…a tutte le auto della polizia… (1975)

Whether you watch this as Calling All Police Cars or Without Trace, this is a movie that reminds us that men have always wanted to own the choices of women and their bodies. The film literally starts with the victim in a bikini posing for photos by a photographer who we’re led to believe is an older pervert. As she wanders the pool, surrounded by rich old men, she asks their drink orders and flirts with each.

As for the photographer, it ends up being her father and hey, Italian cinema, no one thinks this is weird. What follows is teenage prostitution, abortions that require the patient to be fully nude, a murder and a killer who is the giallo sauce in this poliziotteschi pasta.

It’s also about class, as if the father — Professor Andrea Icardi (Gabrielle Ferzetti) — wasn’t a rich doctor, the police would never handle the case so quickly and efficiently.

Director Mario Caino also made Nightmare CastleEye in the Labyrinth and Shanghai Joe. His films are always interesting yet he’s rarely mentioned within the usual names of the Italian exploitation directors. Antonio Sabato is good as the lead officer and Luciana Paluzzi (ThunderballTragic Ceremony99 Women) is also great as female inspector Giovanna Nunziante.

If you’ve already watched What Have You Done to Solange?What Have They Done to Your Daughters? and Red Rings of Fear, you can consider this another part of the Schoolgirls in Peril movies.

Una libélula para cada muerto (1975)

An Italian/Spanish co-production directed by León Klimovsky and written by Ricardo Muñoz Suay and Paul Naschy, who also stars as Inspector Paolo Scaporall, A Dragonfly for Each Corpse is about a killer taking out the junkies and sex workers of Milan and leaving behind a dragonfly sculpture on each body living up to the title of the movie.

Where most giallo films have five murders or so, this one goes wild with 15 murders, several of which are done with an umbrella knife. Scaporalla and his high fashion wife Silvana (Erika Blanc) follow this vigilante killer — who the police debate may be doing their job for them — and she gets so focused on the case that she studies crime scene photos in bed. Naked.

God bless giallo.

Alley brawls with Nazi bikers, chasing transvestite suspects through Luna Park (the site of a major part of Naked Girl Killed In the Park and an endearing relationship between Naschy and Blanc — I dream that they made several sequels of them as a Thin Man series of psychosexual whodunnits — pushes this movie toward the top of the list of giallo, even if it isn’t made in Italy or even played there. It’s also committed to sleaze, at least in the non-Spanish version. As the country was still super restrictive, Klimovsky shot a version that has every nude scene clothed.  As someone that hates censorship, I have to exclaim how horrible the morals that keep Erika Blanc clothed are.

PS: Your ears do not deceive you. This movie takes liberally from the soundtracks of Bava’s A Bay of Blood and Blood and Black Lace.

Zagor kara bela (1975)

Created by editor and writer Sergio Bonelli and artist Gallieno Ferri, Italian comic book hero Zagor is even more popular outside its home country, especially in Croatia, Serbia and Turkey, where two unauthorized movies — 1970s Zagor, this movie and its same year sequel Zagor: Kara Korsanin Hazineleri — were made.

Zagor is a costumed hero but instead of being in modern times, he’s located in the old west, the son of a white army officer and his wife who were both killed by Native Americans. He was raised by Wandering Fitzy, a trapper who taught him how to be unstoppable with an axe — his Native American name Za-Gor Te-Nay translates as The Spirit with the Hatchet – who started his heroic career hunting the men who killed his parents. He soon learned that his father wasn’t the good person he was led to believe that he was, so he became an equal opportunity protector of the oppressed.

His abilities include superhuman strength, agility and endurance as well as nearly undefeatable fighting skills. He can catch arrows out of the air and has no issues fighting bears, alligators and other wildlife hand-to-claw. Some stories even suggest that Zagor may be blessed by the Great Spirit and serves as his hero on Earth or may even be a descendant of Atlantis or a reincarnated African god.

Levent Çakir plays Zagor, Nevzat Açikgöz is his sidekick Chico and Yavus Selekma — Santo from 3 Dev Adam — plays a young Native American. They’re all up against a mysterious masked killer who looks something like a wild west fumetti character.

Turkey loves its superheroes, no matter what era they’re in.

Superdragon vs. Superman (1975)

The Three Supermen series somehow has been remixed around the world, starting as an Italian superhero series, making its way to Turkey and now becoming a Hong Kong film also known as Bruce Lee Against Supermen.

When a Chinese scientist learns how to accomplish the grindhouse alchemy of making food from petroleum — maybe learn how to make food from something that’s less scarce than what you’re replacing, this is like turning diamonds into gold — some criminals kidnap him, so Green Hornet gets called in. He politely declines and sends Kato (Bruce Li), who sticks around long enough to send Carter (also Bruce Li) who dresses like Game of Death Bruce Lee.

Also, that’s not Superman that Bruce Li, not Bruce lee fights, but the Italian Supermen, except only one is in it. Anyways, you have to love a movie that outright steals Emerson Lake and Palmer’s “Karn Evil 9” for a car chase, because why not?

Also, Bruce Li has a love scene with Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn” playing.

You can watch this on YouTube or Tubi.

APRIL MOVIE THON DAY 29: Friday Foster (1975)

Not just a blaxploitation, not just a comic strip movie, not just a Pam Grier movie, this is also her last movie for AIP that ties in race identity, being a woman and, most essentially, Pam Grier kicking ass for 90 minutes.

Friday Foster comes from an American newspaper comic strip, created and written by Jim Lawrence — who wrote the James Bond strip — and illustrated by Jorge Longarón that ran from January 18, 1970, to February 17, 1974. She was one of the first African-American women characters to star in her own strip with only Jackie Ormes’ Torchy Brown coming before it (that strip ran in the Pittsburgh Courier, which makes me quite happy to know that my hometown sometimes does things ahead of the rest of the world). Friday started as an assistant to high-fashion photographer Shawn North, but soon became an international supermodel leaving her troubled life in Harlem behind her. Since her strip ended, Friday has shown up in Dick Tracy.

Foster (Grier) has witnessed an assassination attempt on the wealthiest African American, Blake Tarr (Thalmus Rasulala) and then her best friend Cloris Boston (Rosaline Miles) is murdered. Soon, not listening to her boss’ warning to stay out of her stories, she finds herself targeted for death.

Arthur Marks already had some comic strip experience, directing three episodes of the Steve Canyon TV series. He also directed Bonnie’s KidsDetroit 9000BucktownA Women for All MenJ.D.’s RevengeClass of ’74The Roommates and the “Find Loretta Lynn” episode of The Dukes of Hazzard. Writer Orville H. Hampton worked on everything from Rocketship X-M and Mesa of Lost Women to The Four Skulls of Jonathan DrakeJack the Giant Killer and episodes of FlipperPerry MasonSuper FriendsFantasy Island and The Dukes cartoon.

There are some great people in this, like Yaphet Kotto as private detective Colt Hawkins, Earth Kitt as fashion designer Madame Rena, Scatman Crothers, Godfrey Cambridge, Ted Lange and Jim Backus as a racist Senator. There’s even a scene with a young Carl Weathers as one of the bad guy’s goons.

The real joy of this film is the agency it affords Friday. She’s gorgeous, sure, but she can easily best any man. And when she beds more than one over the running time of the film, she’s never judged. Best of all, her blackness is central to who she is and not an afterthought.

Supposedly Marks was trying to turn this into a TV series. I wish that had happened because one Friday Foster adventure is nowhere near enough.

You can watch this on Tubi.

APRIL MOVIE THON DAY 24: Reincarnation of Peter Proud (1975)

Based on the 1973 novel by Max Ehrlich, who adapted it for the screenplay, The Reincarnation of Peter Proud is about, well, Peter Proud (Michael Sarrazin). He’s a college professor who keeps dreaming of a man being murdered by Marcia (Margot Kidder), as well as another woman and places that he comes to learn are another life.

He’s driving his girlfriend Nora nuts with all his ranting of reincarnation, his doctors have no answers and a documentary on TV leads him to Massachusettes, where he begins to travel to the places he has only seen in dreams, meeting an older Marcia and falling in love with her daughter Ann (Jennifer O’Neill, The Psychic), despite everything in the movie leading you to believe that he’s her father.

In fact, he admits that he is to Marcia, which pretty much seals his fate. But hey — reincarnation!

Director J. Lee Thompson had a long and pretty great career, starting in the 1950s with movies like The Weak and the Wicked and Yield to the Night, which were written by his second wife Joan Henry. He’s best known for The Guns of NavaroneCape FearConquest of the Planet of the ApesBattle for the Planet of the Apes, The Evil That Men Do and Happy Birthday to Me. He would work for Cannon Films for the last movies of his career, with stand outs like 10 to Midnight, The AmbassadorKing Solomon’s Mines, Murphy’s Law, Firewalker, Death Wish 4: The CrackdownMessenger of Death and Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects.

This was a pretty big movie when released, but isn’t that well remembered, at least in America. It was remade as Karz in India, which has been remade several times. Then again, reincarnation always makes more sense in India.

APRIL MOVIE THON DAY 22: The Ultimate Warrior (1975)

There had been post-apocalyptic movies before — End of the World came out in 1916 — and the genre was already a big deal by 1975, following The Omega Man and Soylent Green. So when most people believe that end of the world movies started in 1979 with Mad Max, they’d been around long before.

The Ultimate Warrior is pretty much a western — all good post-apocalyptic movies are — with a frontier town under attack. That town would be a small fort in what’s left of New York City, a place led by Baron (Max Von Sydow). One of his followers is a former scientist named Cal (Richard Kelton), who has developed plague resistant seeds that grow in the dead soil, creating a desert in the wasteland.

And, just like every western — and again, post-apocalyptic movie — there are gangs of bad people making the lives of good people hard. One of those gangs is led by Carrot (William Smith!) and Baron is so worried about them that he hires on a loner gunslinger — or fighter — named Carson (Yul Brynner).

Even with his abilities, the settlement is still doomed. So Baron sends his pregnant daughter Melinda (Joanna Miles) away from the citty with the goal of building a new world on a North Carolina island. But escaping the city isn’t easy and it costs nearly everyone their lives and Carson his hand, but the ultimate warrior is nothing if not resilient. Or deadly.

Director and writer Robert Clouse knew how to make a movie with fights as the main draw, as he directed Enter the Dragon and Game of Death with Bruce Lee, as well as Black Belt Jones with Jim Kelly, Golden NeedlesForce: FiveThe Big Brawl with Jackie Chan, Gymkata with Kurt Thomas, two China O’Brien movies with Cynthia Rothrock and Ironheart with Bolo Yeung. He also made the animal attack movies The Pack and the rats on the loose film Deadly Eyes.

And yes, this movie is where the wrestler got his name from.

APRIL MOVIE THON DAY 14: Diabolicamente… Letizia (1975)

Sure, it translates as Diabolically… Letizia, but Sex, Demons and Death is a way better title.

Marcello (Gabriele Tinti, one-time husband of Laura Gemser; he’s in Endgame) and Micaela (Magda Konopka, Blindman) haven’t been able to have children. While Marcello wants to go to Switzerland, she decides to just have her niece Letizia (Franca Gonella, Revelations of a Psychiatrist on the World of Sexual Perversion) stay with them instead. This sounds like a bad idea even without the possession part of the deal.

Before you know it, she’s frightening their servant Giovanni (Gianni Dei, Patrick Still Lives) by appearing as a red demon, making out with the maid Luisella (Karen Fiedler, Last Harem) starting with psychically rubbing her face with toast and getting biblical with her own aunt. She’s also nearly a thirty-something teenager.

So imagine — some parts giallo, some parts The Exorcist and all the sleaze that Italy can sweat up.

Director Salvatore Bugnatelli only made seven movies, five from 1975-1989 — Excuse Me Padre, Are You HornyMizzzzica… ma che è proibitissimo?  (Mizzzzica…But What Is Prohibited?), Racconto immorale (Immoral Tale); Intimo profondo (Deep Underwear) and this movie — before coming back in 2006 to direct 80 Italian sexy models and Diario segreto di un feticista (Secret Diary of a Fetishist). It was co-written with Lorenzo Artale, who also did the dialogue for The Beast In Heat, which is the part where I said, “Oh, this makes sense.”

JESS FRANCO MONTH: La marque de Zorro (1975)

1975 saw two movies titled The Mark of Zorro, one from Italian director Franco Lo Cascio that starred George Hilton, and this film, directed by Marius Lesoeur with uncredited directing help from Alain Payet and Jess Franco. There was also the big budget Alain Delon movie that same year, directed by Duccio Tessari, that was such a huge deal that it became one of the first Western-produced films to be exported to the People’s Republic of China after the Cultural Revolution where more than 70 million viewers watched it.

This is not that movie.

This was made in France with French actors, pulling footage from La venganza del Zorro* like Godfrey Ho and with Franco regulars Howard Vernon as the Governor of California and Monica Swinn as his daughter, well…this won’t be the best Zorro movie that you’ve ever seen. Speaking of Zorro, he’s played by Clint Douglas, who only made two other movies.

You have to give Eurocine some credit for trying to cash in, but if anyone was fooled, well, they deserve to get the ZZ on both cheeks of their life.

*Which was co-written by Franco.

JESS FRANCO MONTH: Midnight Party (1975)

Sylvia (Lina Romay) attends a spy party, which is not a thing I believe exists anywhere outside of the universe of a Jess Franco movie, and this soon takes her into a real espionage affair as she’s chased by Agent 008, Janos Radeck (Jess Franco) — and what is it with that Radeck name in his movies? — before hooking up with two men and going to a late night orgy.

So yeah — it’s kind of like After Hours also it’s Lina talking directly to the camera and telling you to come to see this movie multiple times so she can get rich and it’s charming. Like you want to hug her and tell her that yes, you’ll do everything possible to make this dream come true.

There’s also another cut of this movie, Heisse Berührungen, which was produced by Erwin C. Dietrich and scenes of this movie were edited into Justine and the Whip, along with footage from Shining Sex, by an editor perhaps even more demented than Jess Franco: Joe D’Amato.

It’s a movie where everyone loves Lina, like her three suitors who include a Communist rock star and a husband who is constantly getting sick and losing money gambling. I completely understand.