NEW WORLD PICTURES MONTH: Cries and Whispers (1972)

How did this site come to have an Ingmar Bergman movie about four women dealing with cancer on it?

Roger Corman.

After nearly every film distributor in America rejected this movie — Bergman had only asked for an advance of $75,000 — New World Pictures bought it for $150,000 and spent an additional $80,000 to market it. It made a million dollar profit and was Bergman’s biggest American film ever.

Agnes (Harriet Andersson) is in the final stage of uterine cancer and her maid Anna (Kari Sylwan) and sisters Maria (Liv Ullmann) and Karin (Ingrid Thulin) have gathered. It’s hard for Anna, who has lost a daughter yet she has stronger faith than the sisters. This allows her to be more comfort to Agenes, while Maria is dealing with the fact that the man who broke up her marriage, David (Erland Josephson) is the doctor of her dying sister. So while

Both she and Karin have had their issues with men, as the affair with David led to Anna’s husband stabbing himself, an act close to what Karin did, stabbing herself in the genitals to avoid her husband’s touch. At the end, as the women deal with the death of their friend or sister, the best they can hope to have would be memories of one day.

There are many themes here, depending on what you wish to see. Bergman claimed it was influenced by dreams as a young child and his feelings about his mother. The four women can all be seen as one aspect of her. He also believed that this movie was as far as he could go in cinema, saying “I touched wordless secrets that only the cinema can discover.”

Is it about the Bible? The way women explore the world? Gender roles? Myth existing within the actual world? All of those things?

I’m just still amazed that somehow a Bergman movie ended up on this site next to all the Jess Franco and Dario Argento movies.


EDITOR’S NOTE: This was first on the site on March 18, 2018.

The basic story of Bone is simple: a rich couple deals with a home invasion. But this movie has Larry Cohen at the helm, so it’s going to be anything but basic. The man who is there to take them for everything soon learns that the couple is anything but rich. And they’re anything but happy.

Bernadette (Joyce Van Patten, St. Elmo’s FireGrown Ups) and Bill (Andrew Duggan, In Like FlintIt Lives Again) are a seemingly rich Beverly Hills couple. Bill’s a used car salesman who feels that he’s the only one working hard, symbolized by his wife refusing to even getting up to answer the phone while he cleans the pool. Then, a rat gets stuck in the drain. That’s what brings Bone (Yaphet Kotto, AlienLive and Let Die) into their lives.

Mistaking him for an exterminator, they ask him to pull the rat out. He does and instead of hiding it from them, he confronts them with it. He then takes them hostage as he goes through their home looking for money.

It turns out that the couple has little in liquid assets and is deeply in debt. Their son may be in Vietnam or he may be in jail. And it turns out Bill has a secret bank account that Bernadette knows nothing about. Bone commands him to clean out that account and bring him the money in an hour or he’ll rape and kill his wife.

Bill ends up taking his time as he realizes how little he loves his wife. He drinks with a lady (Brett Sommers from TV’s Match Game) that explains how her husband died from too many dental x-rays. Soon, he’s been seduced by a young girl (Elaine May’s daughter Jeannie Berlin, The Heartbreak KidInherent Vice) who steals from the system, attracted to her offbeat ways and youthful spirit.

He comes home without the money. But meanwhile, after learning how to make eggs — she doesn’t cook anymore — Bernadette and Bone have gotten drunk and ended up on the couch together. He explains to her how raping white women and the black mystique used to take him so far, but today, black and white love is commonplace. What started as him continually saying he was going to rape her has turned and she begins to seduce him, kissing him and “doing all the work.” He talks about how black men have trouble now making love and she tells him that it’s not just black men.

After they bond, Bernadette tries to convince Bone to help her murder Bill for his insurance. They ride the bus to the end of the line, then chase Bill to the beach. He tries to win them over with a used car pitch to keep him alive, but Bernadette smothers and kills him. Bone realizes that he wants nothing to do with this life and leaves.

On Cohen’s website, the characters in this film are broken down by how they relate to the world: Bill is The Establishment who may be open to change. Bernadette is liberation and feminism that has been held down. The X-Ray Lady is the real Establishment, the old guard ready to die off. The Girl is the hippy love generation already giving way to the darkness of the 70’s. Then there’s Bone — facing racism but willing to play with it to get what he wants, as he says, “I’m just a big bad buck, ready to do what’s expected of him.” He even talks about how he’s held onto the past, enjoying his part of the world of racism because it was easier and there was a role. Now, in this new world, he doesn’t know who to be.

The character work in this film is superb. Witness the scene where the girl explains to Bill how she was raped as a child and that’s why she’s attracted to old men like him. Even when he tries to connect with her by telling her about the Street & Smith pulps he bought as a kid, she still tries to connect him to the rapist who took her virginity as she begins to make love to him.

If I didn’t say it yet, Yaphet Kotto is fucking amazing in this movie. His performance is quite literally a tour de force. He’s always great in everything he’s in, but in this film, he’s transcendent. I also love that he borrowed Cohen’s red sweater for a scene late in the movie and never returned it.

Amazingly, this was Cohen’s first film. It’s assured and poised, straddling the line between art film and exploitation.

NEW WORLD PICTURES MONTH: The Big Bird Cage (1972)

I always say, “This movie has an all star cast” and often I mean, “It has an all star cast for me.” This would be one of those times, but man, look at this cast:

Anitra Ford, forever Laura from Messiah of Evil.

Pam Grier, taking her third trip into WIP hell for New World.

Sid Haig, as always making movies better just by being in them.

You can say the same for Vic Diaz.

And Carol Speed, Abby herself!

Grier and Haig play Blossom and Django, fun loving criminals and radical guerillas who kidnap Terry (Ford) during one of their crime sprees and get her sent up to a jungle prison hell. The kind of jungle prison that has a big dangerous device for processing sugar that keeps claiming the lives — life is cheap in a Jack Hill directed and written movie — of the inmates.

The script gets flipped when Diaz plays a gay guard and Haig has to seduce him to start the big jailbreak. But can Terry forgive Blossom and Django? Or will there be a reckoning once they escape the bamboo bars of the Bird Bird Cage?

Other prisoners include Candice Roman (The CultUnholy Rollers) as Carla, who seemingly will bed anyone; Speed is a sex worker; Marissa Delgado is losing her mind; Ted Bracci (The Centerfold GirlsHuman Experiments) makes with the jokes and Karen McKevic plays the six foot butch.

Beyond Ford being hung by her hair in this movie — that has to be someone’s fetish — she is dropped off at a cove in the beginning of the film that was also used in Apocalypse Now. As for Hill, he’d follow this movie by making two starring roles for Grier: Coffy and Foxy Brown.

NEW WORLD PICTURES MONTH: Night Call Nurses (1972)

Jonathan Kaplan’s directing career took him from Truck Turner and this movie to Heart Like A WheelThe Accused and Brokedown Palace. Recommended to Roger Corman by Martin Scorsese, he made one of the many nurses movies that New World Pictures released.

Written by George Armitage and Danny Opatoshu, NIght Call Nurses follows the formula or so it seems, introducing three student nurses: Janis (Alana Stewart, who was also Alana Hamilton, as she was married to both Rod and George once), Sandra (Mittie Lawrence, The New Centurions) and Barbara (Patty Byrne, Fuzz). The script changes early as this starts with a suicidal jumper and has each of the girls deal with the hospital’s inefficiency, racism and sexism as their stories unfold. Sandra falls for a trucker hooked on speed. Barbara breaks a radical named Samson (Stack Pierece) out. And Sandra gets caught up in a free love cult.

Nearly every man in this movie is horrible, from Dick Miller’s sleazy truck driver and Dr. Bramlett (Clint Kimbrough) to Dennis Dugan as a transvestite nurse who is stalking the girls and isn’t afraid to carry a meat cleaver. The free love encounter group also has Lyllah Torena (Fly Me) and Dixie Peabody (Bury Me an Angel) in it.

This was the first film produced by Julie Corman. In Crab Monsters, Teenage Cavemen and Candy Stripe Nurses – Roger Corman: King of the B Movie, Kaplan said, “I’d never seen a Nurses movie. Corman laid out the formula. I had to find a role for Dick Miller, show a Bulova watch and use a Jensen automobile in the film. And he explained that there would be three nurses: a blonde, a brunette, and a nurse of color; that the nurse of color would be involved in a political subplot, the brunette would be involved in the kinky subplot, and the blonde would be the comedy subplot. The last thing he said was “There will be nudity from the waist up, total nudity from behind, and no pubic hair.” Now get to work!” He soon figured out that all he had to do was “deliver the nudity, the thrills, the kinkiness, and the comedy, that had become Roger’s trademark — and I did.”

I mean, it’s hard to hate a movie with the tagline “It’s always harder at night.”


After Angels Hard As They Come, Joe Viola and Jonathan Demme went to the Philippines to make this women in prison film. This time, nurses Bunny (Andrea Cagan, who went from acting to ghostwriting memoirs for Pam Grier, Grace Slick and Diana Ross), Lynn (Margaret Markov, Run, Angel, Run!), Ellie (Rickey Richardson, Bonnie’s Kids) and Sue (Laurie Rose, The Wizard of Speed and Time) are kidnapped by resistance fighters and asked to teach them medicine. They escape, get taken by the even worse corrupt government the guerrillas are up against and now we have a New World Pictures movie.

Unlike so many other WIP films, there’s not as much assault in this, so it has that going for it. However, it’s more like they tried to sneak in some lessons about politics instead of making an exploitation movie. It’s a noble thought, but when you call your movie The Hot Box and have a poster with a topless woman —  other than bullets covering her — in cutoffs blasting a machine gun, you expect something else.

That something else would be Caged Heat, which Demme would get to direct after Corman saw how well he did on second unit for this movie.

You can watch this on Tubi.


Io Monaca… per tre Carogne e Sette Peccatrici (The Crucified Girls of San Ramon) was an Italian women in prison movie directed by Ernst Ritter von Theumer (Jungle WarriorsIsland of the Doomed), who co-wrote it with Sergio Garrone (SS Experiment CampThe Hand That Feeds the DeadDjango the Bastard).

Roger Corman brought it to the U.S., cut out twenty minutes and renamed it The Big Bust-Out.

A bunch of female prisoners get a work release in a convent and easily overpower their guards and go on the run. To make sure that God stays with them, Sister Maria (Monica Teuber) follows along. This entails them all being sold into white slavery — Gordon Mitchell being the villainous El Kadir who buys them and William Berger being the one who sells them — and saved by Jeff (Tony Kendall), a boat captain.

But El Kadir and his men won’t give up, chasing the women for the entire film. One of his men, a small man with a whip, lashes Vonetta McGee from The Great Silence at one point. It’s certainly wild, but at best you can say it’s all over the place. The North Africa — I believe — shooting locations look great and this movie has the kind of cast and material that makes me think Jess Franco should have been involved.

NEW WORLD PICTURES MONTH: The Final Comedown (1972)

Oscar Williams wrote and directed Death DrugHot Potato and Black Belt Jones — and wrote Truck Turner, which is absolutely incredible — as well as this film, which explores white on black racism and a shootout between a radical black nationalist group — look, it’s the Black Panthers but even Roger Corman wasn’t going to go that far — and the cops. Meanwhile, we learn how the radicalized Johnny (Billy Dee Williams) got that way, as well as how things went off the rails with his white girlfriend Renee (Celia Kaye, who played “woman in tub” in Rattlers and like that movie’s tagline says, “What a horrible way to die!”; she later married John Milius and is in Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark) after he meets her racist dad (R.G. Armstrong, who beyond getting to be the Sandman in Metallica’s video for “Enter Sandman,” R.G. also played Pruneface in Dick Tracy, Uncle Lewis on Friday the 13th: The Series, man I could just fill your eyeballs with roles that R.G. played). There’s so much more that takes him into fighting cops, because the hood’s so bad that rats are stealing the dolls of baby girls and Johnny’s mom being forced to work as a maid for white people.

Sooner than later, white cops are having their guts sprayed all over brick walls and Johnny’s not doing to well himself, passing out due to his own wounds. It also has D’Urville Martin, who would go on to direct Dolemite, and a score by Motown arranger/producer Wade Marcus and guitarist Grant Gree. There’s also a post-lovemaking scene where Johnny tells the hippy Renne, “By the time you hit thirty, you’re gonna drop back in, ‘cause you didn’t do nothin but talk that brotherhood, love and peace. You didn’t change nothing.”

Once Billy Dee Williams became a big name in Lady Sings the Blues — and not yet before he’d become Lando — Corman decided to re-release this with some more exciting footage, more D’Urville Martin and more direction from Frank Arthur Wilsonunder the name Blast! Frank Arthur Wilson is really Alan Arkush.

Sure, this is heavy handed, but when you realize that all of the problems that existed in 1972 still exist in 2023, well, maybe it needs to be that way.

You can watch this on Tubi.

NEW WORLD PICTURES MONTH: The Water Margin (1972)

Also known as Outlaws of the Marsh and Seven Blows Of The Dragon, this Shaw Brothers movie was directed by Chang Cheh and tells the story of the 108 Heroes. The book that it is based on is considered one of the masterpieces of Chinese literature, containing many of its most beloved characters like Wu Song, Lin Chong, Pan Jinlian, Song Jiang and Lu Zhishen. It even has an influence on Japanese literature.

This movie starts by introducing nearly every single member of the Honorable 108, a group of mountain bandits who live by a code of honor and who have also pledged to return freedom to the people. This movie is just a few chapters of the overall story, so of course it can get confusing and who could remember all of those names, unless they were super invested in the source material?

This part of the story — chapters 64 to 68 of the one hundred chapters in the novel — is about Yen Ching the Wanderer and how the 108 Heroes — still the Outlaws of Mount Liangshan — comes to join and also how his mentor Lu Jun-yi gets framed by sinister fighting machine Shi Wen-gong, who is working for the Chinese government.

Two years later — it was filmed at the same time but censorship reared its head and it took some time to get all the gore past the government — the sequel All Men Are Brothers has the Imperial Court offering to erase all of the crimes of the 108 if they stop an invading army from taking over China.

Speaking of gore, Yen Ching gets revenge against his mentor’s traitorous wife Lady Chia by punching her through the stomach. After all, she got bored because her husband was such a good person and she set him up to add some excitement to her life.

The music in this movie is incredible, like some kind of prog rock organ jam out which doesn’t match the period time of this film, but when it’s this good, who cares? The opening introduction of each character is the kind of thing I watch again and again.

New World Pictures brought this to the U.S., but not before cutting a third of the movie, having the Shaw Brothers shoot an additional sex scene and recording a new narration.

NEW WORLD PICTURES MONTH: Burke and Hare (1972)

William Burke and William Hare killed sixteen people over ten months, scandalizing Scotland when it was discovered that they had sold the corpses to anatomist and ethnologist Robert Knox for dissection during his anatomy lectures. Their story of these “resurrection men” inspired so many movies, including The Body SnatcherHorror ManiacsThe Flesh and the FiendsThe Doctor and the Devils and 2010s Burke and Hare.

Where this movie differs is that director Vernon Sewell (Curse of the Crimson AltarThe Blood Beast Terror) tries to combine comedy, horror and lots of sex in his attempt to be different than what came before, including having nearly a sitcom theme song for the antics, which was written by Roger Webb with lyrics by Norman Newell, and performed by English comedy/musical trio The Scaffold (with uncredited vocal assistance by Vivian Stanshall).

Burke (Derren Nesbitt) and Hare(Glynn Edwards) live in filth, drinking away their days while rich doctors do the same, yet live in comfort. What they have in common are the brothels, places where they can escape duty and wives and just have no strings sex. Dr. Knox (Harry Andrews) is in need of hanging victims for his students to experiment on and for him to slice apart while he lectures. He hires the two to get these bodies and the authorities kind of let it pass, as after all society needs doctors.

When fresh bodies in their graves start to run out, the two start killing poor people that will never be missed and many of whom are already close to death. Yet the demand still is more than the supply, which means that they start killing people who just might be missed, like sex worker Marie (Françoise Pascal from Rollin’s The Iron Rose!). As if Pascal isn’t enough, Yutte Stensgaard (Carmilla herself from Lust for a Vampire) appears.

It’s not the definitive story of these grave robbers, but it’s still kind of bawdy fun. The sets look nice and man, that theme song!

NEW WORLD PICTURES MONTH: Night of the Cobra Woman (1972)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This was originally on the site on January 10, 2020.

Roger Corman wasn’t happy with the end results of this film, which was shot in the Philippines, but man, he has no idea. This is my kind of insane movie, where a movie leaves his woman for, well, a cobra woman who keeps him alive by pimping out his native lover who draws venom from the men that she kills.

Andrew Meyer only wrote and directed one other film, The Sky Pirate, which is a shame because this movie is pretty much insane. It has snake murders, an air of filth and women ruining lives. Is there anything else you can put in a movie?

How about Joy Bang? You know and love her from Messiah of Evil and she’s here, looking gorgeous. She’s the former girlfriend of Stan Duff (Roger Garrett, who got a poultry infection while making this movie!), who has now found love in the arms of Lena (Marlene Clark from Ganja & HessBeware the Blob and Switchblade Sisters), the cobra woman herself.

Vic Diaz, who was Satan in Beast of the Yellow Night, also shows up. Quentin Tarantino would refer to Vic as the Peter Lorre of the Philippines, a title he earned in appearances in movies like Beyond AtlantisBlack Mama White MamaSuperbeastDaughters of Satan and Raw Force.