CANNON MONTH 2: The Philadelphia Experiment (1984)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This was originally on the site on June 1, 2022. It was not produced by Cannon, but was released on video in Germany by Cannon Screen Entertainment, who called it John Carpenter’s Das Philadelphia Experiment

One of the greatest memories of my life is a vacation to Washington D.C. when I was 12. I can’t remember it as being perfect. We didn’t have much money, we had to sleep in our van at least one night, we almost got caught in a flood and it was blistering hot. But that stuff never mattered. And sure, I’d come home to my first days of awkward middle school and wondering if I’d ever fit in. But for one blissful night, I sat under the stars somewhere in Virginia and saw a drive-in double feature while eating snuck in sandwiches we made from ham salad and bread we bought cheap at a local grocery store.

PSA: Don’t sneak food into drive-ins. There are so few in the U.S. and many of them survive based on their food sales. Spend a lot on food. Get a Chilly Dilly, the personality pickle.

The first movie we saw was Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, a mind-blasting onslaught of adventure, non-stop shreiking, monkey brains being eaten right out of their skulls and chest tearing gore. Years later, that film’s writers, Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz, would do the same thing to me all over again with their classic Messiah of Evil, a movie I was in no way prepared for at a pre-pubescent age.

The second film — which we knew nothing about — was The Philadelphia Experiment.

Based on the book The Philadelphia Experiment: Project Invisibility by Charles Berlitz (yes, the very same Berlitz that was part of the family that is The Berlitz School of Languages, as well as a military intelligence officer accused of inventing mysteries and fabricating evidence, which we now call disinformation) and William L. Moore (who circulated the Majestic-12 document that later in my teenage years would overload my Commodre 64 and convince a seventeen-year-old  possibly on drugs me that government troops were coming out of the woods to silence me and kill my family; I woke everyone up and ran into the yard screaming, I was a handful; Moore is also a disinfo agent), the original script for this movie was written by John Carpenter, who couldn’t figure out how it should end, never mind that it was based on a true story.

On that real story: An ex-merchant marine named Carl M. Allen sent an anonymous package marked “Happy Easter” that was Morris K. Jessup’s book The Case for the UFO: Unidentified Flying Objects filled with notes in three blue inks to the U.S. Office of Naval Research. These notes discuss how UFOs fly, discuss alien races and show that aliens are worried that the book knows too much and refer to the Philedelphia Experiment.

Allen then started writing to Jessup as himself and Carlos Miguel Allende warning him to stop studying flying saucers. He claimed that  he was serving aboard the SS Andrew Furuseth and saw the actual event as the ship teleported from Philedelphia to Norfolk, Virginia and then back, during which he saw crewmembers go insane, become intangible and frozen within time. Jessup asked for info which Allen never really proved.

So this is where it gets weird. Well, weirder. Jessup was invited to the Office of Naval Research where he was shown that annotated book and realized that it had the same handwriting as Allen. Why?

Can it get weirder? Sure.

Commander George W. Hoover, one of the members of the Office of Naval Research, showed the annotations to a contractor named Austin N. Stanton, who was the president of Varo Manufacturing Corporation. Stanton got so obsessed that he used his office’s mimeography machine to print multiple copies of the letters and the annotated book. Keep in mind that this was super expensive in the late 50s and also went against so many laws and levels of security clearance.

So what happened to Jessup? No one wanted to read his books, he lost his agent and he eventually committed suicide. As others tried to find Allen, his family would only say that he was a master leg puller. He was also from New Kensington, Pennsylvania — so close to Pittsburgh. They gave researchers tons more of his handwritten notes on the subject.

Whew — yes I will get to the movie — the Varo annotations were used in several conspiracy and UFO books, finally gaining some interest thanks to Berlitz and Moore. Then the movie got made. And then, another sailor named Alfred Bielek claimed he was also on the ship and that the movie was totally accurate. That’s funny because the book ripped off another book, George E. Simpson and Neal R. Burger’s Thin Air.

Let me stop for a second and tell you that this movie has even crazier DNA.

That’s because it was directed by Stewart Raffill.

Sure, he made The Ice Pirates the same year. But afterward, his career is filled with the kind of movies that crush minds. Movies like Mac and MeMannequin 2: Mannequin on the MoveTammy and the T-Rex.

Yes, all the same director.

By the time he got to this movie, the script had been written nine times. Despite Michael Janover (who wrote the horrifying Hardly Working), William Gray (HumongousProm Night) and Wallace C. Bennett (Silent ScreamWelcome to Arrow Beach) being in the credits for the script, Raffill says that he dictated the script and had someone type it.

As for the story, United States Navy sailors David Herdeg (Michael Pare) and Jim Parker (Bobby Di Cicco in 1943 and Ralph Manza in 1984) are on the USS Eldridge in 1943 as Doctor James Longstreet (Miles McNamara in the past, Eric Christmas — who was Mr. Carter in Porky’s — in 1984) makes the ship invisible to radar, but as things go wrong, David and Jim jump overboard and end up in the future — or our past are you confused? — and kidnap Allison Hayes (Nancy Allen) and get into military related hijinks before Jim gets zapped back in time.

There’s some wild science in here as David eventually has to go into a vortex and smash stuff with a fire axe to free the ship, which ends up with burned sailors and men being fused into the ship.

A sequel came out in 1993 with Brad Johnson from Nam Angels as David going up against Gerrit Graham as well as 2012 SyFy reimagining that Pare shows up for. Man, Michael Pare also made Streets of Fire the very same year and really should have been better considered.

This movie went from theaters to video stores faster than any movie had before. Maybe people thought that they had already seen it as The Final Countdown.

None of that is important to me. I have a wonderful memory of sitting in movie theater seats — outside no less — and getting to see two wild movies that I’ve thought of so many times since. We should all have a vacation so wonderful.

You can watch this on Tubi.

CANNON MONTH 2: What Waits Below (1984)

EDITOR’S NOTE: What Waits Below was obviously not produced by Cannon, but they did release it in Germany as Cannon Screen Entertainment.

Also known as Secrets of the Phantom Caverns, this Sandy Howard-produced movie was made in a former limestone quarry and in natural caves, including Cathedral Caverns in Alabama and Cumberland Caverns and Fall Creek Falls in Tennessee.

According to the August 23, 1983 edition of the Miami Herald, carbon monoxide produced by the generators used to power the lights and filmmaking equipment built up in the Cathedral Caverns location and sent at least 17 people, including director Don Sharp (Psychomania) to the hospital.

Or maybe it was more, as star Lisa Blount (Prince of Darkness) remembered in an interview with Imagi Movies, “All the extras, as the Lemurians, were out in front of me, and I watched all these people just start silently falling over, fainting, as this wave of carbon monoxide came at them. All hell broke loose. We had little golf carts for transportation, and it was an immediate emergency situation of getting out, but these carts didn’t go that fast. We had very sick people, and it was a matter of determining who got in the first car out — youngest ones first. It was just total chaos. There were sixty people who went to the hospital.”

That may have been more exciting than this movie, in which a military communication device used to alert submarines ends up losing its signal in a cave in Central America. The military sends Major Elbert Stevens (Timothy Bottoms) and scientist Leslie Peterson (Blount) to learn what happened. That’s when things go all Shaver mystery and Lemurians — albino cave people show up. But are they heroes or villains? Are we the heroes or villains? And hey — Richard Johnson (Zombi 2) shows up!

Based on a story by Freddie Francis, the script was written by Robert Vincent O’Neil (the same guy who made the Angel movies!) and Christy Marx (the same woman who created JEM and the Holograms!). The tagline for this movie was “Underground, no one can hear you die.” Alien this is not.

This looks like a TV movie in the best of ways and I kind of love it for how completely stupid it is. I mean, the military supercomputer is a Commodore 64 with the logo taped over. If that makes you want to watch this, you are my kind of person.

CANNON MONTH 2: Dreamscape (1984)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was first on the site on April 10, 2022. Dreamscape was obviously not produced by Cannon, but they did release it in Germany on the Cannon Screen Entertainment label.

Based on an outline that Roger Zelazny wrote, his novella “He Who Shapes” and the novel The Dream Master, this wasn’t made with any other input from the author. At least he got paid!

The story is credited to David Loughery, who wrote the fifth Star Trek and I still wonder why God needs a starship. The script is from Chuck Russell, who would go on to make A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors and The Blob. Director Joseph Ruben made The Pom Pom GirlsThe StepfatherThe Good Son and Sleeping With the Enemy. He knows how to make entertaining trash and I say that in the kindest of ways.

Alex Gardner (Dennis Quaid) might be a psychic, but he doesn’t want tested any more. Not after all the poking and prodding in his youth by Dr. Paul Novotny (Max von Sydow). But when Novotny saves him from some low level goons who want to use Gardner’s psychic powers, he starts listening to how he’s now involved in government-funded psychic research. What really gets Alex on board is one look at Dr. Jane DeVries (Kate Capshaw).

The goal is to send people into the dreamscape. There’s some exposition about the Senoi natives of Malaysia thinking that the dream world is as real as our own and you know me, I’m always here for movie BS.

Tommy Ray Glatman (David Patrick Kelly) is the only person who has entered the dreamscape, but he’s a daddy and old lady murdering maniac, so luckily Alex can get in and help little kids get over their bad dreams. Horror novelist Charlie Prince (George Wendt) — who wrote a book called Stab, so is this Scream universe canon? — tells Alex that he’s just a weapon to be used by Bob Blair (Christopher Plummer) to kill the President (Eddie Albert) and preserve the military industrial complex.

Yeah, a lot happens.

The end of this movie is wild. Alex is inside the President’s post-nuclear terror dream, as mutants hunt the President and Tommy Ray has nunchucks and can also be a snake man before Alex takes the form of Tommy’s dad, tells the final boss that he loves him and then the leader of the free world stabs the bad guy from behind, killing him, because even the most hopeful of Presidents still ordered drone strikes. Then our hero goes into Blair’s dream and straight up kills him so he can be with Kate Capshaw.

The second PG-13 movie ever released — after Red Dawn — this is also the second movie that Kate Capshaw would be in in 1984 where a man’s heart is ripped out of his chest.

You know, I love this goofy movie. The effects are dated, there’s fog everywhere and the poster is totally trying to make you think Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s one of the first movies I ever rented and watching it again, it made me so happy knowing that I can just put it on at any time.

CANNON MONTH 2: Electric Dreams (1984)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was first on the site on September 15, 2019. Electric Dreams was obviously not produced by Cannon, but they did release it in Germany on the Cannon Screen Entertainment label.

Steve Barron directed some of the most famous videos like “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson, “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits, “Electric Avenue” by Eddy Grant, “Don’t You Want Me” by The Human League, “Africa” by Toto and “Take On Me” by A-ha. This was his first film, which was written by Rusty Lemorande, who also was behind Captain EO, Cannon’s Journey to the Center of the Earth and the Patsy Kensit and and Julian Sands-starring The Turn of the Screw.

Barron often shared his music videos with his mother Zelda. Now, that isn’t him being a mama’s boy. She was at the time doing continuity on Yentl with Lemorande — she also directed the movie Shag and Culture Club’s* videos for “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya,” “Miss Me Blind,” “The Medal Song” and “It’s a Miracle” — and showed him a video that Barron made for Haysi Fantayzee, which led to this movie.

The film is very much an extended music video and has lots of artists of the era, such as YB40, Jeff Lynne, Phil Collins, Heaven 17 and, most importantly, Giorgio Moroder, who was hired as the composer.

Barron would later say, “(Moroder) played me a demo track he thought would be good for the movie. It was the tune of “Together in Electric Dreams” but with some temporary lyrics sung by someone who sounded like a cheesy version of Neil Diamond. Giorgio was insisting the song could be a hit so I thought I’d suggest someone to sing who would be as far from a cheesy Neil Diamond as one could possibly go. Phil Oakey**. We then got Phil in who wrote some new lyrics on the back of a (cigarette) packet on the way to the recording studio and did two takes which Giorgio was well pleased with and everybody went home happy.”

Miles Harding (Lenny Von Dohlen, Harold Smith on Twin Peaks) is an architect who wants to build earthquake-proof building, which is why he buys a computer to help him and goes overboard, buying everything he can to allow it to run his house. However, he screws up his own name and it calls him Moles. As the computer downloads more information and it starts to overheat. Miles pours champagne on it, which is not how to fix a computer and it becomes self-aware, gains the voice of Bud Cort (Barron didn’t want Cort to be seen by the other actors so he did his lines in a padded box on a sound stage) and the name Edgar.

Miles and Edgar are both in love with neighbor Madeline Robistat (Virginia Madsen), with Edgar even playing cello along with her in a duet, a performance that Miles takes credit for. He even asks the computer to write a song for Madeline, but that takes things too far and soon man fights machine.

Yet don’t take this to be a horror movie. It ends up being quite sweet at the end and is a cute romance. You can even see Moroder show up as a record producer. This movie has one of my favorite movie things in it: computers that at once look dated and yet do more than they can today.

*Harold and Maude fan Boy George visited the set of this movie just to meet Bud Cort. George also helped compose the song “Electric Dreams” and contributed his band’s songs “Karma Chameleon,” “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me,” “Love Is Love” and “The Dream” to the soundtrack.

**The Human League’s singer.

CANNON MONTH 2: Zui jia pai dang 3: Nu huang mi ling (1984)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Cannon didn’t produce this movie, but released it on video in Germany on the Cannon Screen Entertainment label.

Whether you call this Aces Go Places 3 – Our Man from Bond Street or Mad Mission III, this sequel to Aces Go Places brings back Sam Hui as King Kong, Karl Maka as Albert Au and Sylvia Chang as Nancy Ho.

King Kong is in Paris when he sees a gorgeous woman in 80s movie punk glasses about to blow up the Eiffel Tower. He chases her up into that romantic building and finds himself battling Big G (Richard Kiel, obviously playing a copyright free Jaws!) and Oddjob (Japanese pro wrestler Thunder Sugiyama, who was also in Message from Space), who in addition to his bowler hat now has the same steel hand as Dr. No.

King Kong loses the trail of the henchmen after they all parachute off the tower. As he dives after Jaws — fighting him in mid-air! — he lands in the Seien River below where he’s picked up by a shark submarine and meets Queen Elizabeth (Huguette Funfrock) and James Bond (French Sean Connery lookalike Jean Mersant). They want King Kong to steal one of the crown jewels called the Star of Fortune from a Hong Kong police vault. There’s one rule: his partner Detective Albert “Baldy” Au (Maka) and his wife Supt. Nancy Ho (Chang) can’t find out.

Of course, this isn’t the real Bond. He’s an imposter and working with  Big G, Jaws and that bazooka-carrying assassin Jade East, as well as having a fake Queen Elizabeth who emerges from paintings in their little villain army.

The real spy is Tom Collins, who is played by Peter Graves and he is 100% playing Jim Phelps from Mission Impossible, as his tape recorder gives him a mission and then explodes. That explosion takes him out of the movie until the close, but until then, we have post-apocalyptic movie punks on dune buggies, Santa Claus motorcycle stunt teams, a sub that can flip over and turn into a cruise ship, a one man jet ala Octopussy and a closing cameo by a fake Ronald Reagan.

Somehow, this movie got followed by a fourth installent with Ronald Lacey (Toht from Raiders of the Lost Ark) as the main bad guy and a fifth episode with Conan Lee as Chinese Rambo.

Obviously, I loved every minute. This movie never takes itself seriously and has repeated fake arm gags. Director Tsui Hark (Zu Warriors from the Magic MountainBlack MaskIron Monkey) and writer Raymond Wong Pak-ming have made a movie that will delight spy film and martial arts movie fans while keeping things moving as fast as humanly possible.

As for the English dubbed version, it has some footage cut and extra footage with Peter Graves. The dialogue was written by Larry Dolgin, who did the same job on Deported Women of the SS Special Section and whose voice can be heard in so many dubbed films, including Street LawNightmare CityPiecesBlastfighter, Cannon’s Aladdin and so many more. He was also the voice of Lucio Fulci in the English dub of Cat In the Brain. He also acted in Caligula: The Untold StoryGhoulies II and Robot Jox and before all that, he was a singer in The Cables, a vocal and instrumental group that released the songs “Choo-Choo” and “Midnight Roses” on the RCA Victor label. According to dubbing actor/director Ted Rusoff — the husband of Carolyn De Fonseca — Dolgin recieved a large inheritance in the 1990s and retired to a villa in Sardinia.

CANNON MONTH 2: The Final Executioner (1984)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This was on the site for the first time on April 4, 2021. The Final Executioner was not produced by Cannon but was released on video by Cannon / MGM/UA Home Video.

The Italians get post-apocalyptic movies better than anyone else, because they realize that at best, they are just Western movies remade with cars instead of horses. The costumes, the dirt, the violence are all the same. They can even use the same sets — now rundown with age — from the 60s and 70s heights of the Italian cowboy era to become the Xerox Bartertown of their low budget epic.

Romolo Guerrieri had been around as a director for years, working in all manner of genres like the giallo (The Sweet Body of DeborahLa Controfigura), poliziotteschi (The Police Serve the Citizens?Young, Violent, Dangerous) and, you guessed it, Westerns (he wrote Any Gun Can Play and wrote and directed Johnny Yuma).

In a film also known as The Final Executioner during its U.S. video shelf life, after a nuclear war, society has been broken into two groups: the clean, uncontaminated elites and those they hunt, the people left behind who have been contaminated by radiation. At least 80 million have been killed for sport as this movie begins.

Alan Tanner tries to put a stop to this, as his wife has been selected to be hunted. He pays for it by getting shot and left for dead before being rescued and trained by ex-cop Sam (Woody Strode, who is pretty much playing the same role he played in Keoma). Together, they go against the system.

Footage from this was used in Giuseppe Vari’s Urban Warriors and Vanio Amici’s The Bronx Executioner, which should please you that even after the end of the world, some folks try to keep it green. In fact, Woody Strode’s character is renamed Warren and is in the latter, with new footage shot for Margit Evelyn Newton’s character.

Speaking of Margit, she was shooting this and The Adventures of Hercules at the same time, which she claims exhausted her and made her lose ten pounds.

Look, this isn’t great, but a dude rides around on a motorcycle and has a samurai sword in an Italian wasteland. That’s enough to get me to watch. And they’re all different . . . but the same, none the less.

CANNON MONTH: Malombra (1984)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Malombra was not produced by Cannon — shh, Roger Corman was the uncredited producer — but was theatrically distributed  by Cannon Distributors (UK) Ltd.

Directed by Bruno Gaburro (Ecco HomoScandal In the Family) and written by Piero Regnoli (DemoniaBurial GroundCry of a Prostitute), this is pure Italian sleaze with the venneer of art — as you like it — imported to America by Cannon (well, the UK division).

A young man named Marco (Stefano Alessandrini) goes to stay with his uncle after his aunt dies. They’re all alone save his uncle’s sister-in-law. Oh yeah — and the redhead who every night appears and gets herself off and then disappears. That redhead? She looks exactly like Marco’s dead aunt.

Really, the reason to watch this is because Paola Senatore is in it. You may remember her from A.A.A. Masseuse, Good-Looking, Offers Her ServicesRicco or Emanuelle in America.

Gaburro re-edited footage from this movie into another, Penombra, which focuses more on Sanatore’s character and her affair with a man named Alessio (Daniel Stephen).

This is just another example of how the original Cannon made its first successes: grab some foreign softcore and play it in grindhouses and drive-ins; has anyone ever seen an ad for this?

CANNON MONTH 2: The Hills Have Eyes II (1984)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This originally was posted on October 6, 2019The Hills Have Eyes II was not produced by Cannon but was theatrically distributed by Cannon France in association with Adrienne Fancey, VTC and New Realm Entertainment.

Seven years after the original film, Wes Craven would return to the desert, bringing more folks back into the near apocalyptic territory lorded over by the mutants from the first film. In fact, if you liked that movie, you’re in luck, because clips from it play throughout this one’s running time.

Wes Craven has disowned this movie, which started filming A Nightmare On Elm Street. Though it was released after that film, only two-thirds of it was finished when the studio halted production due to budget issues. Once Freddy Krueger became a household name, that convinced Craven to finish the movie using only the footage that he had in the can. That’s why so much of this film comes from the original, a point I will continually bludgeon throughout this article.

Robert Huston, who played Bobby in the original (and brought Lone Wolf and Cub to American screens) returns, as does Janus Blythe (she’s also great in Eaten Alive). She was Rachel in the first film and now everyone calls her Ruby. They now own a motocross team and have invented a super fuel. The team’s latest race takes them through the same stretch as…yes, I know I keep saying the original film, but this movie keeps referencing it.

Bobby’s psychiatrist wants him to go, but he chickens out with Rachel taking his place along with Beast the dog. Yes, from the first film.

The team — blind Cass (who brings a blind girl motocross racing?), her boyfriend Roy (Kevin Spritas from the Subspecies films and Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood), Harry (Peter Frechette, The KindredThe Unholy and T-Bird Louis DiMucci in Grease 2), Hulk(John Laughlin, Footloose and The Rock), Foster (Willard E. Pugh, Harpo from The Color Purple), Jane (Colleen Riley, Deadly Blessing) and Sue (Penny Johnson from TV’s Castle and 24) — head off to the desert but get lost.

Harry takes a shortcut through an old bombing range, which Ruby should have protested way more than she does. This leads them to a mining ranch where Pluto (Michael Berryman) comes back — yes, from the first movie — and attacks her. Everyone thinks she’s crazy until he also steals one of their bikes. Roy and Harry give chase but Harry gets killed by a boulder and a new cannibal named Reaper (John Bloom — who isn’t Joe Bob — the Frankenstein’s Monster from Al Adamson’s Dracula vs. Frankenstein) knocks out Roy.

Reaper is Papa Jupiter’s older brother and he isn’t here to mess around. Seriously, he wipes out everyone — including Ruby or Rachel or whatever she was calling herself these days — in short order, using spearguns, machetes and improvised traps. However, Craven didn’t like John Bloom’s voice, so he’s dubbed by Nicholas Worth, who we all know as Kirk Smith from Don’t Answer the Phone!

Sadly for Pluto, he’s still no match for a dog and gets dropped off a cliff.

The end of the film gets pretty thrilling, as the survivors use the bus itself as a trap for the gigantic mutant leader. There’s an amazing fire stunt at the end, which made me really happy. And hey — Kane Hodder was one of the stunt people for this!

You can buy this from Arrow Video but keep in mind that it’s limited to 3,000 copies! It’s packed with extras, like brand new audio commentary with The Hysteria Continues and Blood, Sand, and Fire: The Making of The Hills Have Eyes Part II, a new documentary that has interviews with Berryman, Blythe, composer Harry Manfredini and more.

Like everything Arrow puts out, it’s a high quality release well worth your money. And despite being told for years how bad this sequel is — it’s certainly not the dark and brutal classic that it’s forebearer was — it’s entertaining.

CANNON MONTH 2: The Company of Wolves (1984)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This was originally on the site on August 28, 2020The Company of Wolves was not produced by Cannon but was theatrically distributed by Cannon Releasing Corporation.

Back before Neil Jordan made The Crying Game, he made an adaption of one of the stories in Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber. The author had already made a radio version of the story and worked with Jordan on the script.

This was Jordan’s second film and it was made on a very low budget. In fact, to get across the idea of multiple wolves in some scenes, most of the monsters shown in the film are actually Belgian Shepherd Dogs*.

The narrative device that drives this film concerns Rosaleen, a modern girl who dreams that she is in the past, a strange place where her sister Alice is hunted and killed by wolves. Her grandmother (Angela Lansbury!) warns her, as she gives her a red cloak, to beware men whose eyebrows meet. As the villagers soon hunt a wolf whose dead body reveals a man, this dire proclamation takes on some truth.

She soon meets a huntsman, who dares her to a race to her grandmother’s house. He arrives first and eats the old woman, yet our heroine can’t hate the man. Even though she wounds him, she still cares for him and ends up becoming turned into a lycanthrope herself. Finally, the story breaks into today’s time, as the wolves crash through the windows of Rosaleen’s modern world, symbolizing the end of her pre-pubescent innocence.

This framing story also allows the grandmother and Rosaleen to tell stories that concern wolves, man and desire. They include a young werewolf (Stephen Rea) running from his wife and young family, the devil (Terrence Stamp!) showing ip in a Rolls Royce, a witch that transforms a family of noblemen and a wolf woman (experimental musician Danielle Dax) treated kindly by a priest.

The film also offers some truly horrific and bloody transformation scenes that were featured prominently in the advertising when this ran in the U.S. I remember seeing these commercials and being horrified by them, but they are just part of the overall journey for a movie that is more allegory than genre film. And hey — David Warner is in it and he always makes everything he’s in so much more interesting for his presence.

*There were also two wolves used in the film, which required snipers to also be on set. That’s because these wild animals can never truly be tamed.

CANNON MONTH 2: Emmanuelle IV (1984)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Emmanuelle IV was not produced by Cannon — shh, Roger Corman was the uncredited producer — but was theatrically distributed by Cannon Releasing Corporation.

Director and written by Francis Leroi (who would make a ton of Emmanuelle content, such as Emmanuelle Forever, Emmanuelle’s Revenge, Emmanuelle In Venice, Emmanuelle’s Love, Emmanuelle’s Magic, Emmanuelle’s Perfum, Emmanuelle 7 and Emmanuelle’s Secret) and Iris Letan, this movie pulls a big switch: Emmanuelle (Sylvia Kristel) escapes a love affair with Marc (Patrick Bauchau) by going to Brazil where near-magical plastic surgery transforms her into a twenty-year-old virgin played by Swedish actress Mia Nygren.

The original French version was shot and released in ArriVision 3-D, but new scenes were shot for the US version in StereoVision 3-D and composited within the film. There were also hardcore inserts shot for this not featuring the main actors. That explains Christoph Clark and Marilyn Jess being in the credits. I was surprised to see Brinke Stevens, who isn’t in the credits.

Challenged by her therapist Donna (Deborah Power) to explore not only her new body but her new soul, Emmanuelle travels the world and pretty much takes advantage of any opportunity to have sex. That said, this may not look as gorgeous as Just Jaeckin’s original, but it has a charge to it that other sequels didn’t. There’s definitely a budget and definitely good casting; thankfully Kristel shows up in flashbacks and dream sequences, so she doesn’t totally go away. It is audacious, though, to have Nygren sitting in a wicker chair just like the superior first movie.