Erotic Ghost Story 2 (1991)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Upton is an American (non-werewolf) writer/editor in London. She currently works as a freelance ghostwriter of personal memoirs and writes for several blogs on topics as diverse as film history, punk rock, women’s issues, and international politics. For links to her work, please visit https://www.jennuptonwriter.com or send her a Tweet @Jennxldn

1990 saw the release of the Category III hit Erotic Ghost Story. Directed by Lam Ngai Kai, the softcore art film boasted an engaging story, beautiful sets, costumes, and cinematography. Not to mention good acting by attractive people. Inspired by The Witches of Eastwick and Pu Songling’s Strange Tales, a scholar seduces three fox spirits who, having attained human form, learn later, that he is a demon. The supernatural conclusion where the three band together to fight said demon before they lose their human privileges was well-executed and scary. It’s one of the rare films of its type to be considered a classic to this day.  

Erotic Ghost Story 2 not only dishonors its memory, but actually serves as a perfect example of the stereotype that all Category III films are, in fact, throwaway sex films. This movie was absolutely pointless and horrible. The story was non-existent; the acting was atrocious and the sex scenes had the air of late night made for cable movie with the entire production looking as if it had a fraction of the budget of the original. Even the accomplished Anthony Wong taking over in the role of the demon Chiu-Sheng a.k.a Wutung couldn’t save this mess as he does little more than parade around with a white lion’s mane on his head in kabuki make-up making scary faces. Overall, the film was just boring save for the threesome scene with having sex on a swing. Even then, it’s only interesting because of the sexual positions on display. 

There’s also an underwater scene that woke me from my stupor because it made me wonder how long the actors had to hold their breath. My best guess is that they finished that day’s shoot with a sigh of relief much the same as I felt when the credits finally rolled on this piece of crap.

You can watch the trailer on YouTube.

L’Ultima Meta (1991)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This originally appeared in Drive-In Asylum #22 which you can buy here.

Often, I refer to movies as having an all-star cast, which is really a misnomer. After all, what I consider A-list talent certainly does not fit the rest of the world. The Last Match, however, has the very definition of what I consider an all-star cast. Let’s take a look at the lineup:

Ernest Borgnine: Amongst the 211 credits Mr. Borgnine amassed on his IMDB list, none other have him leading a football team against an unnamed Caribbean island to save his assistant coach’s little girl. He was, however, in four Dirty Dozen movies and The Wild Bunch, not to mention playing Coach Vince Lombardi in a TV movie. One assumes that he took this role to get away from his wife Tova and her incessant cosmetics shilling. 

Charles Napier: As the American consul in this movie, Napier cuts a familiar path, which he set after appearing in the monster hit Rambo: First Blood Part II. For him, it was either playing bureaucrats or cops, thankless roles that he always brought a little something extra to. The exception is Baxter Wolfe, the man who rocks Susan Lakes’ loins in the beyond essential Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

Henry Silva: If you need a dependable jerk and you have the budget of, well, an Italian movie about a football team that also does military operations, call Mr. Silva. He admirably performed the role of the heel — or antihero at other times in movies like Megaforce, Battle of the Godfathers, Cry of a Prostitute (in which he plays the Yojimbo role but in a mafia film; he also pushes Barbara Bouchet’s face inside a dead pig’s carcass while making love to her and he’s the good guy), Escape from the Bronx and so many more movies.

Martin Balsam: Perhaps best known for Psycho, Balsam shows up in all manner of movies that keep me up at 4 AM on nights when I know work will come sooner than I fear. He’s so interested in acting up a storm in this movie that he is visibly reading off cue cards.

They’ve all joined up for a movie that finds the coach’s daughter get Midnight Express-ed as drugs are thrown in her bag at the airport on the way home from a vacation with her hapless jerk of a boyfriend. At least he’s smart enough to call assistant coach Cliff Gaylor (Oliver Tobias), the father of the daughter whose life he has just ruined. And luckily for this film, Tobias was in a movie called Operation Nam nearly a decade before, which meant that they could recycle footage of him in combat. He also was The Stud and serviced Joan Collins, so he has my eternal jealousy going for him, too.

Who could dream up a movie like this? Oh, only Larry Ludman, but we see through that fake name and know that it’s Fabrizio De Angelis steering this ship, the maker of beloved trash such as Killer Crocodile, five Karate Warrior movies and three Thunder movies that star the beloved Mark Gregory as a stiff legged Native American warrior who pretty much cosplays as Rambo. And don’t forget — this is the man who produced Zombi, The House by the Cemetery, The Beyond and New York Ripper!

In this outing, he’s relying on Cannibal Holocaust scribe Gianfranco Clerici and House on the Edge of the Park writer Vincenzo Mannino to get the job done. For some reason, despite this being an Italian exploitation movie, we never see the coach’s daughter in jail. Instead, we’re treated to what seems like Borgnine in a totally different movie than everyone else, barking orders into his headphones as if he was commanding the team in a playoff game. 

To make matters even more psychotic, the football players show up in full uniform instead of, you know, commando gear. One wonders, by showing up in such conspicuous costumes, how could they avoid an international incident? This is my lesson to you, if you’re a nascent Italian scumtastic cinema viewer: shut off your brain, because these movies don’t have plot holes. They’d have to have actual plots for that to be possible. 

I say this with the fondest of feelings, because you haven’t lived until you witness a football player dropkick a grenade into a helicopter. Supposedly this was written by Gary Kent for Bo Svenson, who sold the script to De Angelis unbeknownst to the stuntman until years later. It was originally about a soccer team!

Former Buffalo Bills QB Jim Kelly* is in this, which amuses me to no end, as does the ending, where — spoiler warning — Borgnine coaches the team from beyond the grave!

You know how conservative folks have quit watching the NFL as of late? This is the movie to bring ‘em back, a film where the offensive line has fully automatic machine guns and refuses to kneel for anything. No matter what your politics, I think we can all agree on one thing: no matter how dumb an idea seems, Italian cinema always tries to pull it off. 

*Other pros include Florida State and arena football player Bart Schuchts and USFL player Mark Rush, as well as Dolphins Jim Jensen, Mike Kozlowsky, Elmer Bailey and Jim Kiick. It’s kind of astounding that at one point, these players could just end up in a movie without the NFL knowing. This would never happen today.

VISUAL VENGEANCE BLU RAY RELEASE: Slaughter Day (1991)

Brent and Blake Cousins started by making lo-fi shot on video wildness and have made movies like Rising Dead and documentaries like Who Saw the Men In BlackUFO ReportUFO Events – The Best of Third Phase and Countdown to Disclosure: The Secret Technology Behind the Space Force.

But when I say lo-fi, don’t forget I am also saying high concept. For 58 minutes the brothers put not only their lives on the line, but what looks like the lives of every single one of their friends, all to entertain you like you’ve never been entertained before.

Sure, people have been making movies inspired by The Evil Dead since that movie got made. But have you seen one where the evil book is really H.R. Giger’s Necronomicon?

Blake and Jonah (Blake and Brent) are twin brothers who are supposed to be fixing up a cabin, but when they arrive, they find their co-worker — and nemesis — John (or Johns, the Hawaiian stoner accents are amazing and infectious) hacking a man to death. Oh yeah — the guy has always been a jerk, but once he started reading that Giger art book, he got to be a real jerk. And then he found that possessed air filtration mask and started everyone on the crew huffing on it and now, well, now it’s a problem that our twin heroes have to stop.

You know how I always say zombie movies are boring? This movie punched, kicked, then spin kicked me in the face and then threw a guy off a building to convince me I was wrong, so wrong. The camera never stops moving and even finds some artistic framing for so many shots and that makes me forgive that I can keep hearing one of the Cousins brothers — man, that’s nearly a pro wrestling tag team appellation if I ever heard one — yell “Go!” throughout the movie. Or that this was shot on S-VHS and edited VCR to VCR. But you know what? There are people with credits that take four hours filled with multiple CGI studios and none of them have the non-stop action and balls of this movie.

Axe mutilations! Men folded in half by demonic portals! Fisticuffs! Slugfests! Geysers of gore! A shotgun that obviously has lit fireworks emerging from it! Car chases with no permits! Hawaii! Sometimes people say “This movie has it all,” but this was the movie they were talking about.

This is the best movie I’ve seen all summer. If you’re a square who needs things like credits that make sense, continuity, a lack of tracking static, a clear picture and an actual story, well, you can go get fucked.

The blu ray is the first time this movie has ever been released on any disc format! Made from an archival 1991 SD master from original tapes, it also has:

  • New audio commentary with Brent and Blake Cousins
  • Interview: The Cousins Brothers Today
  • Alternate takes
  • Limited Edition Slipcase by The Dude Designs — FIRST PRESSING ONLY
  • Early short film: Full Metal Platoon
  • Slaughter Day theme song
  • Slaughter Day 2: Original short film (1989)
  • Slaughter Day 3: Original short film (1989)
  • Slaughter Day 4: original shirt films (1989)
  • Original trailer
  • Trailers for other Cousins films
  • Folded mini-poster
  • Four Page Liner notes by Tony Strauss of Weng’s Chop magazine
  • Stick your own’video store sticker sheet
  • Visual Vengeance trailers
  • Reversible Sleeve featuring original VHS art

For more details on the label and updates on new releases – as well as news on upcoming releases – follow Visual Vengeance on social media:

TWITTER @VisualVenVideo

INSTAGRAM visualvenvideo

FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/visualvenvideo

Killer Instinct (1991)

Tim Casey (Scott Valentine) is an up and coming lawyer who can’t get a break from district attorney John Doogan (Charles Napier) until the D.A.’s niece Deborah Walker (Vanessa Angel, Kingpin) helps him by blackmailing and killing Doogan and then seducing Tim. Meanwhile, like a giallo heroine, Tim thinks that he’s the one who did the murdering.

Directed and written by David Tausik, this was also known as Homicidal Impulse. The reason it looks so good is because the cinematographer was Jennifer Stoltz, who is really Janusz Kaminski. Within two years, he’d win an Academy Award for Best Cinematography for the movie Schindler’s List. He’s worked with Steven Spielberg ever since. He also directed 2000’s Lost Souls.

Scott Valentine is pretty wooden in this, except for the lovemaking scenes, which is probably what most people wanted to watch anyhow. Talia Balsam, Martin’s daughter, who was also in The Supernaturals, also shows up.

CANNON MONTH 2: Invader (1991)

Most of Invader was produced independently by director Philip Cook and producer John Ellis, since Cook’s previous film Beyond the Rising Moon wasn’t a big success. Cook shot all the inexpensive dialogue sequences and after showing them to Menahem Golan, he agreed to finance the rest of the movie.

It starts with four men running from military police. Three are shot and killed before the fourth sees a UFO and is destroyed by an energy weapon. This ends up being discovered by Frank McCall (Hans Bachmann), a reporter for the National Scandal. After sneaking into the base and watching a secret plane equipped with A.S.M.O.D.S, software, McCall is arrested by Captain Anders (A. Thomas Smith). Before he can take him in, men in black — six years before the movie, but they had been part of UFO culture for several years by then — take McCall and try to brainwash him. He’s saved at the last minute by Anders and Colonel Faraday (Rick Foucheux). In response, the men in black kill themselves.

A.S.M.O.D.S. was taken from an alien ship that crashed in New Mexico and it’s taking over the base. McCall and Anders escape in a jet. It has also built a giant robot named HARV that has absorbed America’s nationalist and wants to rain nuclear hell on China and Russia. Can they stop the robot and save the world?

When this was released on DVD in 2006, Cook went back in and fixed up some of the effects with CGI.

This was made two years before The X-Files aired on Fox. That’s pretty wild.

You can watch this on Tubi.

CANNON MONTH 2: Hot Under the Collar (1991)

Why yes, director and star Richard Gabai made a sequel to Virgin High and stuck with the same concept. He plays Jerry Kaminski again — the same name as the co-writer of this movie

According to David Wain on The Schlock Pit, all it took were a few stills from Gabai’s original movie to get him to sign off on a sequel. In this one, he has a new girlfriend named Monica (Melinda Clarke, who let’s face it, Tracy Dali was very cute, but this is Melinda Clarke) who is in a convent due to hypnosis gone wrong. Now our hero has to become a priest again and get his girl out of there.

This film also has a supreme meta moment for Cannon fans, as one of the nuns in training, Sherry (Karman Kruschke), confesses to Monica that she was thinking impure thoughts about Mel Gibson. Monica replies, “It’s fine. I was thinking about Menahem Golan.” Also Bruce-sploitation star (Bloody FistsFrom China with Death) Bruce Ly (also known as Yung Henry Yu) wanders in as himself and saves Gabai’s character, attacks the camera crew and then realizes that he’s in the wrong movie.

To top that: Burt Ward as the Pope, somehow topping his work in Gabai’s original.

And there’s a musical number!

I have no idea why this movie exists but I’m not sad that I watched it.

You can watch this on Tubi.

CANNON MONTH 2: Bloodmatch (1991)

As Michael Winner was to Cannon, Albert Pyun was to 21st Century Films under Menahem Golan.

In this film, Pyun is telling us the story of Brick Bardo (Thom Matthews, who has already been Tommy Jarvis in Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives and Freddy in Return of the Living Dead). He’s hunting down the people who killed his brother and the first is Davey O’Brien (Michel Qissi, Tong Po from Kickboxer) who he knocks out and ties up in the middle of the desert. He wants to know how his Brother was pushed into fixed kickboxing fights and murdered. In pain, Davey spills four names: Brent Caldwell (Dale Jacoby, No Retreat, No Surrender), Mike Johnson (Thunder Wolf, Shootfighter: To the Death), Billy Munoz (Benny “The Jet” Urquidez) and Connie Angel (Playboy Playmate for June 1985, Hope Marie Carlton, who is also Taryn in Andy Sidaris’ films Hard Ticket to HawaiiPicasso Trigger and Savage Beach).

Brent also has a paerner by the name of Max Manduke — man, can Pyun put names in his movies or what? I mean, Cyborg has every character named for a guitar — who sleeps with kickboxing champion Brent and knocks him out with ether while still on top of him. Mike is running from some hooligans and Max saves him to go to Vegas. Brick kidnaps Billy’s daughter. As for Connie, she’s now an executive for the World Martial Arts Council — is this a WMAC Masters crossover? — and has been sleeping around behind her husband’s back. Brick arrives, destroys her boytoy and then knocks her out. The team of Brick and Max bring all four to Vegas. There, a kickboxing ring will be the courtroom so that they can get the answers about Wood, the dead brother, who was forced to put over Connie in a man vs. woman match.

How serious are they? Well, they already killed the promoter and as a carny who has worked for way too many bad wrestling promoters, I am full behind making Brick the hero of this movie.

Brick lays out the rules: if Mike fights him an dwins, everyone gets to go free. If Mike dies, the trial continues. Mike puts up a decent battle but just as Brick is about to, well, drop a brick on him, Billy offers what he knows. Brick responds by informing him that he already killed Billy’s little girl. Billy goes shithouse and nearly kills Brick, but he’s too emotional. As he lies there nearly knocked out, Brick claims that he will spare Billy’s son’s life if he says who set up his brother. Billy says he doesn’t know, so Brick informs him that he plans on killing his son and then, to hammer his point home, he breaks Billy’s back, killing him.

Mike pulls a knife on Max but gets shot. Brent jumps in to fight and Connie realizes from his words that he’s the guilty one. Connie, still tied up, deciphers that Brent is the one who killed Wood Wilson. Brick tells Brent, who is begging for his life, that Wood didn’t beg. He knows because he was there. Meanwhile, a nearly dead Mike hands Connie the knife.

Connie frees herself and kills Max. She faces off with Brick and learns the truth: Brick is Wood.

Huh?

He was destroyed by Brent five years ago and changed his face through plastic surgery. Connie tells him the truth: she set everything up because she was in love with him and wanted to escape the fight underground, but Wood wanted nothing of her plan. So Brick/Wood reveals that Billy’s kids are alive and they’ll be set free if she wins a fight against him. So, to affirm that this is a 90s direct to video movie, he tries to sexually assault her, so she ends up killing him.

And that’s, well, a happy ending I guess.

The name Brick Bardo also gets used in a few other Pyun movies, like DollmanCyborg and Radioactive Dreams. And this was probably made — I agree with the always awesome Bulletproof Action — at the same time as Pyun’s Kickboxer 2: The Road Back, which also has Qissi and Jacoby in the cast and was also choreographed by Urquidez.

As a bonus, Vincent Klyn, who was Warchild in Point Break, Fender Tremolo in Cyborg and Wild One in Double Dragon, has a brief part in this.

You can watch this on Tubi.

CANNON MONTH 2: Killing Streets (1991)

Directed by Stephen Cornwall (who also made Philadelphia Experiment II), who co-wrote this with Andrew Deutsch (Mercenary FightersPlatoon LeaderRiver of Death) from a story by Menahem Golan, Killing Streets is about Chris Brandt (Michael Paré), who learns that his twin brother Craig has been possibly killed in action in Beirut. The government — in the form of diplomat Sandra Ross (Jennifer Runyon) and operative Charlie Wolff (Lorenzo Lamas) — has done nothing, so he decides to head over there himself and get answers.

Now, Chris is just a basketball coach, so he’s going to need some help. Luckily, Wolff comes to his side and he has an amazing cab driver named Gilad (Gabi Amrani) who is really going all out for that 5 star review. Oh yeah — being twins, Chris and Craig have a mental connection, so he knows his brother is still alive. So there’s that.

This is no Streets of Fire. But I mean, really what is? Paré is kind of wooden and double Paré means twice the wood. The last ten minutes, once everything starts blowing up real good and guns get shooting and terrorists begin to pay for their crimes, well, that’s what we wanted all along.

You can watch this on Tubi.

CANNON MONTH 2: Virgin High (1991)

Christy Murphy’s (Tracy Dali, who was June in Click: The Calendar Girl Killer) strict Catholic parents — Burt Ward is her dad — are worried that their daughter is having sex with her boyfriend Jerry (Richard Gabai, who directed and co-wrote the script; he also made Assault of the Party Nerds). They send her to the Academy of the Blessed Virgin, an all-girls religious school but Jerry shows up as a priest, more determined than ever to finally sleep with Christy.

This is a movie that dares have Linnea Quigley as a character who looks down on teens who have sex, so that’s definitely a twist I didn’t see coming. Michelle Bauer is also in the cast as sex education teacher Miss Bush and this was Leslie Mann’s first movie.

Somehow — and don’t worry, we’ll get to it — Jerry would return in Hot Under the Collar, another movie in which he had to become a priest and get the girl. One would think that this plan has no way of working but somehow Jerry was able to pull it off both times.

To learn more about this movie, I invite you to check out The Schlock Pit, where the great David Wain interviewed Gabai.

You can watch this on Tubi.

CANNON MONTH 2: The Human Shield (1991)

During the Iran–Iraq War, U.S. Marine Colonel Doug Matthews (Michael Dudikoff) is training the Iraqi troops only to learn that America is an evil empire that often surrounds itself with even worse allies in the pursuit of blood for oil. Oh wait. I mean that he learns that some of the Iraqis, led by Ali Dallal (Steve Inwood), who are killing innocent people. He challenges Ali to a fight and loses.

Five years later, America’s enemies have changed because “The past was alterable. The past never had been altered. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.” Iraq has invaded Kuwait and Doug’s diabetic teacher brother Ben (Tommy Hinkley) is held hostage so that the Iraqi leader — you guessed it, Ali Dallal — can get one more shot at killing Doug.

Doug has some help, a Kurd named Tanzil (Uri Gavriel) and his ex-girlfriend, Lila (Hanna Azoulay-Hasfari) who is now married to Ali. Ah, what a tangled web!

This was the last film of director Ted Post, who everyone knows made Hang ‘Em High, Magnum Force and Beneath the Planet of the Apes, but I celebrate his TV movies like Night Slaves, Do Not Fold, Spindle or Mutilate and Five Desperate Women as well as his Chuck Norris movie Good Guys Wear Black, the somewhat giallo Nightkill and, most essentially, The Baby.