Junesploitation 2022: Miami Golem (1985)

June 16: Junesploitation’s topic of the day — as suggested by F This Movie— is 80s action! We’re excited to tackle a different genre every day, so check back and see what’s next.

I have no idea what genre this movie is and I’ll bet it has no idea either. It is an example of one of my favorite microgenre: Italian filmmakers in America, further subset Italian filmmakers in Florida*.

Alberto De Martino doesn’t get mentioned in the same conversation as Argento or Fulci. He’s not even in the Lenzi, Martino or Deodato world either. But he did direct The Antichrist and Holocaust 2000, two examples of the Xerox 70s occult boom that I have a particular fondness for. And he also made the shot in Canada poliziotteschi/giallo hybrid Strange Shadows In an Empty Room, which is a movie more people should watch and the downright weird superhero film The Pumaman. Also — and how can I forget this — he made the wildest Eurospy movie, Operation Kid Brother, which uses Sean Connery’s kid brother and everyone else that has ever been in a Bond film, daring Cubby Brocoli to repeat the violence — and yes, murder allegedly — that he unleashed on Ted Healy.

For as oddball and quite frankly daffy as Miami Golem is, it has quite a pedigree when it comes to who wrote it: Gianfranco Clerici (The New York Ripper, Cannibal Holocaust) and Vincenzo Mannino (House on the Edge of the ParkMurder Rock).

De Martino was also smart to cast David Warbeck and Laura Trotter as the leads. If I had my way, this would say “The stars of The Beyond and Nightmare City are back together for the first time!”

Warbeck is Craig Milford, a local reporter sent to a college — let’s assume it’s the University of Miami — to interview a professor cloning a cell from DNA that was found inside a meteorite. This seems like the worst of ideas, but you know how movie science works. As Milford leaves, gunmen break in, kill everyone and take the alien cells. They start erasing anyone who knows anything about the experiment and as that includes Milford, he goes on the run.

Somehow, Milford becomes our backwoods planet’s only savior as telekinetic businessman Anderson (John Ireland, who was in great stuff like Spartacus and Red River but I know him as King Arthur from Waxwork II: Lost in Time) wants to use that alien DNA, which is already growing into a quite honestly freaking me out looking alien fetus. He has help from another psychic extraterrestrial, Joanna Fitzgerald (Trotter), who he of course is going to do some reading under the covers with just as my wife walks in, angrily looks at the TV and says, “Why does this happen all the time in Italian movies?” and “That woman’s body hair is upsetting.”

The aliens left a message on the videotape for Milford that the alien baby is bad, baby, and we’re going to have to do something about it. That means that we’re going to watch Milford get launched around a room by a tentacled fetus, which I had no idea just how much I’d love. Also, by aliens, I mean that they are ghosts and one of them is just a big giant hand.

Between the score by Detto Mariano that approximates Harold Faltermeyer’s “Axel F” and Jan Hammer’s synth beats**, this movie’s title — and alternative version Miami Horror — are supposed to make us think Crockett and Tubbs. De Martino going by the name Martin Herbert is also supposed to fool us into thinking this is an American movie. Thankfully, it is deliriously Italian, filled with swamp boats, assassins and conspiracy. It makes a great double feature for the similarly goofball UFO quasi-gialo Eyes Behind the Stars.

Compounding the fact that this is an action movie is that the poster has three helicopters and an airboat all racing away from a gigantic explosion while Werbeck holds a revolver and a woman who is not in this movie in any way wears an outfit that Vampirella would think is kind of uncomfortable.

Also: Werbeck shoots a helicopter out of the air with a handgun, the kind of lunacy that only Jack Nicholson in whiteface gets away with.

*Further Italy via Miami examples include: Miami SupercopsCut and RunAmerican RickshawCruel JawsSuper FuzzAladdin and Nightmare Beach.

**The ripoff music in this movie was ironically reused — ripped off — for The Killer is Still Among Us.

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