CANNON MONTH: Treasure of the Four Crowns (1983)

You can write this movie off as a ripoff of Raiders of the Lost Ark — and it is, right down to the scene with the boulder — but come on. It has an Ennio Morricone score, is a spiritual sequel to Comin’ At Ya! and most importantly it’s in 3D.

Made in “SuperVision” and “WonderVision,” the film was actually shot using the Marks 3-Depix Converter, the same camera that had been used for Friday the 13th Part III. This system stacked its Techniscope-sized left and right images one above the other on a single band of 35mm film. It was projection using the Polarator projection attachment offered by the Marks Polarized Corporation, allowing the audience to watch the film through color-neutral linear polarizers, a system that lead actor Tony Anthony may have invented.

J.T. Striker (Anthony) has been hired to assemble a group of professional thieves to take two of the gems that will open the last two Mystical Crowns. To get there, he’s going to make your eyes hurt with pop out skeletons, the soldiers of Brother Jonas (Emiliano Redondo) and tons of booby traps which pretty much wipe out everyone in his team, which includes the drunken Rick (Jerry Lazarus, who is also in Cannon’s Hot Chili), a dying circus strongman named Socrates (Francisco Rabal, Nightmare City) and his daughter Liz (Ana Obregón, who was Catalina in another Cannon movie we’ll be getting to soon, Bolero).

Roger Ebert himself broke down what gets thrown at the viewing in this one: “knives, spears, darts, bones, jeweled daggers, balls of fire, laser beams, boulders, ropes, attack dogs, bats, shards of stained glass, a set of dishes, a large kettle, a stove, a corpse, a python snake, an empty glove, birds (both real and artificial), arrows, unidentifiable glowing objects shot from guns, keys, letter openers, several human heads, skeletons, large sections of an exploding castle, one bottle of booze and assorted spoons.”

This movie doesn’t tease you with its 3D. It punches you right in the face with it.

By the end of the movie, Striker has the other gems and his ead spins around, gets all burned up and he starts shooting fire out of his hands melting all of the bad guys, then a giant sludge monster jumps out of a swamp and right into your lap, teasing a sequel that never came, as well as a space 3D movie that was announced, Seeing is Believing.

Director Ferdinando Baldi also made BlindmanDjango, Prepare a CoffinGet MeanWarbus and Ten Zan: The Ultimate Mission, all deliriously strange movies that I wholeheartedly recommend.

Perhaps most amazingly, both Francisco Rabal and Emiliano Redondo are in Pedro Almodóvar’s Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, so the Spanish film industry really does come together to make a movie.

Kino Lorber is releasing this on blu ray soon and I could not be more excited.

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