QUEEN OF THE DAMNED (2002, 101 min.) on Netflix Instant for the first time.Ever watch a Donald Trump press conference/speech, then realize 15-20 minutes into it you haven't been paying attention and have blanked on everything he said? Even though I was wide awake and munching snacks, there were chunks in the middle of "Queen of the Damned" that came as a surprise to me when characters later talked about them happening earlier. Awaken-by-New-Orleans-rock-musicians moody vampire Lestat (Stuart Townsend) saved the life of curious-about-the-undead paranormal investigator Jessee (Marguerite Moreau) when the latter went looking for the former at London's Admiral's Arms vampire club? And original vampire queen Akasha (Aaliyah) torched that same club with all the vampires in it while tracking down Lestat to make him her servant? Nope, didn't remember any of that... until I rewound the movie and sure enough, there they were. Unfortunately there weren't missing scenes showing us how Lestat took the shitty musicians rehearsing in his old mansion and turned them into a famous rock band (with him as lead singer). Now that's a movie I'd like to see! ;-)There are truckloads of flaws in "QOTD" (budget special effects, too much plot crammed into too short a running time, no consistent tone from fusing two Anne Rice novels together, etc.), but the one that stands out most is how charisma-challenged the actors portraying our boring leads are. Stuart Townsend's Lestat is a rocker bad boy that loves to brag about being a vampire to everybody, and that literally is ALL the character development we get about him. Marguerite Moreau's Jesse is the adopted human descendant of an Immortal vampire (Lena Olin's Maharet) that chose to let her become a human orphan. If hearing these two's banal inner thought voice-overs (or equally dull conversations) doesn't make you appreciate the depth and character development of freaking "Twilight," nothing else will. Not even Aaliyah looking exotic and slaughtering her own kind can save this one. A-fucking-void, one of the worst movies I've ever seen for Junesploitation! or any other month. It's so bad it made me wish I'd watched Renny Harlin's "The Covenant" instead. :-O
Nanette (2018 - Hannah Gadsby)Okay, yes this is a Netflix Comedy Special, and not an exploitation movie. But let me just say. Hannah Gadsby kills it. This is an insanely special piece of stand up/one woman show. The whole hour and eight minutes is a deconstruction of comedy, art and story telling and what is behind it. I am in complete awe. There is a lot of rage in this, and Gadsby owns it. I had to watch it twice because there are things she does with timing, tension and call backs that is genius. It's so razor sharp, it's like slicing garlic with a razor blade. I am in awe of Hannah Gadsby right now. I had no intention of watching this for Lethal Ladies Day, a friend recommeneded it, and it is a piece of art that is going to stay with me for a while. It is furious, it is femninist, it fascinating. I don't care it's not a movie, it might be my favourite thing I have watched all year. This is something I want other people to watch. Not just for what she says, but for the shear skill that is on display.I have over sold this now, haven't I?
Love love LOVE Hannah! It’s great seeing Hannah Gadsby getting the attention and recognition she deserves. It’s a shame it’s possibly for her last comedy show :-(
Yeah, she is amazing. But if this was the show she ended on. It's going out with a bang. She burns her style of comedy to the ground.
Big Bad Mama (1974)Angie Dickson plays Big bad Mama and with her two daughters we follow them on a crime sprre during 1930s America. There is a lot of violence and a lot of nudity. They supported by Tom Skerritt as the good heart bank robber who help the girls and off course beds all three of them during the movie. Later on William Shatner joins in on the fun. They movie has a really cool bluegrass soundtrack, and it’s really well made for an exploitation movie. It’s all very explicit, and great fun.
Big Doll House (1971 - Jack Hill)It felt a little weird watching it after Hannah Gadsby. It took me a while to get into it's groove. But, it's Jack Hill, Pam Grier and Sid Haig. And no matter how sleazy it got, Jack Hill kept the whole thing at a ludicrous high pitched level. The whole movie feels like is about how many different ways it can get the woman into different kinds of fights. Which, is what you want in a Prison movie at the end of the day. Actually I really like Kathryn Loder as the warden, who I am pretty sure was an alien.
Julie Darling (1983, dir. Paul Nicholas)Julie(Isabelle Mejias) loves(and lusts, ewww) her father so much, she'll let her mother be killed in an attempted rape, and then blackmail the killer into murdering her step-mom(Sybil Danning). Also, Julie tries to kill her step-brother, too.This movie doesn't really dabble, so much as cannonball in the sleaze. The acting isn't subtle or great. Mejias(who fucking hates this movie) is creepy and scary. Danning doesn't really get to do much until the final scene. Also, there is some unintentional hilarity with Julie's "friend" who is supposed to be a teenager, but is dubbed by an actress that makes a choice. The movie also seems like it really, really doesn't like women.
Cherry 2000 (1988, dir. Steve De Jarnatt, First Time Viewing) In the futuristic year 2017 a man goes into the American hellscape in search of a replacement for his sex robot… so this is pretty much a documentary, right? All kidding aside, this movie is awesome. Melanie Griffith is great as the lethal lady tracker who navigates the wasteland. There's some great action and stunts (#RIPStunts), but all the little quirky touches make it special. My favorite being the cult leader who is a dangerous psycho, but encourages his henchmen with positivity to "be yourselves!". Highly Recommended.
America 3000 (1986, dir. David Engelbach)900 years after a nuclear war, women rule the world and keep the men as their slaves, until some manage to escape and happen upon the U.S. president's nuclear bunker, where they find weapons to help stage a revolt. While the battle rages on, one man tries to reach a diplomatic solution.Pretty much what you'd expect from a Cannon post-apocalyptic movie. They live in stone age conditions, but at least they've perfected makeup, hair products and razors. A couple of ruins, a burned-down bus and one highway sign signify the post-apocalyptic world. And of course English has evolved into a weird new-speak that goes in and out from scene to scene. The unnecessary narration (clearly added after the fact) annoys more than it illuminates.Bought this in a four-pack DVD for 10 bucks. I'd say it's worth the 2.50, but not much more.Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009, dir. Andrzej Bartkowiak)So I found myself with a couple of hours on my hands and nothing but a tablet to watch something on. Searched through Netflix and this is the best I could find. Have I mentioned that Finnish Netflix sucks?Why is this a Street Fighter movie? If you changed the names of the characters and the movie, nobody would suspect that it's based on the SF games. A couple of half decent fight scenes, but the story's just nonsense and the acting's not good. That's about it. Oh, and another Finnish connection. In an international meeting of mob bosses, one of them is played by a Finn, and he says a whole sentence in Finnish. Yay! But in the end credits the character's name is just "European Boss". Boo!All in all, a pretty disappointing day.
Finnish Netflix sucks about as much as American Netflix, particularly during Junesploitation! :-(
It was not always that way. When Netflix started its streaming service early in the decade, there were many genre and cult films available. I remember watching giallos, 1960s horror films, a lot of Roger Corman productions, an H.G. Lewis film, and even some bizarre sexploitation from the archives of Something Weird Video between 2011 and 2014. In the last few years, that kind of content has vanished. Maybe it is a reflection of the maturing of the streaming marketplace, with each service having a specific identity.
The Love Witch (2016) Dir: Anna BillerI know this is super popular on this here website, but I wanted to save it for today since I thought it would be appropriate. All I have to say is wow! What an experience.Many others have already covered the technical achievement that is this movie. Shot on 35mm, with a color palette that rivals Bava, this thing is just a visual feast. The acting is exceptional, accurately capturing the almost disconnected yet over-the-top style of Bava films. We need more Samantha Robinson in all movies! The only complaint I have is it could use a bit tighter editing and drop about 15 minutes. Definitely a high point of the month.
Ms. 45 (1981):Unacceptable. What happened to civility?
I think you may have just won Junesploitation.
Big Bad Mama II (1987)Angie Dickinson and her nubile teen daughters (who are still both nubile and teens, despite this being made 13 years after the original Big Bad Mama) are on the run and robbing banks in the depression era, this time with Robert Culp along for the ride as a reporter who believes they’re the story of the century. Culp seems a little embarrassed to be here, but I figure he’s been arrested by Columbo enough times that he deserves to have a little fun with Angie Dickinson (and even more fun with Monique Gabrielle, Dickinson’s uncredited body double).It’s all silly, pulpy fun, filled with enough violence and nudity to please even the most discerning Junesploitationer. It’s not quite as entertaining as the first one, but Dickinson seems to be enjoying herself, and that’s pretty infectious. It’s almost worth seeing just for the faces Danielle Brisebois and Julie McCullough (as Dickinson’s daughters) make when they’re firing tommy guns, they are fascinating.
GATOR BAIT (1974) Claudia Jennings plays a sexy swamp babe who hunts down and kills the scumbag men who attacked her family. And that’s it, that’s the whole movie. This is considered an exploitation classic, but there’s not as much sleaze as you’d think (though there is some). Honestly, it felt more like a Tarzan movie than anything else.GATOR BAIT 2: CAJUN JUSTICE (1988) Here’s yet another cheap sleaze flick that shamelessly (and lazily) rips off I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE scene-for-scene, word-for-word. Get this: The actress playing the victim/hero is the daughter of the movie’s two co-directors. Just imagine Thanksgiving at their house.
I started off with Gator Bait, but of all the deaths in the movie, Claudia Jennings is only actually responsible for one of them so the lady did not feel quite lethal enough for the purposes of today. To remedy that I also watched:The Devil's Nightmare (1971)While it takes an hour of build-up for the killing to happen (caused by a Succubus resulting from a family curse) there were a sufficient number of deaths here to suit my needs. In theory each death is supposed to be done in the manner of one of the seven deadly sins, but you know how it is. Gluttony and Greed present opportunities for somewhat interesting deaths, but by the time you get to wrath you're just pushing someone out a window.
Erika Blanc and the score is all that I remember of this particular film. There are better Eurohorror films.
The Villainess (2017), dir. Jung Byung-gilThis is a whole lot of movie, but what a movie! I’m still more bewildered than impressed by the first person stuff, but there’s no denying how visceral it all feels. I like how Kim Ok-bin not only kicks all kinds of ass, but there is a real character who feels things amongst all the craziness.
ILSA: SHE WOLF OF THE SS (1975, dir. Don Edmonds)In the annals of tasteless exploitation cinema, few films reach the level of tastelessness on display in Ilsa. Nazis, camps, experiments, torture, you get the drift. Even with this second watch, noticing more of the silliness of the production, the vicious tone of the film still got under my skin. Ilsa is a doctor and the commandant of an SS medical camp where she carries out research for the Third Reich and for her own projects. Women tend to be her test subjects and usually do not survive the experiments. Her sadism extends to the male workers in the camp, whom she uses for sexual purposes until she is tired of them. An unpleasant fate awaits them. In addition to the "experiments" and cruel treatment, there is a subplot involving an escape attempt. Director Edmonds took a trashy script and wrung out as much sleaze as he could from it, making, surprisingly, a competent film in the process. Ilsa is not the first example of nazisploitation, but it is one of the films, along with Salon Kitty, to set off a wave of copycat productions in the late 1970s in Italy. For anyone familiar with the 1960s American sitcom Hogan's Heroes, the outdoor set should look familiar.
Tragedy Girls (2017 dir. Tyler MacIntyre)Very dark comedy about two high-school girls who use their homicidal tendencies to get likes and followers for their online show. I enjoyed this for the most part, thanks to the great performances by Brianna Hildebrand and Alexandra Shipp and how sadly on the nose it is about toxic social media and school violence. However, I didn't love the ending. Hopefully, this will lead to bigger roles for Hildebrand and Shipp(you reading this, producers of "Deadpool" and "X-Men).
Gun Crazy (1950)Bonnie and Clyde before Bonnie and Clyde!I decided to check this one out after reading JB's article this morning. For some reason this was the most difficult day for me to choose a film. Pretty straight forward noir movie, but man I found it entertaining. I can't recommend it enough.
Thelma & Louise (1991, dir. Ridley Scott)No doubt everyone here has already seen this classic, but I just caught up to it today. What can I say? It's terrific. The cast is amazing and I love how it's shot. It's great to see these women who've been pushed around by asshole men all their lives breaking out and letting go. And isn't that what Lethal Ladies day is all about? ;)
Ginger Snaps (2000, dir. Fawcett)This movie was a thing of legend when I was a kid. I caught bits of it on Canadian cable and talked about it with friends, but I don't think I'd ever seen it in its entirety. Man, it's great. It has so many elements I love: coming-of-age, small town, allegory, high school, horror stuff. So good.
Truck Stop Women (1974, dir. Mark L. Lester)I really liked the car stunts, the songs peppered throughout, and the general atmosphere, but I didn't think this was much of a movie. I'm not sure I could describe much of the plot even just after watching it. Sorry, Mark Lester.
Hey I watched this one too! And you and I had the exact same reaction. I love Claudia Jennings, but this just didn't do much for me. The nihilistic ending was kind of a nice touch though.
Well, part of the problem is just how little Claudia Jennings is even in it, despite getting top billing. But yes, I dug the crazy ending.
Mankillers (1987)This is one of those movies that I distinctly remember seeing in the VHS rental place we frequented growing up. It looked too obviously like a Skin-amax flick, so we never asked to rent it. Much to my present surprise, I don’t remember a single nude scene (am I wrong?), just lots of big hair, angst and attitude, and prop guns. This Dirty Dozen of criminal beauties is assigned to take down a vicious assassin who has teamed up with a drug cartel in exchange for their freedom. I love how everything is played completely straight, even as these women march side by side into battle wearing khaki daisy dukes and big 80s manes with enough hair spray to launch them into orbit. When the violence starts, the movie doesn’t hold back. Despite everyone running around on sets that are nothing more than wooden shacks spray painted to look like rusting sheet metal, the gun play is surprisingly brutal and realistic for this type of film. Not the best thing I’ve seen this month, but I’m glad to finally know what’s behind the VHS box art and I’m glad it was better than I was expecting.
Five Loose Women (1974, dir. A.C. Stephen)Watchable trash that's at its best when it gets completely melodramatic and ridiculous. I found myself fast forwarding through the long, boring softcore scenes, which I assume is what the filmmakers intended.
Barbarian Queen (1985).It opens with a gratuitous rape scene. There's a lot of rape, and the bad guys are constantly referring to the possibility of more rape to come. The Queen eventually kills the bad guys with her vagina. Thankfully only clocked in at 70 minutes. Movie poster is awesome.I read that the director made some serious political movies critical of Argentinian government that were well received. He apparently funded those movies by making trash like Barbarian Queen.