So, a small town is invaded by a life form from space that looks a lot like a giant multiple headed lamprey with a penchant for making slug like babies (lots of them), and eating the locals. A group of four geeky science nerd teens and a young boy do their best to save the town (and most likely the world) from this infestation. It’s kind of weird that three of our movies had similar themes and creatures (Slither, Night of the Creeps and Deadly Spawn), not in that they are alien infestation movies (it’s kind of the theme), but the fact that the three creatures in the mentioned movies all propagate by releasing slug like grubs, liked to enter through the mouth id possible, and the main “mother” creature found someplace out of the way to grow and develop. Well, if they copied each other, this is the progenitor of all of ‘em. A silly movie, Deadly Spawn stays entertaining, and cheezy which is perfect for me. Lots of campiness to go around, and some really questionable actions by it’s characters may make you moan at times…but don’;t let that stop you from enjoying the movie. A true representative of it’s time, the early 1980’s, it still stands out as a fun, throwback to the creature features of the 50’s and 60’s…
Watch this film, my friends!
So, this week is dedicated to Alien Based Horror movies. I expect a few possible turkeys, but I believe it’s going to be fun anyway. I am a fan of Science Fiction (Sci-Fi) and horror, and the two mix reasonable well at the hands of competent film makers… and some horribly awesome films when created by bad film makers. I hope we get to see both sides of the coin this week.
We haven’t filled the roster of films yet, so if you have a suggestion or two, feel free to send them on over by using this link:
There are very few actors with a career as long as Eastwood’s, and for the ones that do, very few can say they made as many good movies as Eastwood has. From the toughest damned cowboy you’ve met to an Orang-utan owning prize fighter to the toughest damned cop you’ve ever seen, Clint has rocked it.
I know the blog is called I Like Bad Movies, but if you’ve read it long enough, you know that the truth is, I just plain like movies. So, don’t go thinking these are bad movies, because they are not – you’ll know when I watch a bad movie, and I don’t think that’s happening this week.
Yep, this is going to be a damned good week.
In 1971’s Godzilla Vs. Hedorah , Japan has a new enemy: a new creature that has evolved to live on the pollutants of our modern society. Not only that, but it is producing deadly pollution itself, incapacitating and humans that may get close. This is a disaster!!! Oh, and guess what? Godzilla doesn’t like to see other monsters on it’s own turf. Yeah, Godzilla and Hedorah are heading for a showdown. I pity the Japanese that get caught in the middle!
So, this is a time when the Godzilla character was transitioning from a bad guy who seemed to get kicks from beating the crap out of Tokyo and other Japanese cities, to a protector of the Japanese people. That doesn’t mean that you won’t be injured or killed if you get too close: Godzilla is a Big Picture kind of monster, and may stomp the occasional person or building on the sidelines. Heck – you might even get drowned in a big piece of polluted monster if you are not careful – should have stayed away from Godzilla, idiot…
Godzilla Vs Hedorah is actually one of my favourite Godzilla movies, and I really like the three stage design of the Hedorah – pretty cool, and add a neat, cheezy transition effect between the stages and you’ve got gold. Add to that the hippiness of the movie – lots of trippy music and psychedelic gels, and some trippy animated series really reminds you of when this movie was made – and that in my opinion is a very good and neat thing. Without a doubt, I would say that this is the most unique Godzilla movie that I have watched (so far, at least). Should you watch it? You should watch ALL Godzilla movies (with the exception of the Mathew Broderick version), but you should especially watch this Godzilla movie.
Check out the trailer below:
1963’s King Kong vs Godzilla is a movie that I saw as a very young child and I tell you, it stuck with me through the years. Heck, I thought this movie was in black and white – turns out I watched it on a black and white TV back in the day! Well, this movie is in glorious colour.
So, a Godzilla has escaped from a frozen chunk of an iceberg, and recently King Kong has been discovered to be a real thing. Okay, he’s a bit of a lush (or junkie), having become addicted to a narcotic berry juice that the locals on the the south Pacific island that Kong calls home. Back to Godzilla: Of course Godzilla is bent of some big time Japanese destruction. From their previous encounters with Godzilla, the Japanese know they are in trouble. Why not play Godzilla off against Kong and maybe the two monsters will destroy each other and Japan can go back to it’s daily normal schedule? Well that is just what is done, in this epic meeting of two iconic movie monsters.
King Kong Versus Godzilla is a fun monster mash of Japanese destruction, tied together with and interesting concept: The action is being described and reported (between scenes), by what appear to be reporters working for the United Nations. Fun stuff!
So, check out this amazing monster movie!
Here is the trailer:
A Japanese film, through and through, Gojira tells the tale of an ancient beast, a creature of legends, that has been released from it’s lair beneath the ocean when it’s home is destroyed by atomic tests being conducted in the Pacific ocean (this is the early to mid-1950s, after all). At first a few boats go missing with no clues. When a few survivors are found, they speak seemingly gibberish about the ocean exploding. Seems only an old and grumpy man, knows what’s happening when he starts talking about the old legends of a giant lizard beast that would emerge and wreak havoc, and how they used to appease the beast by setting the occasional girl adrift on a raft for the creature’s snacking pleasure. Finally enough sightings and reports of the creature start coming through that a scientific research team is put together to study the beast. Once they discover that Godzilla is real, it’s then up to the military to destroy Godilla, who is now working it’s way towards Tokyo. As usual, (though not “as usual” for the audiences of 1954), traditional tactics do nothing but piss the monster off, and just causes more destruction. It’s not until a physically and emotionally scarred scientist is convinced to use his discovery, a device that destroys oxygen and liquefies living flesh, that Japan has even a slim hope of surviving the monster’s attack.
Gojira is as good as an introduction to a movie beast as any I’ve seen. The creature design has proven solid, as this 1954 Godzilla still looks like the same Godzilla that you would find in the 60’s,70’s and beyond (except for that crappy American Godzilla movie). Also, the creatures iconic roar is there, right from the start. It’s also interesting to watch this film with the knowledge that this was made in a Japan that is very different from today’s Japan. This is a Japan that was still healing from a World War that almost decimated them. The war is mentioned, and the testing of nuclear weapons are highlighted as a bad thing. If you like Godzilla, then you have to watch this film. If you are unsure if you like Godzilla, then you have to watch this and a number of other Godzilla movies if you really want to decide if you are a fan or not. I know I am.
Check out the trailer below:
You read that right: This week of movie watching is dedicated to everybody’s favourite, reptilian destroyer of Japanese cities, Godzilla (a.k.a. Gojira).
Why Godzilla? Well, it started after watching Dragonslayer – I was talking to my buddy and thought that perhaps a week dedicated to movies about Dragons might be a cool idea… Until I started searching out movies about Dragons – there aren’t many, and for the most part, the ones that do exist I am not interested in. Except one thing: I consider Godzilla to be a Dragon, and there are a lot of Godzilla movies to choose from, and I just happen to like Godzilla. I think this is what is known as a Win/Win situation folks. Over the next week I will write up the Godzilla movies I watch and share them with you, as usual. But take note: I will not be watching the travesty of a Godzilla movie that starred Mathew Broderick – to me that is not a true Godzilla movie.
So… Welcome to Godzilla Week my Internet friends!
Jackie Brown is such a throwback to the Blaxploitation films of the 1970’s that I almost think that Tarantino travelled back in time to gather up some magic, earth toned 70’s mojo to pack into this film… or not.
Starring Pam Grier (yeah, the tough chick from… those 70’s Blaxploitation films… see? I told you!), as Jackie Brown, a tough attractive flight attendant, who supplements her meagre wage by smuggling cash into the US from Mexico for a gun runner named Ordell Roberts, played by the seriously awesome Samuel L. Jackson. When one of Ordell’s mules gets caught and incarcerated, Ordell aranges for their bail, and kills them so they won’t turn informant. Soon after, Jackie herself gets caught by the feds bringing in cash and drugs (which were placed on her, without her knowledge). Refusing to testify against Ordell, she is locked up. Despite her refusal to talk, Ordell is still worried that she may talk to the feds, so he arranges her release, and plans on killing her too. Turning the tables on Ordell (a pistol will do things like that), she negotiates with Ordell to pretend to be working with the feds while smuggling a crap load of cash for Ordell.
This movie, like almost all Tarantino films, is freakin’ jam packed full of great stars. Honestly, here is a list of the stars in this crazy, throwback of a movie:
- Pam Grier as Jackie Brown
- Samuel L. Jackson as Ordell Robbie
- Robert Forster as Max Cherry
- Bridget Fonda as Melanie Ralston
- Michael Keaton as Ray Nicolet
- Robert De Niro as Louis Gara
- Chris Tucker as Beaumont Livingston
- Michael Bowen as Mark Dargus
- Lisa Gay Hamilton as Sheronda
- Tommy "Tiny" Lister Jr. as Winston
- Hattie Winston as Simone
- Sid Haig as Judge
- Aimee Graham as Amy
- Diana Uribe as Anita Lopez
- T’Keyah Crystal Keymah as Raynelle
- Denise Crosby (uncredited) as Public defender
- Quentin Tarantino (uncredited) as Answering machine voice
- Helmut Berger (uncredited, archive footage) as Nanni Vitali
- Marissa Mell (uncredited, archive footage) as Giuliana Caroli
- Council Cargle (uncredited, archive footage) as Drew Sheppard
- Tony Curtis (uncredited, archive footage) as himself
-This list was copied directly from the Wikipedia article on this movie which can be found here .
Oozing cool, Jackie Brown delivers 1970’s awesomeness, updated (just enough), for a (mostly), modern audience. If you haven’t seen this film, and like the style of Tarantino films, then this is for you. If you like your films, antiseptically clean, then walk away…and why are you reading this blog anyway?
Check out the trailer below, and why not watch this masterpiece tonight?
1994’s epic movie, Pulp Fiction, is a crazy, head spinning movie that just doesn’t give you a chance to take a breath. Like almost all Tarantino movies, it has a cast that is virtually a who’ who of Hollywood (as of 1994).
Pulp Fiction is a homage to the crazy B-Movies of the 60’s and 70’s, right down to the out of order timeline of events in the film. You’ve got a couple of thugs, or muscle for a Mobster by the name of Marcel, Vincent Vega (John Travolta), and Jules Winfield (Samuel L. Jackson), who among other jobs, are sent to collect a briefcase with…something in it, from some young guys, who apparently believe Marcel is a bitch (watch the movie…). Things go wrong and things get messy.
We also have a sub story about a boxer, Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis), who’s been paid heavily by none other than non-bitch Marcel, to take a dive in his upcoming fight.. yeah, things go wrong, and Butch and his weird and annoying French girlfriend are on the run. Later, Butch and Marcel end up captives to some hillbilly homosexual sadist rapists. Things get crazy again. Release the Gimp. and in another segment, Butch surprises Vincent… with deadly results.
We also have Vincent, charged with keeping Marcel’s wife, Mia (Uma Thurman), entertained while Marcel is away. The two end up at a cool, over the top, 50’s style diner. There’s some talk of a $5 milk shake and a great dance off… and then later, back at Marcel’s and Mia’s things get crazy, Mia ends up almost dead, rushed to Vincent’s heroin dealer’s house with a syringe of adrenalin sticking out of her chest.
Somewhere in the middle, a crazy criminal couple (Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer) decide they want to rob the restaurant where Vincent and Jules are chilling out in. Things get intese this time, with Jules and holding a gun to Roth’s neck and explaining the deal to him…
Damn this movie is cool – awesome and out of sight. Some people (my wonderful wife included), do not like the fact that the story line is not linear, but I think that’s part of what makes the movie as great as it is. Should you watch this film? Yes, many times.
Check out the trailer below:
When we finished Quentin Tarantino’s 2003 movie, Kill Bill Volume 1, Bill (played by David Caradine) was still alive… This pretty much guaranteed us a Volume 2.
Volume 2, released in early 2004, opens with a flash beck to Bill shooting Uma Thurman’s character, The Bride, and leaving her, presumably, for dead on the floor of a small church. Then we see The Bride herself, driving, recounting what happened in Volume 1, and then calmly letting us know that she is going to kill Bill. Soon we see Bill, speaking to his brother,Budd (played by Michael Madsen), himself a former Deadly Viper, warning him that The Bride is most likely on her way to kill him. Budd, who now spends his time working as a bouncer in a titty bar, explains that they all deserve any kind of vengeance that the Bride may bestow upon them, for what they did to her. Later, The Bride, expecting to ambush Budd, end up on the wrong side of a 12 gauge shotgun packed full of rock salt. Incapacitated, Budd buries her alive, in a cemetery, and calls fellow Viper, Elle Driver (played by Daryl Hannah), bragging of his deed, and offering up The Bride’s Hanzo sword to her for a cool million dollars – an offer she snaps at. Meanwhile, we flashback to The Bride…who flashes back to her martial arts training at the hands of a merciless master by the name of Pai Mei (Gordon Liu). We see a young Bride as she develops her techniques through repetition and the seeming heartlessness of her master. Eventually it is obvious that she has won his respect. Now we flashback to the present, with the Bride using one of the many techniques taught to her by Pai Mei to escape. Meanwhile, back at Budd’s trailer, Elle has shown up to get the sword. Providing Budd a suitcase full of cash (a million dollars, I presume), she inspects the weapon while Budd starts grabbing handfuls of cash out of the suitcase… Only to find a surprise – a deadly surprise, waits for him in all that cash. Now with Budd out of the way, The Bride has made her way back to Budd’s place to find Elle – which is good, because she too was on the Bride’s list of those that have to die… A great sword fight breaks out, and along the way we discover that Elle, who also was sent to learn under Pai Mei, had killed the old master by poisoning his meal. We also lean that the Master had plucked one of Ell’s eyes out during her training for being insubordinate to the old man. Enrages, The Bride takes instant justice by relieving Elle of her remaining eye…
Now on to Bill… The Bride, now referred to as Beatrix, has tracked Bill to Mexico. Meeting an elderly, dirt bag of a gentleman by the name of Esteban Vihaio, who tells her Bill’s location, because he believes Bill would want him to. Making it to Bill’s, she receives a shocks when she discovers some interesting personal info…and a dart of truth serum to the neck. More flashbacks and some serious talking, and then battle… awesome battle.
You know the name of the movies, so you figure out what the outcome is (watch the movies if you haven’t already). These two movies were meant to be released as a single movie, but the run time would be over 4 hours so they were broken into two. Watch both back to back for the original intended experience, The Kill Bill movies are fantastic and you should watch them.
Check out the trailer below:
Quentin Tarantino’s 2003 movie, Kill Bill Volume 1 tells the story of “The Bride” (played by Uma Thurman), a former member of an assassination team known as the Deadly Vipers, and her journey of revenge against her former fellow assassins, and Bill, her former master and leader of the Deadly Vipers, for attacking and massacring her wedding party and leaving her for dead during a wedding rehearsal.
Thurman’s character, in this iteration of the Kill Bill Saga is known simply as the Bride. Waking from a coma, four years after Bill left her for dead on the floor of a church, he Bride takes little time to start her path of vengeance… starting right there in the hospital,taking out the redneck that paid a greaseball orderly to have sex with her… Oh, and she takes out that orderly, quickly. also… and takes off with his ridiculous, bright yellow truck, labeled “The Pussy Wagon”. First stop. after the killing in the hospital is to the home of Vernita Green (played by Vivica A. Fox). The two do epic battle with a short break in the middle when Vernita’s young daughter comes home. Soon the action restarts, and ends with The Bride heading to her next destination/victim, O-Ren Ishii (played by Lucy Liu), a former Viper and now leader of a consortium of Yakuza families. A flashback shows us just how she won the respect and fear of the male dominated Yakuza families. When The Bride shows up in Japan, she defeats what seems to be an almost endless number of minions, known as the Crazy 88s. The scene ends with a very stylistically shot scene with The Bride and Oren in a samurai sword battle. Pretty evenly matched… but you know who is going to win, and she does so in a spectacular fashion. Upon leaving, she leaves one former member of the Deadly Vipers alive: Sophie Fatale, (played by Julie Dreyfus), is left alive, albeit minus one arm, to send the message that The Bride is coming for him. Mixed up in the story ids a sub story, where the Bride travels to the island of Okinawa, and convinces the esteemed, but now retired sword smith, Hattori Hanzō (played by the awesome Sonny Chiba), to craft her a samurai sword. At first he declines… that is until she tells him the sword is to be used to Kill Bill. Now he’s in…
Kill Bill Vol. 1 is a little disjointed. Like Tarantino’s other masterpiece, Pulp Fiction, it has a disjointed timeline – the scenes are just not in linear order. I believe this may be in homage to the cheezy B-Movies of the past where projectionists would sometimes play the reels out of order, either due to mis-labeling or just carelessness. Either way, I like it.
Watch Kill Bill Volume 1… and if you’ve seen it, watch it again.
Check out the trailer below:
In Retaliation, the President of the United States has been replaced by face changing bad guy, Zartan (played by Arnold Vosloo), who is in the process of transforming the United States from Peacekeeper to war happy nation. Under the guise of securing a rogue nuclear device and keeping it out of the hands of terrorists, the (fake) President orders the G.I. Joe team into action. Once they complete the initial part of the mission, the G.I . Joe team is attacked in an impressive show of explosions and firepower. The team is pretty much decimated aside from a few key Joes. Vowing vengeance for their fallen brethren, the three remaining Joe’s start off looking for the one who betrayed them. Meanwhile, back in the States, fake president Zartan has made the Joe’s look like traitors and terrorists, and announced that Anerica’s new super militay team is now Cobra. Also, he’s convened a gathering of the leaders of the nations o the world with Nuclear devices in order to talk disarmament… Yeah right – he’s Evil!. A few more twists and some more explosions and some tense situations later… and the good guys end up winning (come on, it’s a G.I. Joe movie – you don’t really think there’s any chance of the bad guys winning do you?).
So, I am old, and when I was interested in G.I. Joe, he wasn’t a little 4 inch character but big enough to date Barbie and kick Ken’s ass. Pretty sure this is based on the 80’s to present version of G.I. Joe – not an important point, but I had to put this out there.
Staring Dwayne Johnson, Bruce Willis and (for a short while) Channing Tatum, Retaliation is not suffering from big stars. At times I found myself a little confused as to who was good and who was bad, and for a movie based on a series of Toys, man there is a lot of killing. Sure, I know this is a War toy, and I was not offended in any way, shape or form, but was surprised nonetheless. But overall this was an entertaining action film.
Check out the trailer below.
Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy (A Fist Full of Dollars(1964),For a Few Dollars More (1965), The Good the Bad and the Ugly (1966))
Sergio Leone is/was the King of Spaghetti Westerns, and with The Man With No Name Trilogy (A Fist Full of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly), he might just deserve the title of King of All Westerns, in general.
This is the series of films that took a small time, little known TV actor by the name of Clint Eastwood and made him a house hold name. In each movie he seems to go by a different name (Monco, Blondie and Joe), but is best known as the Man With No Name, a bounty hunter that proves that the good guy in a movie doesn’t always really have to be that good of a guy – an anti-hero, I guess. Two of the movies (For a Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad and the Ugly), costar Lee Van Cleef, the flint eyed leathery veteran of countless Spaghetti Westerns before and after this series. All three movies are scored with the incredible music of Ennio Morricone.
Visually stunning in their bleakness, Sergio paints a picture of a ruthless West filled with bandits and regular people, Rich man and poor men. And one thing in common for everyone is that they are trying to make a living in the west. Eastwood, in each of the films plays a cigar smoking, tall, quiet, solitary character who is quick and accurate on the draw, and if you have a bounty on your head, you’d be best to steer away from him.
Each of these movies stands alone – that is, you don’t have to watch one to follow the other, and I guess they’re not really sequels, but bound together in spirit. They are not just good Spaghetti Westerns, not just good Westerns, but actually great movies in their own right. While (re) watching The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, I was stunned by just how complex a movie it really is. Not only is it a kick ass western, but it even tries to come to grips with the horror that was the American Civil War. There is a strangely poignant scene where Blondie is walking through the area where a battle between the Union and the Confederates had just happened – coming upon a dying soldier, shivering, Blondie wraps his coat around him and gives the man a draw from his cigar, just before the soldier dies – This didn’t have to be in the movie, but it’s little things like this that elevates these movies above the rest.
So, don’t watch these movies if you’re looking for a light, fluffy watching experience – Watch these movies if you want to see great movies with great actors in great roles. I’m of the opinion that even if you don’t like Westerns, if you watch these film with an open mind, you would still like them.
Watch these movies and watch them often.
A Fistful of Dollars Trailer
For a Few Dollars More Trailer
The Good, The Bad and the Ugly Trailer
So, you see there was this little TV series back in the late 1960s called Star Trek, and it’s male lead was played by a cool, dashing, hip and awesomely hammy actor by the name of William Shatner. While Star Trek did okay in the ratings there was a cult following around the show and it’s cast. Well, White Comanche stars William Shatner, and it’s pretty clear this was an attempt to cash in on Shatner’s new found popularity, because other than William Shatner, this doesn’t have much else going for it.
William Shatner plays the roles of twin brothers, Johnny Moon and Notah, twin half breed (their words, not mine) brothers of Comanche/White persuasion. Johnny lives the life of a white guy (who happens to know how to fight and is quick on the draw), and Notah is known as the White Comanche and is an over the top, out of control killer/raider/raper – a total prick of a killer. This causes a lot trouble for Johnny since they are twins, he’s always getting mistaken for Notah and people want to kill Notah (and rightly so)… So people, wanting to kill Notah, unknowingly are trying to kill Johnny – the innocent brother… Okay? Well Johnny is friggin’ tired of this and has laid it out: meet me in 4 days at the town of Rio Honcho – two will enter, only one will survive. When Johnny gets into Rio Honco, of course everybody mistakes him for Notah… and all that stuff Notah did makes everyone want to kill Johnny… wait, I explained all this already. Notah’s evil escapades catch up to Johnny again in the days leading up to that big showdown. Add to the mix the fact that the town is divided into two factions with only a good but under resourced sheriff (played by Joseph Cotten) to keep them both from each other’s neck, which up until now has worked. Add this new Johnny/Notah thing to the mix and the whole situation boils over – and we haven’t even got to the big Johnny/Notah battle. One bad guy shoots the sheriff and then the two factions fight… Eventually Johnny and Notah have it it out, and then there’s peace.
Well, I guarantee that all that sounds better than it really is. Not actually a “Spaghetti Western” as this was a Spanish production, this movie severely lacks a budget and direction. It definitely feels and looks different from your standard Spaghetti Western and weirdly, the copy I have is 4×3 – I find most Spaghetti Westerns are shot in widescreen. On Shatner: I like William Shatner, but his Comanche “war cry” is one of the most pathetic things I have ever heard – he sounds somewhere between a small dog that had a paw stepped on and a deranged bird.
Is this a good movie? Oh, HELL no. Should you watch it? Well, that’s a different matter all together. Honestly, I am glad I watched it just to see such a ridiculous Shatner movie.
I can’t seem to find a trailer, but apparently this movie is now public domain, so here is an entire copy of the movie for you to stream if you are a masochist!
White Comanche (Entire Movie)
Sergio Leone’s 1964 movie, A Fist Full of Dollars, took a little known American TV actor, put him in the roll of a Man With No Name, and propelled him to stardom as well as taking a waning genre, the Western, and with a twist, giving it a new lease on life. That actor? Clint Eastwood.
Joe, or “The Man With No Name, played by the then up and coming Clint Eastwood, arrives the the tiny Mexican town of San Miguel. Quickly proving himself quiet and a loner, and more importantly a really quick draw. Soon he realizes that there are two factions, the Rojo Brothers and the family of the town’s sheriff, John Baxter, both fighting for control of the town. Seeing an opportunity for profit, he works at getting the two sides to fight each other.
Witnessing a massacre of Mexican Soldiers by Rojo’s men, dressed as American Soldiers, Joe takes two of the bodies, planting them at at the local cemetery and sells information to both sides – both groups rush to the cemetery – one side to get information, the other side to silence the information before it gets out. Soon we can add kidnapping and murder to the pile of crimes both sides commit. Joe, or The Man With No Name eventually let’s his own motives shine through…
This movie is actually a retelling of the Japanese classic, Yojimbo by Akira Kurosawa and it is a wonderful, dark film that should be watched and watched often. This is the first of three “Dollars” or “Man With No Name” films to be released. The other two being For a Few Dollars More and the pinnacle of the Spaghetti Western, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. All three are amazing testaments to the genre and deserve their places in the annals of movie history. Watch them soon and watch them often.
Check out the trailer below:
Beyond The Law (1968) – A Coolness Only Lee Van Cleef Could Deliver (Entire Movie at Bottom of Post)
One of countless Spaghetti Westerns that surfaced in the 60’s and early 70’s, you might not even know this one existed – I didn’t, until recently, that is. You see, about a year ago I purchased a DVD set, titled. “Spaghetti Westerns” that is chock full of Western goodness (and badness to be honest). It’s a five disc set that includes 20 movies – Beyond the Law was one of them.
Beyond the Law tells the story of a group of bandits that dupe a mining company of the cash it is having delivered to pay the wages of the miners. Through deception, the actual crooks look like heroes, and are actually asked to help out. The brains of the unit, Billy Joe Cudlip (played by Lee Van Cleef), befriends Ben Novack (played by Antonio Sabato), at first pitying him and then gaining respect for his abilities as the movie goes on. Soon Culdip and his gang is helping protect the mining operation from a gang, controlled by the villain, Burton (played by one time muscle man turned actor, Gordon Mitchell).
Gaining respect, Culdip is asked to become the new Sheriff, kind of ironic…really. He takes the position, much to the chagrin of the members of his small band of thieves, especially when they realize that he might just be taking the job seriously.
As noted at the beginning of this post, this is far from being a perfect film, but Lee Van Cleef raises it up and makes it entertaining. Also, the theme song is simply amazing. If you already like Spaghetti Westerns, then this one will be okay – If you are on the fence about the genre, then maybe leave this one be and try something like a Fist Full of Dollars or God’s Gun.
Here is the trailer:
And, for as long as it lasts, here is a link to the whole movie (let me know if it stops working):
In the 1960s there was an explosion of Westerns made in Italy by Italian film makers. These were dubbed “Spaghetti Westerns” and are/were the Western equivalent of Grindhouse films, and while most of these movies were pretty damned bad, occasionally one would actually turn out to be a good movie – 1967’s Death Rides a Horse is one of those good ones.
Starring John Phillip Law as Bill Meceita, a man seeking revenge on the bandits that he witnessed killing his family when he was a young. The only evidence he was able to gather, as a boy. was a single, unique spur that one of the murdering bastards left behind. Years later a recently released convict, Ryan, played the always great, flinty eyed Lee Van Cleef, kills two men in self defense that were sent to kill him. The Sherriff noticed that one of the dead men was wearing spurs that exactly match the one that had been left at the scene on the Meceita family massacre so many years before. The sheriff informs Bill, and tells him the name of the stranger, Ryan thinking that perhaps Ryan can help lead him to the men who killed his family.
When Bill catches up to Ryan, he finds him sympathetic but not willing to help, as he has a large amount of money owed to him by the same bastards that killed Ryan’s family, and if Bill kills them, Ryan can’t collect. Leaving Bill temporarily stranded (in order to gain a head start), but not defenseless. Of course this only works for a bit as Bill is extremely motivated to get these guys. Ryan is looking at collecting $15,000 from each member of this gang, as he spent 15 years in prison for something they ALL took part in. Bill, killing these guys, makes it harder and harder to collect. Add to this a sub plot where one of these banditos is now a town official, promising to improve the lives of the town folks, but actually planning on taking off with all the town’s money, in a faked heist, and making it look like Ryan is part of it. Bill comes to Ryan’s aid, and for the rest of the movie they work together as a team. An interesting twist near the end makes the relationship between Bill and Ryan even more twisted. Add in some great shootouts and you have this film.
This is a long movie, and the conversion from film to digital (at least the version I have), is very crapilly done. There are bit where you can tell a few seconds of film are just missing. It’s dirty and very low resolution. Some of the actors voices are very obviously dubbed (hey, most of them were bit part Italian actors working for very little money) and not particularly great thespians. Even so, this movie oozes cool, especially with an awesome soundtrack from the amazing Ennio Morricone I absolutely enjoyed every second of this film and most likely will go on a minor Spaghetti Western binge.
And… we’re in luck folks: Not only is this movie available for really cheap on almost countless cheap bin DVD compilations, it’s also available for streaming for free (for now at least).
Check out the trailer below and the entire move below that (please let me know if the link is broken):
Death Rides a Horse (1967) – Trailer
Death Rides a Horse (1967) – The Entire Movie