her if shes Ok. The tone made him seem as concerned as if he left the iron on. She gets in her car and peels out, does her parents follow her or um call the police. Nah!! By the way if your looking for any logic in this film don't, you`ll burn yourself out trying to make sense. No spoilers but things don't work out great for her.

So the plot if one can call this mess one is this. A mysterious force chases a chosen person and will end up killing them unless said person passes it on via sex. Jay our heroin of the film is going out with a guy named Hugh aka Jeff who after a bizarre freak out at the movies takes her to a deserted area to have fun (because after all why wouldn't you take a unstable guy in the middle of nowhere) after sex Jay starts spotting off flowery pros and Hugh/Jeff knocks her out and ties her up just to tell her that this thing will follow her instead of him because he passed it on to her sexually. After he unties her he drops her off at her house half naked crying and crawling on all fours. Jay along with her gang of friends try and help her figure out this messy confusing plot.

David Robert Mitchell tries hard to make this an "art" horror film but in reality its nothing more than the same empty headed hipster kids we`ve seen in a hundred other horror films in a ever confusing plot (which is meant to be cool and trendy) and add some lines that made you rather cringe or laugh or a bit of both. He comes up with a mythos but doesn't even stick to his own rules making the audience both confused and annoyed. In the beginning Jay is told that this mysterious force can be escaped if you pass it along sexually (and crudely is told it should be easy for her being a woman-sexist much?) yet even after she has sex with her friend the thing still comes after her? Its pretty bad when you cant stick with your own rules. At first I thought given the sexually transmitted theme it would be sort of like a updated Shivers" but to my dismay it was nowhere near the brilliance of the 1975 David Cronenberg classic. Many of the characters make really poor choices and it borders on horror parody. For example if you`re being chased by a evil force its not a great idea to go out to a creepy isolated park beside the woods in barely anything and decide to take a swing on the creepy looking swing set. Also Its not taught in sex ed but if your friend has a demon that gets spread via sexual transmission its not a good idea to have sex with her...Just sayin.

This also breaks a mortal cinema sin- being boring. Many scenes are just the gang hanging out, trying to be witty but coming off as empty soulless products of the Hipster generation. It seems the film is padded with many either dull scenes or confusing ones that only add to the viewers frustration. I dont mind a slow build to an awesome finish but this

 Which brings me to my next point- its how the majority of the women in the film are treated as mindless sex objects to pass along deadly virus.  As stated above in a very cringe worthy scene Jay is told that her being a female should make it easy for her to get laid and pass the evil on. Wow... Its also interesting that several working women are also featured, I think David has some issues with the opposite sex. The men don't fair any better- You have Hugh/Jeff the bone head that uses then assaults and ties up Jay (just to tell her what she`s in store for) Or you have the other extreme Paul the wimpy whiny guy that wants nothing more to bed his best friend. In the world of this movie either your a dumb female (or a "smart" one in hip nerd glasses reading on her E-reader -cause its cool!) or a bone head walking hard on that will sleep with anything that says yes and treats women poorly.

The lead actress Maika Monore must have went to the Kristen Steward school of acting because she comes off wooden and as appealing as a forest fire. Honestly shes attractive but its like she downed a gallon of NyQuil before each take. Even her "love making" scenes are boring and not sexy in the least. I`m not saying she is a bad actress but not given anything good to do. I did enjoy her in "The Guest"

Pretty much the same expression through out the whole film..

I will give the film props for not relying heavily on gore to substitute for scares but anything would have been better than the predictable make up job on the ghoul/ghost/evil force things.

Even the score which started out great (an obviously nod to John Carpenter`s early scores) gets annoying and at one point starts to sound like the theme from Super Mario.

Instead of the theater being filled with the sounds of screams we heard a very different sound, mainly laughter. Like the "Wicker Man" remake this film is filled with "screamingly" funny lines that was a source of great fun after the movie while at dinner. One character points to get a man and says "Its a person" Um duh!!  This would make a great RIFF TRAX which I hope happens.

It seems that this film splits the horror community and some see this as a brilliant film while others like myself see this for what it is a below standard horror outing wrapped in a veil of pretension pandering to the trendy set. Don`t get me wrong, i`m all for a slow paced creepy arty horror film but this was sloppy, boring and funny rather than scary.

With "It Follows" David Robert M has found a way to take something almost clever and fill it with a needlessly confusing plot, terribly unlikable flat characters with an ending that will piss you off. Follow the masses? No Thanks...

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Happy House Review

Minor Spoilers but no end spoilers or major plot points*** read on.

When I look at a film to review, I dont set out comparing it to others like it but sometimes Its hard not to. Point in case, "The Happy House" I had not heard much about this film and I jumped right into it fresh and without reading any reviews, well maybe I should have to spare me the time wasted on it.

A young couple whose relationship is rocky at best needs to work things out. The answer to there problem: a nice romantic get away to a charming bed and breakfast for some much needed r&r. A nice grandmother type woman greets the couple and all seems pretty normal,yet something was kind of off about her and her big lug of a son. As soon as the couple sets foot in the door the house rules are went over and a policy of three strikes and your out which of course seems ominous. The start of the movie is very strong setting up a great balance of dark humor and horror much like "Tucker and Dale" did a few years back. Your made to think the creepy grandmother and her big bad looking son are killers but this is a flimsy at best fake out which is not used nearly as cleverly as Tucker did. I was disappointed because this could have set up a lot of entertaining misleads but atlas this movie suffers greatly from a tepid screenplay.  The direction seemed actually pretty solid and the camera work was at times creative but when your working from only a half realized script theirs not much you can do. You can even get the sense that D.W Young the direct has a good grip on visuals but if I could give him one piece of advice, pick a better written project because this was just bad. Speaking of writing, the characters in this are really hard to root for, mainly i`m talking about the couple whom come off as 2 dimensional with no depth. Lets talk about acting, which is pretty good considering the limp script they had to work with. Right away I liked the casting, the couple was believable not the typical beef cake and double d bimbo that looks like the were ripped off the cover of some magazine. The actors are called to give a emotional performance and it comes off real and not hammy. Mr Young at least knows when to reign his actors in without letting anyone get to carried away.

There is a killer in this film and boy is he annoying spouting cheesy one liners that would even make Freddy cringe. Again it seems like this was written but someone who has a narrow view of the genre because nothing about it is clever. I kept thinking about the film I reviewed called "The Bleeding House" which has a similar set up of people in a farm house and how much better B.H was compared to this. A film like this almost pisses me off because I can see how awesome it could have been, had it been better written.

As much as I feel spoiling this end wouldn't hurt anyone i`m getting stick to my spoiler free review. The end is so lame it actually left me wondering who the fuck thought this was a good idea, its so bad its jaw dropping, it will leave even the most forgiving fright fan scratching his head in disbelief. Honestly folks i`ve never seen a more anti-climatic end in all my years of cinema.  This actually could be the worst ending to a horror film i`ve EVER seen. This is one Inn i`ll skip thank you but um no thanks.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Kenneth J Hall Interview. Talks Puppet Master,Critters and More!

You may not know his face but for over three decades Kenneth J Hall has been pulling the strings in the horror genres most exciting films including the original Puppet Master. Kens done it all, written directed special effects and even owns his own effects company "Total Fabrication" which has done work on such classics as "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" Very few can say they`ve done all that. Most recently fans were treated to "Linneas Horror Workout" which was only on VHS. Ken had taken the print he owned and put together a awesome limited DVD. If you want a great cheesy eighties oddity I recommend it.  Kenneth has taken the time to sit down with Gorehound Mike and talk Puppet Master,Critters and beyond....

GM: I read that your brother and you met Rick Baker at a convention in the early eighties and he inspired you both to follow your dream in special effects, tell us about the meeting and what advice stuck with you?

KJH: This was back in 1977, at a convention in Houston, Texas.  At the time, Rick was not nearly as well-known, especially to the general public.  It was several years before his first Oscar.  We knew him through magazines like Famous Monsters of Filmland and Starlog.  He was impressed with some full-body creature suits we’d fabricated out of foam and offered to provide us with sources for materials and the like.  He was incredibly open at the time though I can’t recall  any specific piece of advice he gave us.  It was inspiring to see a fan who was able to turn what he loved most into a career.

GM: Had you spoken to him after first meeting?

KJH: Though I never worked for him after I moved to Hollywood (except as a background puppeteer on GREMLINS II), I have seen him many times over the years and we always exchange pleasantries.

GM: Let’s talk Puppet Master which most fans would say is the best series Full Moon ever produced. Most people may not know that your take on it was much different than what ended up in the film. Explain how your version differs from the later drafts?

KJH:  Both had the basic  idea of the people coming to the hotel and ultimately discovering the friend they thought  was dead was using Toulon’s puppets to destroy them.  My draft had them as a coven of crazy modern-day witches and magicians, not paranormal researchers.  There was far more violence and several puppets were cut and saved for the sequels.

GM: You said in an interview that you`ve learned to accept that as a screenwriter your work more often than not gets changed, was that a hard pill to swallow at first?

KJH: I had many good experiences writing for Dave DeCoteau, who rarely changed a word.  The hardest part of seeing others rewrite and cut my work was the fact that many were untalented hacks whose producing and directing I had no respect for.  I someone like Spielberg altered one of my scripts, that would be an entirely different story.  However, this ultimately became the reason why I stopped writing for other people.

GM: What always amazes me is that you’re a man of many hats, not only do you write but you direct and do special effects. Which do you enjoy the most?

KJH: I came here to be a filmmaker.  To me, that encompasses writing, directing, and producing.  Doing FX and design work is creatively rewarding but not to the same degree.  I am thankful I have those skills and my company, which has helped me survive through the years.

GM: Tell us some memorable stories working on the 1986 cult film “Critters” along with the Chiodo Brothers?

KJH:  It was my first time working for the Chiodo Bros., who I had known socially.  The space we were working in reached 110 degrees on certain days and everyone’s tempers were flaring. 
Towards the end of the build, I believe it was Robert Shaye who suggested one of the Critters grow larger and I was chosen to fabricated the suit.  They auditioned numerous little people for it, which gave me a chance to Meet Angelo Rossito, who had been in Tod Browning’s FREAKS and, much more recently, MAD MAX: BEYOND THUNDERDOME.

GM: Did you get to keep any critters?

KJH: I visited the location where they had built the entire farmhouse  from the ground up but I did not work set on that show.  Even if I had, I doubt if I’d been able to take home one of the puppets.

GM:  You also formed TOTAL FABRICATION in 1995. Which project has been the most fun to work on?

KJH: It’s impossible to narrow it down to one, unless I include THE HALWAY HOUSE, which was my movie that we built the creature for.  Otherwise, it’s been nice to work with returning clients, such as Wheel of Fortune, Miley Cyrus, Blizzard Entertainment, and Sony PlayStation, because you know they already like what we do and know what to expect.

GM: Charles Band has recently come under some fire lately for various things. What was he like to work with and what impression did he give you when you starting working for him?

KJH: I have no idea what has surfaced recently.  Let’s just say I was never fond of dealing with him on a business level, which is something that seems to have remained constant about him over the years.

GM: Tell us about the day you shot your cameo for the film Gingerdead Man 2: Passion of the Crust?

KJH: My old friend Billy Butler directed and co-wrote that movie.  It was a total spoof of what it was like making movies at Empire and Full Moon and I was delighted to be a part of it.  Not only did I get to chew the scenery in makeup and wardrobe that made me look like Ming the Merciless, but I got to work with old friends like John  Carl Buechler, Mike Deak, and Michelle Bauer.

GM: If you were asked to either write, direct (or both) another Puppetmaster movie or a reboot for that matter, would you?

KJH: I would not want to do one of the sequels on the budget level Charlie is making them at now.  If someone else were to come along a do a big-budget remake, I’d be interested.

GM: What’s been the most surreal moment working in the film industry?

KJH:  Jesus, there are so many to choose from.  Working on a Hardee’s commercial comes to mind when Joe Griffo, a little person dress as the Happy Star, was dancing on a giant flaming grill set with six showgirls dressed in 4-foot diameter hamburger costumes danced around the perimeter to “Disco Inferno.”  To this day, I can’t hear that song without thinking of that dat.

GM: Finally to come full circle what advice would YOU give fans that want to get into the film business?

KJH: Frist, be sure that this is the only thing you’d be happy doing.  If it’s not, for god’s sake, do something else.  Once you get started, prepare for a lifetime of ups and downs where you will sometimes need to find alternate ways of paying your bills.  Be nice to everyone you meet.  You never know who they are or who they will become.  Be aggressive without being an asshole.  Then, whatever you do, don’t give up.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Around The World In Widescreen By William O Donnell

Around The World in Widescreen

My good friend Gorehound Mike seems to have a lock on coverage and reviews of the US/Australian/

English speaking countries’ wild, weird, and wonderfully wacky films, so he asked me to do a column for

him about the world-wide weird and wonderfully wacky cinema masterpieces.

This time around, a classic fantasy adventure from Indonesia rubs shoulders with a more recent

scatological Japanese take on the undead.

“The Devil’s Sword” (1984) – Director Ratno Timoer, Starring Barry Prima

This masterpiece of Indonesian bargain-basement filmmaking, no doubt inspired by the stream

of sword-and-sorcery movies seeing release in the USA and Europe, features at its core a loose

interpretation of the Javanese legend South Seas Queen, here known as the Crocodile Queen (portrayed

by Gudi Sintara). This queen demands sacrifices from the local villages, young, virile men to satisfy her

urges, and sends her lead warrior Banyunjaga (Advent Bangun) to crash a wedding party to procure a

groom. The heroic Mandala (Barry Prima), passing through, becomes embroiled in the struggle—

*sigh* So much for an attempt to provide a legitimate synopsis of the plot. It becomes so completely

bonkers from the beginning that any sort of linear analysis can be frustrating. Gory special effects-
laden fight scenes, a rock outcropping seeing use as a flying surfboard, “crocodile men,” (when you see

them, you’ll understand the quotation marks), a wind tunnel parasol, a deadly “Flying Guillotine“-esque

hat, arguably the worst movie monster ever fabricated, death ray duels, a killer scarf, and the titular

sword which Prima’s character Mandala and the kidnapped groom’s bride-to-be, who screenwriter

Imam Tantowi apparently forgot to name but is played by Enny Christina, somehow wind up on a

quest to retrieve, if the rival mystical warriors who fight over it don’t get to it first. Will the mystically

powered Devil’s Sword be enough for Mandala and What’s Her Name to defeat the Crocodile Queen

and Banyunjaga? It doesn’t matter, but you’ll have a great time finding out. If bizarre trashy world

cinema is your thing, this slice of crazy bad-tertainment should satisfy your tastes.

“Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead” (2011) – Director Noboru Iguchi, starring Arisa Nakamura

From taste to no taste, this film from the director of “Dead Sushi” (which is tame by comparison), and

the “F is for Fart” segment of The ABCs of Death, will single-handledly raise the “bananas” bar almost

impossibly high. This movie is less concerned with red stuff than (ick) brown stuff, as five kids go on a

fishing trip of some sort. Schoolgirl outfitted karate expert Megumi, full-figured model Maki, geeky Joey

Ramone-a-like Naoi, brainy girl Aya, and her drug-addled boyfriend Take seem to not do a lot of fishing,

as they’re too busy finding an intestinal parasite for Maki to ingest for weight loss purposes (!). After she

swallows one down, she quickly develops an urgent need for a toilet. She finds an outhouse, in which

she is attacked from below by an excrement-covered zombie, who begins throwing the waste at the

main characters. The zombie is joined in no time by other zombies, so our main characters must dodge

the zombies, the anal parasites that create them, and figure out the ulterior motives of a biologist with

sketchy motives. If you liked “Dreamcatcher,” but you thought it wasn’t anal-centric enough, this ought

to hit the mark just fine.

There’s plenty of kung-fu action, ass-backward crab-walking zombies, multiple disgusting bodily

functions, a better story than one might expect (it might not sound that way, but believe it), and a “big

boss” videogame-styled duel at the end, in which the final survivor utilizes farts as a propulsion system,

leads right into an ending with leaves this ‘Zombie Ass” wide open for a sequel.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Halfway House: B monster flick meets "Reform School Girls" And Yes it rules!

Title: The Halfway House

Director: Kenneth J.Hall

Ever wondered what would happen if a mad scientist crossed a Roger Corman B-Monster film with "Reform School Girls" and added a pitch of John Waters DNA for good measure. Well wonder no long for Kenneth J Halls "The Halfway House" is just that.

And my friends its a sight to behold....

Young troubled girls gone missing at Mary Magdalen Halfway House. The sister of one such girl Larissa is convinced that more is going in in Mary Magdalens Halfway house then just praying. With the aid of her hunky cop friend Sgt.Dick Sheen (Shawn Savage) she plans to discover the mystery surrounding her sisters disappearance. Little does she know the secrets held by Sister Cecelia (Mary Woronov) are far more terrifying and sexy then she could ever have imagined!

Halfway House is the kind of film I love, it knows what it is and doesn't try to be any more or any less. Its a low budget sex and gore romp yet is cleverly written BUT doesn't over try either. It reminds me of the glory days of Empire/Full Moon which is rather fitting as Ken Hall Jr is Empire/Full Moon royalty having written Puppet Master hands down the most famous thing Full Moon ever produced. Here he writes the perfect love letter to early Corman drive inn films yet updates it with more gore and nudity with its tongue firmly planted in cheek. As I stated above this film is also akin to a women in prison film only the "inmates" are troubled youth, but the formula is still similar.  Sure its over the top and a lot of scenery is in danger of falling apart from being chewed but it fits so well with the modern Cormansque style. I love the spanking scenes between the girls and Father Fogerty played by Joseph Tatner. This is where the outrageous Waters element comes into play.

Lets now talk about the cast. Janet Keijser gives a decent performance, the in joke is shes well past being a troubled "youth", but she makes it work. Shawn Savage (great porn name) also does a good acting up, but its cult star Mary Woronov that really steals the show. First off I have a lot of love for this actress whose been in some epic cult films like Death Race 2000,Eating R, Chopping Mall etc. Shes wonderful and gives an already good movie a huge boost.

But not to be out down is Cleve Hall whose role of Lutkus the pantie sniffing pervert is great. His pairing with Mary is genius and the two play well off each other. The sexy vixen Stephaine Leighs heats up the screen as Cherry Pie and with the right breaks could be the new sex kitten in the vein of Erin Brown (Misty Mundae) Leighs is a special effect even Total Fabrication (Kens effects company) couldn't conjure up. Speaking of effects, the gore is pretty good with a nice beheading among other things and the monster is both great and cheesy in the spirit of the Corman vibe.

While Halfway House does not break new ground, its perfect send up of B-monster movies and outrageous underground camp makes this a must see.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Around the World in Widescreen by William O Donnell

Around The World in Widescreen

My good friend Gorehound Mike seems to have a lock on coverage and reviews of the US/Australian/

English speaking countries’ wild, weird, and wonderfully wacky films, so he asked me to do a column for

him about the world-wide weird and wonderfully wacky cinema masterpieces.

“The Deathless Devil/Tarkan Vs. The Vikings”

Mondo Macabro, those ever-reliable peddlers of cinematic oddities , provide us with this pop cinema

double feature straight out of Turkey for your viewing pleasure.

The Deathless Devil (1973) is based on a Turkish comic book series featuring the masked superhero

known as Copperhead, and his battles against the mysterious Doctor Satan. Copperhead closely

resembles a Mexican wrestler, and he seems a little glittery for a superhero, but maybe that’s a cultural

issue less accessible for Western movie viewers. The film is lovingly restored, and the action sequences

are competently staged and shot. Doctor Satan’s robot (after all, what megalomaniacal evil genius

doesn’t have a robot?) doesn’t look credible at all, but that’s fine. What’s not fine, however, is the

“comic relief” character Bitik. Cultural differences or no, the buffoon who’s inexplicably clad in Sherlock

Holmes drag for a long portion of the movie, supplies groans, not laughs.

Tarkan Vs. The Vikings (1971) is based on a comic series featuring a barbarian character evocative of

Robert E. Howard’s Conan. It‘s a wacky, way-out swords and sandals movie from a decidedly non-
Western perspective. The titular hero must take revenge on his slain dog and save Attila the Hun’s

daughter from the Vikings before they feed her to the not-even-close-to-authentic looking giant

octopus that follows them. Are the action sequences fun to watch? Yes, they are. Is the dialogue

clunky and tin-eared? Of course it is! Does the mighty Tarkan avenge his best friend, save the girl, and

kill the bad guys?

 Both of these are a great watch, relics from the ‘70s, a fun bit of Turkish Delight for the eyeballs.