I’m so excited for everything that Cauldron Films is putting out. Every release has been so good but their pre-Thanksgiving announcement is packed with three incredible releases, as well as Kill Butterfly Kill, the first release from new label Neon Eagle.
There are also great deals on everything else they’ve released so far!
Here’s what I’m so excited about, the three new releases. Click on any title to purchase.
Convoy Busters: Maurizio Merli (Violent Naples and The Cynic, The Rat, and The Fist) is busted down from Homicide to Emergency Squad. Despite his demotion, he is not content with letting Rome’s criminal element run rampant and his violent nature soon finds him the target of both the press and the local mob. After a bloody attempt on his life, he is transferred to a quiet coastal town to run a local department but, never one to leave things alone, he quickly finds a dangerous smuggling ring is using the cover of the sea and darkness to run their operations in his sleepy district.
Shanghai Joe: According to the Spaghetti Western Database, lead actor Chen Lee may have been a Japanese karate instructor, but according to director Mario Caiano (Eye In the Labyrinth), he worked in a laundry, not in a dojo, and was picked because he looked like a young Dustin Hoffman. Some think his real name was Mioshini Hayakawa, which is Japanese, not Chinese. That said, if that being racist — not knowing the difference between two countries nearly 1,900 miles away from one another — then this movie is not for you.
Seriously, nearly every race gets denigrated in this movie audibly and physically. Luckily, Shanghai Joe ends up killing every single offender.
Also — the Bruno Nicolai music — recycled from Have a Good Funeral, My Friend… Sartana Will Pay — is so good you’ll want to stick around for the whole movie.
Shanghai — or Chin Hao — has come to this country and instead of finding whatever it is he’s looking for — he has tattoos much like Kwai Chang Caine — he’s found that aforementioned racism and a love interest in Cristina (Carla Romanelli, Fenomenal and the Treasure of Tutankamen, The Lonely Lady).
Our hero’s skills as a fighting man make their way to cattle rancher Stanley Spencer (Piero Lulli, Kill, Baby…Kill!), who is really enslaving Mexicans to do his work. That means that the bad guys decide to kill him, but none of them can get it done.
Spencer ends up hiring four different killers, much like video game bosses, to do his work for him. There’s Tricky the Gambler (Giacomo Rossi Stuart, The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave), Pedro the Cannibal (Robert Hundar, Sabata), Buryin’ Sam (Gordon Mitchell, who improvised and sang the song “Chin-Chin Chinaman” while carrying a shovel to try to kill Shanghai) and Scalper Jack (an astonishing Klaus Kinski, who is obsessed with hair and you genuinely fear for the life of Romanelli in their scene).
Finally, Mikuja, the only person who has the same martial arts technique and tattoo as our hero, is hired to kill him. Their battle may not be a fight on the order of a Shaw Brothers technical battle, but it’s still fun.
This movie is incredibly strange, because every time I thought it was going to be normal, it would go from slapstick to our hero plucking out a bad guy’s eye and blood spraying all over the place. It’s closer to a horror film set in the West with martial arts than a straight-up Italian Western, but it’s better for that difference.
Frankenstein ’80: Dr. Otto Frankenstein works in his lab all day and to the normal daytime world, he seems like an ordinary doctor. But at night, he works on perfecting his own form of life, Mosiac, putting together this inhuman human from several dead bodies. Then, once completed, Mosiac repays him by killing him and we still have an hour left.
Directed by Mario Mancini (who was the cinematographer for Frankenstein’s Castle of Freaks and The Girl in Room 2A), this is a film featuring real surgical footage, nonsensical dialogue and a total lack of plot. Suffice to say I loved it.
Mosiac spends the rest of the movie replacing his constantly failing organs, which means that he must murder and murder and murder some more. Have you ever wondered, “What if someone used a giant leg bone to kill someone?” this would be the movie that answers your inquest.
Also, in whatever nameless city in some unknown country that this is supposed to be set in, possibly Germany, the women in the night have no issues with a gigantic monster in a leather Nazi-esque outfit picking them up with merely a few grunts. No money discussion — he kills them way before they tell him how much a half and half costs.
This movie was inspired by Italian horror, sex and gore comics, like Oltretomba. If you’re offended by the blood and guts and books of this film, consider this a stern warning: avoid these comics at all costs. They take it even further. And then further. And then some.
There’s a new blu ray of this that’s been released — the film is in public domain — that finally fixes the rough prints that are out there right now. It’s nearly impossible to find, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop looking. For all the foibles of this film, it has a certain something.
As a bonus, here’s some artwork that I did of the film.