Archive for guido alberti

THE CYNIC, THE RAT AND THE FIST (1977) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in Italy, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2013 by goregirl

The Cynic, The Rat and The Fist, among other Umberto Lenzi non-horror titles has been on my to see list for quite a while. Apparently the film is a sequel to Rome Armed to the Teeth, which I have not seen, but I sure the hell will be making a priority now! I like a lot of Lenzi’s 70s stuff so I was pretty psyched about this Eurocrime entry. The Cynic, The Rat and The Fist is an ass-kicking, fast-paced, action-packed crime thriller full of macho male bravado; 70s style! There is a crazy amount of beatings in this film! There are beatings and then more beatings. There is some shootings and torture too! Three brutal dudes each with their own unique modus operandi; and the cop character is the one called “The Fist“! The Cynic, the Rat and The Fist is one of the most entertaining Eurocrime flicks I’ve seen yet!

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Detective Leonardo Tanzi is on sabbatical when Luigi “The Chinaman” Maietto escapes from prison. It was Tanzi’s testimony that landed “The Chinaman” in the slammer. Maietto is not out of prison long before Tanzi is shot. Tanzi was hit in the shoulder but the police tell the media that Tanzi died from his gun wound. Tanzi intends on going undercover and unleashing his own special kind of justice.

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Detective Leonardo Tanzi is retired or on vacation or something, I am not sure it is ever quite explained. In any case, Tanzi is still involved with the police department. His superior suggests he leave town for a while until things “cool down“. Of course Tanzi has no intention of leaving town. Needless to say, he is making all kinds of trouble and beating the snot out of guys right, left and center. He is a cop that is more than happy to bend the rules! There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that Leonardo Tanzi represents “The Fist” in this story. He pummels a record amount of guys! Luigi “The Chinaman” Maietto is a small time crook but he is looking to get in on the big deal. He has a reputation for being efficient, brutal and not ratting out his cohorts. “The Chinaman” gets a visit from big crime boss Frank Di Maggio and the two make a deal. Strength in numbers man! It is hard to say whether or not Maietto is “The Rat” or “The Cynic“. I am going with “The Cynic” for this guy; he was definitely cynical (but he is also a bit of a rat). Finally we have Frank Di Maggio who has the least amount of screen time of the trio. Too bad, this guy is a treat! He has a penchant for torture and letting his two big dogs maul his victims to death! Three strong personalities made for some compelling and entertaining viewing!

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Leonardo Tanzi is sweetly 70s with his classic stache, the poses, and the rocking ensembles. Maurizio Merli plays the cop with a serious grudge to the tee. Luigi “The Chinaman” Maietto made me laugh often with his smart-ass come backs but does he really have enough clout to take over Rome’s criminal underworld? Tomas Milian is perfect as the cynical and fearless criminal, I always enjoy Milian’s nasty characters and here he steals every scene he is in! I would have liked to have seen more Frank Di Maggio. As mentioned previously, Di Maggio does not get much screen time really. He is a consummate professional and only mildly psychotic; I am not at all convinced that he was a bigger rat than “The Chinaman” but cynicism wasn’t really his thing, so I have to give him “The Rat” moniker. John Saxon is as great as ever and completely convinces as Di Maggio! Umberto Lenzi does a nice job with the photography and the copious fight scenes are all pretty well choreographed as far as I was concerned. It has a bullet pace and a ridiculous amount of action sequences. The violence is not overly graphic but there is an absolute shitload of it! Kicking, punching, slapping, shooting, leg-breaking, maulings; you name it! The language is largely bombastic but that is all part of the fun! The Cynic, The Rat and The Fist also has a great score from Franco Micalizzi that I hope to add to my collection! There is only one scene that overstays its welcome just a little. Tanzi and an elderly surveillance/gadget expert go all James Bond to get into a building to disarm the security system. It wasn’t a bad scene by any means, it just felt a little longer than necessary and the fact it is crammed in between loads of action sequences does not help.

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The Cynic, The Rat and The Fist is an exciting, violent Eurocrime flick with top notch performances, an insane amount of action and a great score. One of my favourite Eurocrime flicks yet!! Highly recommended!

Dungeon Rating: 4/5

Directed By: Umberto Lenzi

Starring: Maurizio Merli, John Saxon, Tomas Milian, Renzo Palmer, Gabriella Lepori, Claudio Undari, Bruno Corazzari, Marco Guglielmi, Gabriella Giorgelli, Guido Alberti, Aldo Massasso, Brigitte Petronio, Gianni Musy, Gianfilippo Carcano, Dante Cleri

SPASMO (1974) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, Italy, movies with tags , , , , , , , on March 25, 2010 by goregirl

Before Lenzi got gory, he directed a handful of Giallo’s in the 1970’s that were pretty entertaining. Lenzi’s films ‘Seven Bloodstained Orchids’ and ‘Eyeball’ follow a classic Giallo formula but he refuses to play by the rules with ‘Spasmo’. ‘Spasmo’ has no gore, little nudity and a low body count. There isn’t even a maniac/stalker in black gloves attacking women! Not only is ‘Spasmo’ lacking the blood, gore and sex, it has glaring flaws in other areas. Despite this, it still managed to snare me in its trippy web.

Christian Bauman has a bizarre random encounter on the beach with a woman named Barbara who suddenly disappears. Later that evening he tracks her down and the two go back to Barbara’s motel room. Barbara insists he shave off his beard and Christian obeys. While in the bathroom an armed man breaks in and attacks him. A struggle occurs and Christian ends up shooting his attacker. This is the beginning of a strange and unsettling journey down a twisted path of mannequins in death poses, questionable sanity, disappearing corpses and of course, murder!

Clearly Lenzi was trying to make a horror film of a more psychological nature. However, if you are going for the cerebral, give your characters some intelligent things to say! The dialog in this film is pretty damn bad! My husband and I laughed a few times at the idiotic things the characters say to one another. And what is with Lenzi and the word whore anyway?!? The dialog is definitely the films weakest element. ‘Spasmo’ starts out a little too slowly and I was left shaking my head at the bizarre series of information I had been fed during the films first 30 minutes. It seemed like Lenzi was going to leave me numerous plot holes to step in but by the time the films reaches its most satisfying conclusion the mystery is solved.

The mannequin is one my all-time favourite props! This isn’t the first Giallo to use mannequins but very few use them as prominently as ‘Spasmo’. Mannequins are found hanging from nooses, lying on the ground bloodied, occasionally with a knife stuck in it, and always in varied states of undress. You will wonder often what the hell the relevance of the mannequins is and you will be rewarded…eventually. The films final scene ties it all up beautifully. The mannequins were the real stars in ‘Spasmo’ but there are some decent performances among the human cast also. Suzy Kendall attempts sex kitten somewhat awkwardly but isn’t unlikeable. Robert Hoffmann does a lot of fussing, fretting and rubbing his head as Christian Bauman but he’s a likeable enough sort. The two have good chemistry together and are quite watchable. I usually enjoy Giallo regular Ivan Rassimov and he is good in this as Fritz Bauman, but has way too little dialog and screen time. There is a peculiar parade of characters that come and go but don’t leave all that much of an impression. The only exception being the striking Monica Monet who plays Clorinda; but it’s more the visual of Monet you’ll remember rather than her dialog or acting.

Visuals in the film are rather toned down and outside of the aforementioned lack of nudity and gore, even set pieces and locations are mostly unmemorable. At times ‘Spasmo’ is like a car accident you can’t look away from. But it also has moments of brilliance. The last quarter of the film is fantastic! A great reveal an exciting finale and there are a couple of awesome surprise twists. If you don’t take the film too seriously it is actually a lot of fun. You have to kick back and enjoy the ride on this one, accept the bad dialog and move on. It really does come together in the end!

Sadly, the Shriek Show version I rented was dubbed. With the exception of Godzilla films I detest dubbing. I don’t feel like I’m getting the full experience if I can’t watch the film in its original language. There is also a bit of ambient noise on the dubbing, it never drowns out the dialog and you stop noticing it after a while. While Morricone’s score is a bit on the conservative side it is still quite effective and the sound for the music is crystal clear. The transfer of the film itself looked pretty much flawless as far as I was concerned. There is a short interview with Umberto Lenzi, a poster/still gallery and trailers for other Lenzi films and one Dallamano film. An interesting fact from the Lenzi interview; Lucio Fulci was originally set to be the director on Spasmo. Hardcore Giallo fans will probably not be overly impressed with this one, and gorehounds will certainly be disappointed. But if you like off the wall flicks that march to the beat of their own drummer, this weird little mess of a film has some highly entertaining moments and a great finale worth sticking around for. Recommended!

Dungeon Rating: 3.5/5

Directed By: Umberto Lenzi

Starring: Robert Hoffmann, Suzy Kendall, Ivan Rassimov, Adolfo Lastretti, Monica Monet, Guido Alberti, Mario Erpichini, Franco Silva, Maria Pia Conte