Archive for george eastman

RABID DOGS (1974) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in Italy, movies with tags , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2013 by goregirl

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I woke up Saturday morning with the Bava Flu. It is an affliction with only one cure; watching a Mario Bava film. My fever was pretty intense however so I had to make it a triple bill! First in the queue was Bava’s 1974 Crime Thriller Rabid Dogs. This is not my first viewing of Bava’s film, but it had been several years since I last watched this sleazy, violent Euro-Crime gem.

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After some very cool psychedelic credits Bava takes us right into the action mid-crime. A quartet of criminals escape the scene of a messy robbery with a bag full of money but not before one of them is shot dead. After killing a female hostage and threatening the life of a second the police allow the remaining trio to flee. With the second hostage in tow they manage to elude the police. An unfortunate man waiting at a traffic light with his sick child becomes the criminal’s new getaway vehicle.

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Boom! Bava doesn’t mess around! We get bloody violence immediately! A shootout, a stabbing, a car chase and innocent people dead in the first twenty minutes. The pacing becomes a slow and steady boil for the balance of the film. At this point we get a more intimate portrait of our douchebag criminals. These guys are bad ass pieces of shite. The ringleader Dottore is the most level-headed of the group and appears to be the brains behind the operation. His control is limited where his two cohorts are concerned. Bisturi also known as the Blade gets stabby when he is cornered and Tretadue also known as Thirty-two is a loose cannon who loses his mind at the sight of breasts. Both men are pretty unsavoury,

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Rabid Dogs is a claustrophobic journey through sweaty men hell. These are three seriously sweaty guys; you can almost smell their body odor! They terrorize their involuntary driver Riccardo with threats against him and his sick child. Riccardo is so bloody calm it is almost a bit unnerving. His sick child spends the entire film sleeping. It is Maria their female hostage who takes the most punishment. There is one indignity Maria suffers that is particularly ugly. Maria needless to say is pretty hysterical and does a lot of crying and begging for her freedom inspiring the men to nickname her Greta Garbo. Maria has no misconceptions about what the trio are capable of after watching Bisturi stab her friend to death before being dragged along on this joy ride.

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Rabid Dogs is well-cast and everyone is top-notch in their roles. George Eastman (aka Luigi Montefiori) who plays Tretadue (Thirty-two) however is a particular standout. George Eastman is so good at playing bat-shit crazy sons of bitches! He’s tall as a building and built like a brick wall and he’s got some crazy eyes!! I can hear that crazy bastard cackling right now!

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A good chunk of Rabid Dogs takes place inside of a car; Bava builds some great intensity within these confines. The cloying and sweaty constraints of a vehicle are the perfect compliment. Each scene has the potential to burst into violence or a random psychotic episode. These three men are teetering on the edge, desperate for a way out. Wanted for robbery and murder getting caught is not an option.

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Rabid Dogs is one of my favourite Euro-Crime flicks; it is well made, perfectly cast and acted, intense, violent, sleazy not to mention a cool soundtrack from Stelvio Cipriani. It also has a killer finale!! Rabid Dogs gets my highest of recommendations; a perfect score.

Check out my friend David’s delightful screencaps for Rabid Dogs here.

Dungeon Rating: 5/5

Directed By: Mario Bava

Starring: Riccardo Cucciolla, Don Backy, Maurice Poli, Lea Lander, George Eastman, Maria Fabbri, Erika Dario

BABA YAGA (1973) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, Italy, movies with tags , , , , , on June 15, 2010 by goregirl

Director Corrado Farina’s film Baba Yaga was inspired by the comic strip art of Guido Crepex’s surreal and sexy adventures of Valentina. The result is a highly visual, completely original and delightful bit of Euro-trash.

Fashion photographer Valentina Rosselli is walking home late night when she sees a car speeding towards a dog in the road. She jumps forward to save the dog and is nearly hit herself. The driver of the car is a middle-aged woman who apologizes and insists she be allowed to drive Valentina home. The woman tells Valentina their meeting was pre-ordained. When the strange woman stops in front of her building she lifts Valentina’s skirt snatching the garter clip from her belt. She divulges to Valentina that she needs something personal from her and that she will return it tomorrow. Intrigued and disturbed Valentina crashes for the night and has a series of strange and vivid dreams. As promised, Baba Yaga returns Valentina’s garter clip and suggests she place it back on her thigh for her. Her awkward advance is thwarted when Valentina intimates she is not wearing her belt. After fondling her camera she invites Valentina to her old home to take some photographs and leaves her address. Valentina decides to go check out the odd eccentric woman’s house and while she is there is given a disturbing looking doll dressed in bondage gear as “protection”. Valentina’s life becomes a series of peculiar dreams, strange occurrences and even death. She has no choice but to confront Baba Yaga to put an end to the nightmare.

Baba Yaga is a kinky, sexy surreal collection of erotic and fetish inspired dreams of executions, Nazi soldiers and dark holes with no bottom. Her reality becomes intertwined with her dreams and the lines between what is real and not become blurred. Her camera becomes a deadly weapon when it literally starts “shooting” her models. The bondage doll given to her by Baba Yaga becomes a woman and pokes a model with her hairpin. Valentina herself is chained and whipped by the kinky doll-woman! That’s just a few of the delightfully demented images you’ll be treated to! Valentina’s hip pad has almost as much style as the woman herself. Valentina has the coolest wardrobe ever and a great Louise Brooks bob. Baba Yaga’s old house has a dank, dark creepy dungeon-like atmosphere and contains an endless collection of trinkets and old junk. There is a parade of scantily-clad and naked woman on display throughout, just boobs though, no bush allowed by the Italian censors! The film oozes with the anti-establishment sentiment, sexual awakening and pop culture sensibility of the decade. It’s like flipping through some hip and kinky fashion photographer’s portfolio. There’s no gore or graphic violence whatsoever but there is plenty else of interest to look at. I am not sure I would even classify this as horror. Although the film is named after a witch, its ties to Baba Yaga the child-eating witch of Slavic folklore are loose at best. It’s really Valentina’s story though not Baba Yaga’s.

Farina had his share of problems with the making of Baba Yaga. Actress Anne Heywood who was hired to play Baba Yaga pulled out at the last minute for a role in the film Trader Horn. Farina went on vacation after the film was completed and came back to find his film had been cut and re-edited in his absence. Outraged, he took his case public and the studio surrendered the film to him, but pieces remained unsalvageable. The Italian censors ended up cutting out a couple more pieces, including Carroll Baker’s nude scene. Had I not watched the special features on the DVD I wouldn’t have known the difference. The film doesn’t exactly follow a straightforward logical narrative anyway. Isabelle De Funès who plays Valentina Rosselli is very watchable and does an excellent job bringing the character to life. I’m not sure I have seen George Eastman play the straight man before. He plays Valentina’s love interest Arno Treves and although he doesn’t do a bad job, he seemed a bit awkward. In lieu of Ms. Heywood pulling out Farina needed to find a new Baba Yaga. Carroll Baker is given a funky makeup job to make her round face appear gaunter and it works okay, but the woman herself was a bit lifeless. She is a bit of a weak link here, but not unbearably so.

I certainly don’t profess to know anything about comic books. Being ignorant to this bit of pop culture, I really only know the superhero stuff. I had never heard of Guido Crepax until a couple years ago when I first rented Baba Yaga (this is my second viewing of the film). Crepax started his career in comics in the 60’s and was a forerunner of European adult comics. His amazing black and white strip is a study of dreams with an erotic vibe and Valentina’s sexy and intriguing adventures range the genres. It is fantastic, beautifully surreal stuff! The awesome pictures I included here came from the DVD-Rom from Blue Underground. They so beautifully illustrate the films vibe and it gives a wee taste of Crepax’s work.

It is a damn shame Farina only did two feature films! After watching Baba Yaga I immediately put his first film They’ve Changed Faces in my queue. The DVD from Blue Underground only offers a dubbed version of Baba Yaga and includes an interview with director Corrado Farina, a tribute piece dedicated to Guido Crepax about comic book art, a picture gallery, a trailer for the film and the aforementioned DVD-Rom comic to film comparison art. Baba Yaga is a stylish, surreal, strange, sexy and beautiful 70’s pop art time capsule. Baba Yaga is Euro-trash at its most entertaining and is a grand nod to the awesome comic art of Guido Crepax. Highly recommended!

Dungeon Rating: 4/5

Directed By: Corrado Farina

Starring: Carroll Baker, George Eastman, Isabelle De Funès, Ely Galleani