Monday, June 28, 2021

My 5 Favorite Junesploitation 2021 Discoveries

 by Patrick Bromley

Some highlights from the wildest month of the year!
Junesploitation is almost over. Can you believe it? The month always flies by, but this year seemed to go by even faster than usual. I watched a lot of movies this month -- at least one for every theme day, if not more, plus a whole bunch that weren't tied to the theme -- so it was hard to narrow down five standouts. I also rewatched a lot of stuff I had already seen because I needed the comfort of familiarity some days more than others, limiting the potential for discovery by about 50%. Still, I'm happy with the new-to-me stuff I did see and had a great Junesploitation overall. I hope all of you are having a great one too!

Here are five of my favorites, in no particular order:

1. Night Killer (1989, dir. Claudio Fragasso) 
This one, released in some territories at the time as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3, comes from the always reliable and oft-incompetent team of Claudio Fragasso and Bruno Mattei. Fragasso thought he was making a pyschosexual thriller; producers brought Mattei onboard to add some gore, which mostly consists of a gloved fist punching through torsos again and again. The result is gloriously insane. We watched it for '80s Horror day, which is a little controversial because while the Blu-ray lists the release year as 1989, other outlets list it as 1990. Whatever. I'm just happy to have it in my life. 
On Blu-ray from Severin Films.

2. Action U.S.A. (1989, dir. John Stewart)
This was the first movie Erika and I watched for this year's #Junesploitation (on '80s Action day) and it did not disappoint. Insane explosions, dangerous stunts, amazing car chases, tough guy dialogue -- this one's got it all. The plot is simple: two FBI agents are put in charge of protecting a woman whose boyfriend is murdered. The execution is where this one excels. It was put on Blu-ray as part of Vinegar Syndrome's Archive collection, but I believe that one has already sold out. MVD is releasing their own special edition if you want to pick it up (and you should want to pick it up).

3. Fearless Hyena (1979, dir. Jackie Chan)
The first movie to be credited to Jackie Chan as director finds him learning a secret form of kung fu that comes in handy when his grandfather's enemy comes gunning for him. While not as overtly comic as some of my favorite Jackie Chan movies, this one features great fights and a simple story that works because Jackie is as likable as ever. It reminded me a lot of The Mystery of Chess Boxing, which I mean as a compliment. On Blu-ray from 88 Films.

4. Drive (1997, dir. Steve Wang)
For years I've been hearing about this movie from friends, first from Josh Pearlman (a prince) and most recently from action aficionado Michael Scott. I finally see why. Mark Dacascos rules as the lead badass, Kadeem Hardison gives good comic relief, but really this is Brittany Murphy's movie despite only appearing in the middle section. I love the energy of the fight sequences and the way director Steve Wang photographs them -- heightened and a little cartoonish in a good way. This a real gem of '90s action cinema and I'm sorry for not seeing it sooner. (I think. I might have seen it before. I can't remember.) On Blu-ray from MVD Entertainment.

5. Tickle Me (1965, dir. Norman Taurog)
One of several subgenres I dove further into this June was Elvis movies. I've seen many (most) of them already, but still had a few blind spots. That's what Free Space days are for! (I also watched a lot of Jerry Lewis and Clint Eastwood movies this month, so that's where I'm at.) This is a "slight" Elvis movie, one which probably won't considered a favorite by even fans of his questionable filmography, but I'm a sucker because I love most of them. His chemistry with co-star Jocelyn Lane is good, Creature From the Black Lagoon's Julie Adams appears in a supporting role, and there's a Scooby-Doo vibe to the plot, which involves some missing treasure and a couple of ne'er do wells trying to scare Elvis off. None of the songs are especially memorable but the screenwriters, veterans of The Three Stooges, add a lot of goofiness and slapstick to the proceedings to make it stand out. I can see myself going back to this one a lot.

What were your Junesploitation highlights? Just a few more days to go!


  1. There has been a lot of variety to my watches this year. Some of my highlights are:

    Blindman (1971) - A quirky spaghetti western about a blind gunman. It follows its own storytelling logic and has Ringo Starr as a bad guy.

    Wonder Women (1973) - Highly entertaining Filipino exploitation about kidnapped athletes and a mysterious island run by Nancy Kwan. It has felt good getting to some schlocky movies over the past week.

    The Spiral Staircase (1946) - A first-rate thriller about a small-town serial killer targeting handicapped women. The cinematography alone makes it worth a watch.

    John Woo - I have finally dived into the world of Woo with The Killer and the wonderfully bonkers Face/Off. Some amazing action sequences were watched.

    Ninja Wars (1982) - A convoluted hero tale from Japan that does not completely make sense but is a joy to watch. Definitely one of the prettiest films I have watched this month.

    Elvis is the star of the month for July on Turner Classic Movies. I am planning to catch up with at least a few of his films.

  2. My highlights have definitely been Midsommar, 10 to Midnight, Satanic Panic, Police Story, Four Brothers, Deadly Prey, and Deadliest Prey.

    1. Watched six movies today, and three of those definitely belong on this list (I saved a few heavy hitters for today): Forbidden Planet, Fantastic Planet, and Dangerous Men.

  3. Love this. I haven’t seen Night Killer, but I know the others are fantastic choices. Tickle Me was actually a childhood favorite because I always loved the haunted house sequence at the end. haha

  4. A F-this Newbie's General Junesploitation Discoveries:

    1) First And Foremost: OMG...this event ROCKS..ROCKS!! This will be an annual tradition for me.

    2) Power of the People: The F-this gang is a wonderful collection of: 1) Movie FANATICS (i love how some folk have multiple entries for each day!!), 2) Hilarious reviewers, 3) Folks sharing diverse experience and movie choices, 4) smart cookies!

    3) Movie Go-To Guide: In the near and distant future, having access to the archive of daily chats will be a MASSIVELY helpful suggestion guide when i cant decide on what to watch. Being able to select from the genre's and get some really informed suggestions is priceless!

    4) The Schlock Power Of Youtube: Like alot of ya, im a big big fan of physical media. In the last year or so i have also grown to really dig the availability of flicks thru streaming services. HOWEVER when it comes to obscure schlock/sploitation titles...sometimes neither of those avenues provide the flick you want. Enter Youtube. Youtube has proved invaluable for connecting me with so many of those "awesome VHS cover! cheezy/bad/wtf movie!" options.

    5) "And So Shines A Good Deed In a Weary World" -wonka: This comment comes up alot with F-This but its super applicable for Junesploitation: everyone in the chats and on twitter treats this site, its content, and feedback/reviews/suggestions of others with respect and positivity. These days, and in the landscape of the web, that is so unbelievably rare. Great people with a shared love of cinema. {sighs and smiles}. Y'all are rockstars.

    Peace .n. Lights, Camera, Action!


    1. So glad you're sticking with us!! Thanks for all the kind words.

    2. Thanks Bruv! (channeling a little bit of Kingsmen energy today).

  5. My 5
    Trapped (1982)Henry Silva Day
    The Battle Wizard(1977) Revenge
    Vigilante Force(1976) Vigilantes
    Hard Target 2(2016) Scott Adkins Day
    The Paper Tigers(2020) Kung Fu

  6. I was a little scared at first because my first few Junesploitation watches were absolute trash. Luckily it started to even out. Here's my top five discoveries so far:

    Extreme Prejudice (1987, Cops!)
    Violation (2020, Revenge!)
    Top Secret! (1984, 80s Comedy!)
    Party Hard, Die Young (2018, Slashers!)
    Undisputed III: Redemption (2010, Scott Adkins!)

    With three days remaining and the movies I have on my schedule, I suspect at least one of those will sneak into the top five.

  7. 1) The Amusement Park. Not so much a discovery because it obviously got press and was something a lot of us here would expect to be worth watching but it's still hard to take away the joy of seeing some new (old) Romero.

    2. Ojuju, and by extension Nigerian cinema. The movie itself was as good as it could be within budget constraints, but I'm glad I've started to dive into such a big blindspot.

    3. A Score to Settle. Fantastic performance by Cage that helps carry the movie.

    4. Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw. I'll say it again, "holy shit, Lynda Carter!". Whole new appreciation gained for her.

    5. The last 10-15 mins of Slumber Party Massacre 2. The movie as a whole is pretty uneven, but damned if they don't go for... something at the end there.

    1. Love both A SCORE TO SETTLE and Lynda Carter in BJ&tO. Great discoveries!

  8. Night Killer sounds great! Searching that one out for sure.

    1. Looks like it's free on Tubi right now. Shudder sometimes picks up these Severin titles, too, so you never know.

  9. My 5:

    1. Vigilante Force - vigilante day. Favorite of the month for sure. A true 70s exploitation gem if you ask me (and user Munkee above too!)

    2. The Wild Life - 80s comedy day. Chris Penn Fast Times style comedy that really, really works. Loved it!

    3. Spellbinder - 80s horror day. Kelly Preston and witches. It's awesome.

    4. Recoil - A true Junesploitation watch and find for me bc otherwise I never woulda watched it. Stone Cold was very good in this and it led me to a director discovery of Terry Miles - a current director who seems bent on making ALL the exploitation genre films.

    5. Highwaymen - 2004 one with Jim Caveizal directed by the man who directed The Hitcher (original) and its very in line with that. Carsploitation but watched early this morning. It's awesome.

    Been such a fun month of movie watching. Watched the most Junesploitation titles I ever have with some other stuff peppered in. I still have a few I NEED to get to.

    1. Yes, big fan of Highwaymen too. Love that film.

  10. I’ve been having an awesome Junesploitation. Watching mostly new-to-me stuff and have managed to avoid any longh streaks of meh. Favorite discoveries are:

    The Bird With The Crystal Plumage
    The Victim
    Emma Mae
    Forbidden World

    Love reading all the reviews and articles. I’m so grateful for everyone who contributes and participates!

  11. Highlights for me have been The French Connection, Lady Snowblood, Bad Day at Black Rock, Lifeforce, and Deep Red. This is my first time hitting every category and everything In watching us a first time viewing. So far only two or three are movies I wouldn't recommend (for the experience if nothing else - looking at you, The Apple).

  12. Hello everybody, it was my second junesploitation this year, and I tried to recruit some of my friends. I love this fest so much that I try to import this tradition here in France. (I hope you'll forgive my poor english.)

    So this year, I tried to rewatch less movies and it was almost all discoveries for me.

    My Highlights were:
    Stone Cold (90s Action!): God, it was so gooooooood! I watched it on youtube, because sadly this movie isn't commercialized in France. But I loved it so much that I bought an imported german bluray right away. I needed this piece of cinematic glory in my collection.

    The Psychic (Fulci!): I loved it. One of the classiest movie from the maestro and what a great score.

    In the line of duty part 3 (Kung Fu!) a really great and crazed action film from Hong Kong, hyper kinetic, bloody and violent.

    Weapons of deaths (Henry Silva!): an amazing and incredible kind of team up between a Dirty Harry-like cop and a ragtag of street kids a la Little Rascals against the Napoli mob. Ultra violent but filled with comedic scenes, this is an odd but great film.

    To Be Twenty (1978 ‘Avere vent'anni’, Free Space!) a picture directed by the great Fernando Di Leo.
    Marketed like an italian sexy comedy, this is so much more. In its uncut version, this tale about a pair of young,hot, and pissed off ladies with nothing to lose is a real politic statement against patriarchy. You'll never forget the ending. This is dark and bleak, beware.

    Boyka: Undisputed 4 (Scott Adkins!) I had no idea of the magnificence of Scott Adkins. I fell in love and watched a lot of his flicks on my free space days. Thank you Patrick !

    And last but not least, I discovered Voyage of the rock aliens on Musical day and the adventue of Ford Fairlane on 90s action day, and words fail me.

    I love you all guys. Long live F!ThisMovie !

  13. At a glance, I think I watched a little over a hundred movies this month. Fortunately, there really wasn't a lot I disliked out of what I watched, except it makes it even harder to pare through them all to find only five utter favorites. But here are some highlights from a whole month of exploitation movie love for this exploitation movie lover:


    Scott Adkins Day! Before Scott Adkins Day, I'd seen Ninja and Ninja II, and enjoyed them, but it wasn't until I saw the F This Movie! sanctioned showing of Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning that I realized I should be giving more Scott Adkins movies a chance. Well, Scott Adkins Day did it. Patrick, you made me a bigger fan of Scott Adkins than I was before.
    The Demon Murder Case was something I only found out existed in the middle of Junesploitation, after I'd seen Conjuring 3. The irony is, when I was watching Conjuring 3, I thought it felt like a TV movie, and The Demon Murder Case is a TV movie. Andy Griffith is the Ed Warren proxy and Kevin Bacon is the one on trial.
    Ken Wahl liking two of my tweets was pretty damn cool.
    Cop is awesome and should have a bigger reputation if it doesn't already.
    Malone is Burt Reynolds' Road House without the bars or the bouncing, but pain still don't hurt. Ben Gazzara wishes he was Cliff Robertson.
    Silent Night Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out! is batshit crazy, and All Through the House is fucking brutal.
    Battle Creek Brawl > Hard Times (I think)
    Blood Quantum should be a long form series.
    Seoul Station is bleak as fuck, but that bleak ending can be considered a dark form of retribution, too.
    Nina Forever is Burying the Ex without the New Bev. If it had the New Bev (and Alexandra Daddario) it would be even better.
    No Man's Land proves Point Break ain't the only movie The Fast & The Furious is indebted to.
    The Bloodthirsty Trilogy loves Hammer and I love the Bloodthirsty Trilogy.
    1. Fit to Kill is fun as hell, and 2. I need to see more Julie Strain/Andy Sedaris movies.
    Did I hallucinate Voyage of the Rock Aliens?
    Aside from its bonkers opening, The Devil's Honey is a bittersweet story about loss, and I was not expecting that. It hit me especially hard whilst going through the breakup of a relationship and friendship. Thanks, Fulci.
    It's been 36 years since the last time I saw The Company of Wolves. It played even better for me now. It's a very well done Grimm's Fairy Tale.
    I think The Case of the Bloody Iris has become my favorite Edwige Fenech film.
    I never anticipated I'd enjoy the bonkers insanity of The Adventures of Hercules. Hercules turns into a constellation, and that constellation gets into a sword fight. Yes. That's what I said.
    I loved Sharkey's Machine, but I may have loved it more if I hadn't watched Malone.
    Unmasked Part 25 is a gem. This movie isn't only a spoof. It manages to get to the heart of Jason Voorhees (and nobody had to eat it).