Slasher Month: Sick-o-pathics (1995)

Okay, so let met get this straight in my head: This is a 55-minute, Italian-made anthology horror of three tales consisting of a killer sex doll, a killer handbag . . . and a parody of Joe D’amato’s Anthropophagous. And — being ever the good sport — Dardano Sacchetti, the writer of, well, a large portion of our favorite films at B&S About Movies, appears in the frames.

If it came out of Italy, Sacchetti, across his 1000 credits, wrote it — everything from The Cat o’ Nine Tales (1971), to Mario Bava’s A Bay of Blood (1971), to Giannetto De Rossi abysmal Cy Warrior (1989). Then, in between, Sac’s rattled off stuff like the incredible Shock (1977), the influential Lucio Fulci’s Zombie (1979), Cannibal Apocalypse (1980), and our most beloved apoc’ers 1990: The Bronx Warriors (1982), Exterminators of the Year 3000 (1983), and Rome 2072: The New Gladiators (1984).

Just wow. You made my youth worth living, Dardano!

But Sacchetti isn’t the only Italian icon, here: Underground horror greats Linnea Quigley (recently of The Good Things Devils Do), David Warbeck, and Sergio Stivaletti appear, as well as directors Joe d’Amato, Luigi Cozzi, and Lucio Fulci; the late maestro’s daughter, Antonella, has a cameo as a pregnant lady . . . whose fetus is blown out of her vagina into the air. Yes, it’s like that. No, really. And it’s all very dumb, and it’s all very cheap, and it’s all very sloppy . . . and it is extremely sick. So, hell yes, we love it!

Just wow. We never heard of this one. We never once seen it on a U.S. video shelf. And here we are, 26 years after the fact, lovin’ it, over on You Tube.

Look, if the trailer doesn’t sell it . . . turn in your B&S membership card. For we never knew ye. If it does, well, pair this up with Nigel the Psychopath for a Halloween double feature.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

SLASHER MONTH: Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1995)

Written and directed by Kim Henkel, who wrote the original film, this take on the Sawyer family has sadly been forgotten, but it had — as so many films do — a rocky creation, a two year period where it disappeared and features two big stars who pretty much don’t want anything to do with it. It’s also the last movie in the original timeline of the films before remake and reboot and reimagining became the constant status quo for chainsaw movies.

I can see why some people dislike this movie. After all, there’s now a thousand-year-old secret society paying off the Sawyers — who now choose pizza over human flesh — to kill people to keep the population in a constant state of fear. Or maybe they do it so people can achieve transcendence through that terror. Leatherface, who used to be a killing machine, now struggles with not only his ability to capture and murder the teenagers, but his sexuality, cross-dressing and screaming like a child.

He also does not use a chainsaw.

The real center of this story is Renée Zellweger’s Jenny, who Henkel wrote the story around, claiming that was about “her transformation, her refusal to shut up, to be silenced, to be victimized. And by extension her refusal to be oppressed.” In the director’s cut, it’s shown that she’s been abused her whole life, so the terror of the Sawyers leaves her unafraid.

Actually, they’re now the Slaughters, not the Sawyers, and led by the other big star in this production — he wasn’t at the time — Matthew McConaughey as Vilmer Slaughter, a maniac who combines the characteristics of the HItchhiker, Chop Top and Leatherface with a cybernetic leg and the need to self-scar himself. His wife Darla reveals much of the conspiracy theory in the film, except that she also claims that she has a bomb implanted in her skull and that Vilmer is from space.

This movie played 27 theaters, then Japan and then disappeared for two years, as CAA wanted nothing to ruin the success of McConaughey. It finally played in twenty cities in 1997. Yet it has its fans, as no less a Chainsaw fan as Joe Bob Briggs said, “This is the best horror film of the 90s” and called this “a flick so terrifying and brilliant that it makes the other two Chainsaw sequels seem like “After-School Specials.”

The end of the film features John Dugan, Grandfather from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Paul A. Partain, who was Franklin and Marilyn Burns, who was Sally. I love that she locks eyes with Kenny as the movie closes. I also adore that this movie has so many Texas bands, like “Der Einziger Weg” by Debbie Harry and Robert Jacks (who was Leather in this), plus songs by Roky Erickson and Daniel Johnston.

2021 Scarecrow Psychotronic Challenge Day 6: The Fishmen and Their Queen (1995)

6. IT CAME FROM THE SEA: Some kind of threat from below the brine.

Sergio Martino can do no wrong. Seriously, even when he’s combining footage from Island of the Fishmen AKA Screamers and 2019: After the Fall of New York into one TV movie, I can’t be anything but entertained.

Two teenagers are stuck in the hell that is the end of all things, with radioactive waste everywhere and barely a chance to survive against the horse-riding, masked and completely berserk (and great) Exterminator Warriors. When an old man named Socrates and his magic dog Lampo take them to the island of the fish people — who are ruled by a stunning queen (Ramona Badescu, who also sang the movie’s theme song) — everything seems like it’s about to get better,

Man, I love the scene where one of the kids waves to one of the mer-men and they wave back in an action that was meant in anger in the original film.

Well, it turns out that the queen has enslaved the fishmen and is trying to destroy a masked dwarf that the kids save along with Selva the jungle girl, whose sister — and rightful queen of the island — has been turned into a wooden statue. That means that our heroes must set free the fishmen and save the transformed ruler.

This movie makes less sense than any other late-period Martino movie and I’m counting Uppercut Man and American Tiger in that. This is as dumb as it gets, ending with a spaceship leaving Earth for no reason other than there was no crane that lowered a god in either of the two movies strip-mined to make this one.

Speaking of American Tiger AKA American Rickshaw, the first time I went to Scarecrow, I wanted to see just how deep their library was. Even before Cauldron Films released the film on blu ray, Scarecrow had it on VHS. That made me believe in them.

Final Exit (1995)

Stop me if you’ve heard this on before. A Nobel Peace Prize winner, a convicted murderer and two professing Christian teenagers meet St. Peter at the Pearly Gates and, well, make a movie. Final Exit is an “evangelistic drama will confront your viewers with life’s most important choices: Jesus or Satan? Heaven or Hell?”

Oh man, yeah. This is why I watch movies.

As a kid, I repeatedly encounter Jack Chick tracts that, if anything, pushed me away from the path that Mr. Chick wanted me on. This Was Your Life is a really good overall view of the world of Chick: a man has led an ordinary life full of sin, wasted what God gave him and is thrown into Hell and he’ll never get out. Variations on this theme appear, telling us that even the clergy — especially Catholics — can still go to Hell. Reading so many of these so often as a kid led to the man that I am today.

In case you haven’t been amazed by what the Christian side of the world endorses these days, this movie will set you straight. Of course, the serial killer will go to Heaven because he made a very specific prayer the night before he was executed and he would have never found Heaven without the death penalty. The Nobel prize winner did amazing, wonderful, astounding things in his life and ended war and saved lives, but he was selfish and did it all for himself and not God, so he’s going to burn.

And then the movie reminds you that even though this man stopped some wars, there will still be more wars. Also, one of the serial killer’s victims is innocent, but never found God, so they show her being removed from Hell for just a moment before pushing her back in.

Writer/director Danny Carrales has made a ton of movies like this, moving up from SOV quality to actual films. His latest one, 2018’s Beyond the Darkness — and you just know that I love that he used the name of a Joe D’Amato movie — has lighsaber-looking things on the cover, which means I need to track it down and do a full deep dive. And oh yeah, Carrales is also a professor at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University.

Some people ask me, “How did our country get like this?” We always were. It just used to be tracts, SOV videos and the 700 Club wasn’t watched by everyone and shared like social media. It’s someone’s POV, no matter how much you disagree with it. And you know, no matter what you do, you’re going to Hell.

Immortal (1995)

So, after reviewing the North Carolina-shot rock flicks Rockin’ Road Trip (that featured Marietta, Georgia’s Guadalcanal Diary) and Bandwagon (shot by and featuring members of Raleigh, North Carolina’s the Connells) for our latest “Rock ‘n’ Roll Week,” I recalled this SOV vampire obscurity also shot in North Carolina — and it stars another of that state’s alt-rock ’90s musicians: Greg Humphreys of Mammoth Records’ Dillon Fence, who hailed from the city of Chapel Hill.

Yeah, I know. “Who?” you ask. “Where?”

Oh, Chapel Hill and Raleigh-Durham North Carolina. What might have been. Damn, you Pacific Northwest, with your Seattle to Portland flannel and Doc Martins tomfoolery.

The scene is now! Get the Athens out of here, Stipe.

The scene fermenting in that southern local college town dates back to the early ’80s, when all ears learned towards Athens, Georgia — the city that unleashed ubiquitous college rockers R.E.M on our pre-MTV radios. Then, with MTV in full swing, we came to discover Jason & the Scorchers (“Absolutely, Sweet Marie”), and then, with grunge mania in full swing — as record companies searched for instant “Nirvana” — a band that named their album after a toilet manufacture and their band name inspired by TV’s CHiPs, Seven Mary Three, continues to rock our classic rock radios with their one-hit wonder, “Cumbersome.” And, in keeping with the grunge era: one of alt-rocks most respected bands — connected to the history of Nirvana, the “Dirty Nirvana,” if you will — the Melvins, signed with the label that gave us these sounds . . . and those heard in this movie.

That label was Mammoth Records based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, a label noted as the first independent label (before Epitaph hit it big with the Offspring and that annoying “Come Out and Play” drek that leaves me wanting the loathsome Spin Doctors . . . and I loath them, as well) to produce not one, but two platinum records. The first, of course, was American Standard by Seven Mary Three. The second was by Chapel Hill’s Squirrel Nut Zippers, which released six albums with Mammoth from 1994 to 2000; their second album, Hot, released in 1996 — as the alt-rock craze inspired by Nirvana began to cool (and Mammoth ended their distribution deal with Atlantic Records; they were briefly under the RCA umbrella) — became Mammoth’s second platinum record. If you picked up copies of the soundtrack to The Crow (1994) and The Crow: City of Angels (1996), you heard the sounds of Mammoth’s Machines of Loving Grace and Seven Mary Three alongside the bigger hit sounds of Nine Inch Nails, Rage Against the Machine, Hole, and White Zombie. The mid-90s U.S. TV series My So Called Life spun the likes of the label’s Frente!, the Chainsaw Kittens, and Juliana Hatfield.

Other Mammoth artists you may know came courtesy of the oft-played MTV’s 120 Minutes spins of the Chainsaw Kittens, while the channel’s Headbanger’s Ball spun Fu Manchu. And, back in the days of the mainstream press needing grungy fodder for their pages, you may have come to know Juliana Hatfield (who recorded for the label with the Blake Babies; the band turned into the very cool Antenna when she went solo) as result of her relationship with the Lemonheads’ Evan Dando; they were, sort of, a safer Kurt and Courtney-light, if you will. (In addition to those bands, my personal favorites from the Mammoth roster, which I had the pleasure of spinning my alt-radio days, were Dash Rip Rock, Machines of Loving Grace, Vanilla Trainwreck, and . . . Dillon Fence.) Unable to reach the heights of most the label’s other artists — or fellow scenesters the Connells (who made it to late night network television, to no avail), Dillon Fence, as lead by Greg Humphreys, released three (really fine) albums: Rosemary (1992), Outside In (1993), and the one that should have broke then nationally, Living Room Scene (1994), which fell under Atlantic’s East/West alt-imprint through Mammoth.

Okay. Okay. I know. Get to the movie, already, R.D.

If you haven’t figured it out, writer/director Walter Michael Bost (with an assist from the one-and-gone Steven D. White) was raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, (another scenester hotspot) and went to college at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, majoring in Radio, Television and Motion Pictures and Business Administration.

From his humble beginnings with Immortal, Bost developed a still-going-strong career working in various capacities — mostly in the sound departments — for over 70 films and TV series, most notably U.S. TV’s Felicity, The District, Veronica Mars, and iZombie. He returned to writing and directing with the recent streaming series, The New 30.

So, as with the Connells’ John Schultz logically working within his (then) means, writing what he knew, and around locations he knew he could secure — and with his friends-on-the-cheap cast and crew (including Greg Humphreys of Dillon Fence; Mammoth label head Jay Faires provided the soundtrack) — Bost decided, we’re guessing, to combine two of his loves: the North Carolina music scene he haunted and the vampire movies that haunted his youth. (Did you sleep with towels around your neck, Walt? I sure as hell did.)

Of course, as with A Matter of Degrees and Bandwagon before it, when news of this North Carolina-indie rockin’ with all of the alt-rock bands we loved (Archers of Loaf! Reverb-o-Ray! Dillon Fence! Squirrel Nut Zippers! — each who appear on stage in the film) hit the alt-rock presses (Alternative Press, B-Side, Option), myself and my fellow radio, roadie, and club rats went looking for it.

Were we disappointed with this tale of indie rock vampires?

But not as much as we were with Rockin’ Road Trip (the music is better, here), but we still didn’t dig this rock ‘n vamp romp as much as A Matter of Degrees (the quintessential college-rock film and soundtrack) and Bandwagon. Courtesy of its SOV production values (a genre we jam on at B&S; we have a full, packed week of SOVs coming in September) — and the fact that it’s about vampires — I pair this rock ‘n’ horror piece with writer-director Blair Murphy’s pretty fine Jugular Wine (1994), which, again, because of the alt-press coverage afforded the film due to Henry Rollins appearing in the film (acting, not musically), we grunge-kiddies searched it out.

Jugular Wine — even with its admitted, but charming, weaknesses — is clearly the better film. Depending on one’s Daltonness down at the Road House, opinions vary: Immortal is either an insightful, slow burn — or a too-long lesson in boredom that could have benefited from a tighter, 80-minute home video cut. However, one has to consider the music-basis of the film, so the music segments are greatly extended vs. most rock films of its ilk. And, while the B&S crew is more understanding when it comes to the realms of against-the-budget shot-on-video films, it’s a production style that doesn’t appeal to everyone. So, are music heavy segments awash in hazy-to-muddy video tape-lighting your jam?

There’s more grungy alt-rock flicks to be discovered with our “Exploring: 50 Gen-X Grunge Films of the Alt-Rock ‘90s” featurette.

Dex Dregs (Andrew Taylor, who also crewed and wrote music for the film) is a Kurt Cobainesque guitarist trying to make his bones (pardon the pun) on North Carolina’s college music scene. As with George A. Romero’s Martin (1978), this film’s — in my opinion — raison d’être, Dex runs with that film’s Martin Mathias: a trouble young man who believes himself to be a Bram Stoker-like vampire. Or is it a figment of his mind?

As Dax tries to make his mark on the music scene amid the mortals, he comes to discover music is no longer his addiction or his key to immorality — his quest for fresh human blood is his reason for being. As he makes his music (in what I see as an AIDS or cocaine addiction allegory; again, think Cobain), Dax struggles to keep his lusts in check and hidden from his bandmates and his girlfriend Linda (Edith Snow, aka Meredith Leigh Sause, currently in production on the indie horror, Prom Queen) . . . until he succumbs and feeds off a groupie and one of his guitar students — and a movie star who returns to his home town (Greg Humphreys). Will Dax find a “cure” courtesy of Wiley Wrestling? The mysterious albino (Frank J. Aard, later of the abysmal 2008 remake of 1986’s April Fools Day), who was the lone survivor of a horrific train wreck (the “113 Die” you see in the theatrical one-sheet), also wants his gold pocket (with a W.W inscription) in Dax’s possession, returned.

Upon succumbing to his lust and feeding off Linda, his addiction destroying his love, Dax takes to the streets playing for pocket change. Then a strange woman walks by and tosses an engraved pocket watch into his guitar case — inscribed with the initials “D.D.”

Courtesy of cwustman/eBay. Good luck finding a copy of the Permanent/Spectrum soundtrack. Sounds like another Rocktober Blood hornswoggle, to me.

This is an SOV’er that is impossible to find on VHS (well, it used to be, before http reared its ugly bytes), and you can forget about the streams, free or pay, but the fine folks at Brain Damage Films resurrected this lost rock ‘n’ horror flick to DVD in 2007 — in a directors cut. Now, the VHS original runs at — what I feel — a too long one hour and forty minutes. As of press time, we’ve been unable to determine if the DVD reissue is longer or shorter than the original 1995 VHS issue.

You can find DVD copies at online retailers, such as Amazon and Best Buy. VHS copies are available on eBay/eBay. Brain Damage no longer lists the DVD in their catalog, so you’re at the mercy of used online copies.

Since the Squirrel Nut Zippers hit platinum after the films release, they’re now put to the forefront in the film’s reboot marketing.

And, sorry, Chum. There’s no trailers, clips, or music from the film in the online realms to share. But Googling any of the bands, as well as Mammoth Records, will expose you to the music behind the Chapel Hill and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina scene that inspired the film.

You say you’re interest in more film shot in Chapel Hill, North Carolina? Well, you can dig into them courtesy of this IMDB filming locations list for the city. And here’s an IMDB list for Raleigh. And, in the mother of all lists, Wikipedia has a list of everything shot in the state. Be sure to swing by Greg Humpheys’s blogspot/social media portal and say “hi,” and let him know we remember him over at B&S About Movies. His new 2021 solo album, Spanish Steps, is out now.

About the Author: You can read the music and film reviews of R.D Francis on Medium and learn more about his work on Facebook.

Run Like Hell (1995)

How in the hell did I become the defacto biographer on the career Robert Rundle? There’s no place to run: I accept my hell in life.

The rumor is this appeared on the USA Network in the ’80s? Nah, that has to be urban legend.

But I shouldn’t complain, as I am fortunate that the B&S About Movies’ staff has been unable — thank god — to locate a copy of Rundle’s fourth film, Vampire Hunter (1994). That Linnea Quigley starrer seems not to exist or at the very least it was never completed/released. The IMBb page is a barren wasteland and no VHS nor DVD greys pop up on a Google search. And that’s a shame (no, really) because watching another Linnea Quigley film (we recently reviewed 2020’s The Good The Things Devils Do) is something to strive for.

However, Rundle’s second film, Dark Harvest (1992) is out there. That one is written and directed by James I. Nicholson, the writer behind Armand Gazarian’s Badlanders, which we scratched off our apoc list a few months back. But it’s not a Rundle joint, per say, since he only produced it. Besides, I just don’t have the strength for another movie about another group of 30-year old college kids running afoul of a possessed scarecrow on an ancient Indian burial ground. I just can’t. I have my celluloid masochist limits, after all. Maybe if Rundle wrote and/or directed it, I’d take the plunge. . . .

Of course, we reviewed Rundle’s debut as a writer and director, the mess than shoved me down this defacto hell hole in the first place: Cybernator (1991). And, because we had a Ponch, a Stringfellow, and a Don Stroud in the frames, we went ahead and gave Rundle’s second writing and directing effort — and third film, overall — The Divine Enforcer (1992), a tosser. And a toss. . . .

For Rundle’s sixth and final film — not counting his three shorts, Hell’s Paradox, The Vessel, and Killswitch (shot in ’96, ’03, and ’05; probably created to entice investors) — Raw Energy (1995), he earned a co-writer’s credit alongside side director Donald G. Jackson.

Uh, no. I won’t. And can’t (thank god), as Sam the Bossman is B&S About Movies’ defacto Donald G. Jackson archivist — and one thorny crown of the Rundle variety on my head is one thorny crown too many. Besides: a movie about virtual reality serial killers on a Z-budget? No way. Not even when the great William Smith appears in a put-a-name-on-the-VHS sleeve role.

And that bring us to this: my final, for all eternity and ever more, Robert Rundle film review.

In this, his fifth film, which also served as his fourth directing credit, Robert Z’Dar, returning from his walk-on in The Divine Enforcer, stars in Run Like Hell: a film that took Rundle — and two more screenwriters, Steven Stein and Alan Hall: a duo that wrote nothing since <smart ass remark about them never writing another film, removed> — to wrangle to completion.

Okay, so Robert Z’Dar is the only person we recognize here and care about, as the rest of the cast look — and act — like porn actors trying to go mainstream-legit, and probably are. Unlike Cybernator, with its bumbling time-projection into a Bladerunneresque “future” filled with ’80s Japanese-import cars, brick buildings, and ’50s-era Aunt Martha’s furnishings, Rundle had the good sense to get out of the big city and into the budget-sensible desert — so we can swallow the fact that we are in a 2008 on a 1995 costume budgeted-version of (skimpy n’ scanty) ’80s punk rockers.

So, if you know your apocs: a budgetary voiceover war n’ sickness-catastrophe has ravaged the Earth. The main culprit for man’s downfall: da wimin — single, indepenent women, in particular. So the U.S government declares them as the single most existential threat — trumping white supremacy, voter I.D. supression, and anything anti-green in Rundle’s brave new world. So, to the chagrin of AOC and the Squad: the women are locked up. And guess who the maniacal warden is: everyone’s favorite ex-Maniac Cop.

Yee-haw. We got ourselves a shot-on-video T&A apocalypse!

Ugh, finally . . . the voiceover is done. Let’s head off to the showers with four babes — Elsa, Sally, Darla, and Shotgun — in thongs. Well, that’s done: prison break time. Oh, no, not another “Paradise City” to strive for, again. Hey, not if Warden Z’Dar’s cheapjack, motorcycle ridin’ (wooden-acting) cyborg bounty hunter-assassin (well, the actor is “trying” to be robotic, after all) has anything to say about it.

What’s this?

A lone-wolf desert Ninja warrior who’s been able to fight off the mutants to make a life for himself in a wasteland junk yard? Well, time for the inept fight choreography at the old factory as chicks in thongs learn how to fight and fire-up chainsaws for the big showdown with our motorcycle-helmeted cyborg and Robert we-love-him-but-he-ain’t-no-Humongous Z’Dar because this ain’t no Mad Max . . . or America 3000 . . . Robot Holocaust . . . or, I never thought I’d say this: Fire Fight . . . for that matter. Hey, at least Mr. Miyagi of the Wastelands helped the girls lose the up-the-crack thongs for pairs of shorty-shorts and plaid schoolgirl skirts, and finally harnessed their racks in halter tops and tied-off tee-shirts.

Sorry, kiddies. There’s no online freebie streams (lucky me, joy, joy: working the contacts, I got hold of an VHS copy). But we did find this nifty “Under Three Minutes” version of the film to enjoy: if the three minute scene below doesn’t ward you off, first. Or, if you skip both, you can check out this touching six-minute tribute on the career of Robert Z’Dar set to the tune of Mötley Crüe’s “Primal Scream” — that’s infinitely better than the actual film he stars in, here.

Yeah, you hate to rag on the guys that are just passion-trying, but after having four films — Cybernator, Dark Harvest, The Divine Enforcer, and Vampire Hunter (if it was even made at all) — under your belt, shouldn’t your films get better as you progress, learning more about the craft with each film?

Uh, did you really think I’d suffer the fool that is Raw Energy, after this hour and twenty minutes of non-T&A apoc titillation, one rife with clumsy cinematography (I think that’s what it’s called) and worse, well, editing . . . I think?

Uh, no. I am running like hell from from this hand basket of VHS flotsam.

And so concludes B&S About Movies wrangling the career of Robert Rundle in our digital hand basket. Amen.

The resume:

  1. Cybernator (1991) — writer/director
  2. Dark Harvest (1992) — producer
  3. The Divine Enforcer (1992) — writer/director
  4. Vampire Hunter (1994) — director
  5. Run Like Hell (1995) — writer/director
  6. Raw Energy (1995) — co-writer/producer

Robert — then a young Robbie Rundle — got his start in the business an actor on the early Martin Kove (Rice Girl) and James Houghton (prolific U.S. daytime-drama actor and writer, but also Purple People Eater, More American Graffiti, and I Wanna Hold Your Hand) Warner Bros./CBS-TV series Code R, which ran for 13 episodes from January to June 1977. The series was concerned with a South California island’s Emergency Services team.

You can learn more about Code R via its Wikipedia page as well at Nostalgia Central. You can watch the show’s opening and bloopers reel on You Tube.

Hats off, Mr. Rundle. It’s filmmakers, such as yourself, that makes B&S About Movies, fun.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

Philippine War Week: Karate Raider (1995)

Editor’s Note: This review previous ran on June 20, 2021, as part of our “Ron Marchini Week.” We’ve brought it back for our first “Philippines War Week” of films. yes. We said, “first” week. As usual, we go overboard, so we’ll have a second week of films come December 5 to the 10th.

Jake Turner (Ronald L. Marchini, who co-wrote and co-directed this) is on a rescue mission to liberate Jennifer Boyden, a DEA agent and the daughter of his old sergeant, who is being held by Pike (Joe Meyer, who has been in a bunch of Marchini’s films), an American drug lord in the jungles of Colombia. I mean, what was he doing anyway? Punching people for money?

Joe Estevez is in this, in case you need to know about the quality level of this film. This is a movie made for those with the kind of resolution that can watch five Philippines-shot war movies in a day and tell each and every one of them apart.

Also known as Fight to Win, this was also given the completely wrong title of Karate Commando: Jungle Wolf 3, a sequel in name only. In Greece, it was called Hamos stin agria zougla (Doom in the Wild Jungle). Now that’s a movie title. And yes, we’ve reviewed the first Jungle Wolf and it’s sequel, which is also known as Return Fire, just to add to the “sequel” confusion.

Perhaps the nuttiest thing about this movie is that the co-writer was Joe Carnahan, who went on to make Smokin’ AcesThe A-TeamBoss Level and The Grey, as well as the upcoming Western version of The Raid. Or is it? Because this is a movie that has Burt Ward as an evil doctor who helps out the drug kingpins and it’s just a cameo. And it’s also a film that was only released in the Netherlands, which must have appreciated an Indiana Jones-referencing title 24 years after Raiders of the Lost Ark.

You can watch this on YouTube. Trust me, this is not Delta Force 3.

Man of the House (1995)

At some point, Jonathan Taylor Thomas was a thing. So was Chevy Chase. And I guess so was Farrah Fawcett. So imagine all of them in a movie where JTT wants his mom to never marry again and Chevy wants to be the man that breaks that cycle of her never finding the right stepfather for her son and you have Man of the House.

Becca loves this movie and asks to watch it frequently, which I figure has to do with the fact that we have a major age gap. Yet I watch it with her and enjoy how much she enjoys it.

The battles between would-be father and son continue as they both join the Minotauk Indian Guides led by Chet Bronski (George Wendt). And oh yeah — a mobster and his son that Chevy’s character sent to prison both want revenge.

Somehow, Disney made this movie without cleaing C+C Music Factory’s “Gonna Make You Sweat” and Enigma’s “Return to Innocence” for the soundtrack. I have no idea how that happens.

Director James Orr also made They Call Me Bruce, a movie that Becca would absolutely refuse to watch with me, as well as Mr. Destiny, a movie that she has also watch in the multiple dozens of times. Orr also dated Fawcett until he was convicted of misdemeanor battery after attacking her for allegedly refusing his marriage proposal.

Ron Marchini Week Wrap Up!

Phew. We did it! Twelve Ron Marchini films in two days. You know the drill! Yee-haw, let’s round ’em up!

Born in California and rising through the U.S. Army’s ranks to become a drill sergeant, in his civilian life, Ron Marchini earned the distinction as the best defensive fighter in the U.S.; by 1972, he was ranked the third best fighter in the country. Upon winning several worldwide tournaments, and with Robert Clouse’s directing success igniting a worldwide martial arts film craze with Enter the Dragon (1973), the South Asian film industry beckoned.

After making his debut in 1974’s Murder in the Orient, Marchini began a long friendship with filmmaker Paul Kyriazi, who directed Ron in his next film, the epic Death Machines, then later, in the first of Ron’s two appearances as post-apoc law officer John Travis, in Omega Cop.

Ron also began a long friendship with Leo Fong (Kill Point) after their co-staring in Murder in the Orient; after his retirement from the film industry — after making eleven dramatic-action films and one documentary — Ron concentrated on training and writing martial arts books with Leo, as well as becoming a go-to arts teacher. Today, he’s a successful California almond farmer.

In the annals of martial arts tournaments, Marchini is remembered as Chuck Norris’s first tournament win (The May 1964 Takayuki Kubota’s All-Stars Tournament in Los Angeles, California) by defeating Marchini by a half a point. Another of Chuck’s old opponents, Tony Tullener, who beat Norris in the ring three times, pursued his own acting career with the William Riead-directed Scorpion.

You can learn more about Ron Marchini with his biography at USAdojo.com. An interview at The Action Elite, with Ron’s friend and Death Machines director Paul Kyriazi, also offers deeper insights.


Ron, second from right, with Chuck Norris, shaking hands, 1965. Courtesy of Ken Osbourne/Facebook.
Courtesy of USADojo.com.

The Flicks!

The Reviews!

New Gladiators (1973)
Murder in the Orient (1974)
Death Machines (1976)
Dragon’s Quest (1983)
Ninja Warriors (1985)
Forgotten Warrior (1986)
Jungle Wolf (1986)
Return Fire (1988)
Arctic Warriors (1989)
Omega Cop (1990)
Karate Cop (1991)
Karate Raider (1995)

Black tee-shirt image courtesy of Spreadshirt. Art work/text by B&S About Movies.

We love ya, Ron!

About the Review Authors: Sam Panico is the founder, Chief Cook and Bottle Washer, and editor-in-chief of B&S About Movies. You can visit him on Lettebox’d and Twitter. R.D Francis is the grease bit scrubber, dumpster pad technician, and staff writer at B&S About Movies. You can visit him on Facebook.


Karate Raider (1995)

Ron Marchini Banner 1

Jake Turner (Ronald L. Marchini, who co-wrote and co-directed this) is on a rescue mission to liberate Jennifer Boyden, a DEA agent and the daughter of his old sergeant, who is being held by Pike (Joe Meyer, who has been in a bunch of Marchini’s films), an American drug lord in the jungles of Colombia. I mean, what was he doing anyway? Punching people for money?

Joe Estevez is in this, in case you need to know about the quality level of this film. This is a movie made for those with the kind of resolution that can watch five Philippines-shot war movies in a day and tell each and every one of them apart.

Also known as Fight to Win, this was also given the completely wrong title of Karate Commando: Jungle Wolf 3, a sequel in name only. In Greece, it was called Hamos stin agria zougla (Doom in the Wild Jungle). Now that’s a movie title. And yes, we’ve reviewed the first Jungle Wolf and it’s sequel, which is also known as Return Fire, just to add to the “sequel” confusion.

Perhaps the nuttiest thing about this movie is that the co-writer was Joe Carnahan, who went on to make Smokin’ AcesThe A-TeamBoss Level and The Grey, as well as the upcoming Western version of The Raid. Or is it? Because this is a movie that has Burt Ward as an evil doctor who helps out the drug kingpins and it’s just a cameo. And it’s also a film that was only released in the Netherlands, which must have appreciated an Indiana Jones-referencing title 24 years after Raiders of the Lost Ark.

You can watch this on YouTube. Trust me, this is not Delta Force 3.