by Anthony King
I may be on a family vacation as we speak, but Junesploitation rages on. I may be writing this huddled up in the corner of a hotel lobby while parents chase after unwieldy children with grandparents lagging behind, but duty (and love for this site) calls. I may have gotten the worst sleep of my life last night, but my scrambled brain and bloodshot eyes are exactly what exploitation movies require. In the brief moments I've stolen away from my family, I'd like to share with you what Junesploitation has thrown my way in the past week. The good, the bad, and the worse.
For the past couple years I'd planned on watching Menahem Golan's The Apple (1980) for Cannon day, though for one reason or another I'd opted for more traditional Cannon fare. But this year I pulled the trigger and traveled to the future of 1994 to do the BIM. Wow, what a piece of shit this movie is. Here's my theory: people who enjoy actual musical theatre despise The Apple, and people who can't stand actual musicals love The Apple. Listen, I'm down for non-traditional musicals any day of the week. The Blues Brothers? Phantom of the Paradise? Masterpieces in their own ways. The Apple is a failed experiment soaked in the chemicals used to make crystal meth. Everybody in this movie looks like they've been kidnapped and are being forced to act at gunpoint. I imagine that if the cameras turned 180 degrees we'd see actors' loved ones bound and gagged with duct tape being held hostage while whatever The Apple is unfolds before them. I can appreciate a movie loaded with camp, of which this one has none. While The Apple isn't boring, it's just not good, and not ironically bad, which is shocking to me that I don't find anything enjoyable about it. Ah well, you can't win 'em all during Junesploitation...The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978). For whatever reason I'd never finished this movie. It seemed every time I pushed play something kid-related would come up. So this time I locked myself in a room and dedicated two hours to uninterrupted Shaw Bros. brilliance. Gordon Liu, star of my favorite kung fu movie, Dirty Ho (1979), is in top form, showcasing his lightning-quick hand and foot movements, but also his weapons work. Matt Bledsoe tweeted during Kung Fu day that he gets a comforting feeling from Shaw Bros. movies he couldn't explain. I get the same exact feeling, and I think it's because of a couple different factors. 1.) Many of the same actors appear in Shaw movies so we become accustomed to spending time with them. 2.) The sets and soundstages on which they're built have a beautiful charm to them. The colors pop. They seem like sets you could spend hours just exploring all the minute details. The 36th Chamber is a movie full of comfort. If you haven't seen it, include it in your Revenge! day viewing.
Coming up next week:
Day 15: Rip-offs! – The Dungeonmaster (1984)
Day 16: Yakuza! – Cops vs. Thugs (1975)
Day 17: Fulci! – Zombie 3 (1988)
Day 18: 90s Comedy! – Eight Days a Week (1997)
Day 19: Blaxploitation! – Foxy Brown (1974)
Day 20: Free Space! – American Rickshaw (1989)
Day 21: Aliens! – Arena (1989)
Ok, back to family time. See you next week!