Badasses, Boobs and Body Counts https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com All things Grindhouse, Exploitation, Drive-In and B-Movies. Podcast. Movie Reviews. Video Game Reviews. Genre Film Articles. Ladies of Exploitation. Sun, 22 Oct 2017 15:33:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 https://i1.wp.com/www.bbandbcpodcast.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/cropped-01_iTunes_3000x3000.jpg?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 Badasses, Boobs and Body Counts https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com 32 32 Edwige Fenech https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com/2017/10/22/edwige-fenech/ https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com/2017/10/22/edwige-fenech/#respond Sun, 22 Oct 2017 15:33:29 +0000 https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com/?p=4581 Edwige Fenech is a French-born Italian actress most known for her acting work in a string of Italian giallo films and numerous erotic comedies released throughout the 1970s. Fenech’s capable acting delivered memorable performances from vulnerable innocence to cunning seductress to sassy sex symbol. Photographers and directors capitalized on her unique looks by showcasing her flowing dark locks, expressive eyes, and curvaceous figure, causing Fenech’s popularity to soar throughout the decade.

This particular installment of Ladies of Exploitation breaks format to do something a little different. Here is a short pictorial of Edwige Fenech from a variety of genre movies in which she appeared and ones that the BBandBC crew highly recommend you visit at least once.

While Fenech often appeared nude in most of her films, we will not be displaying nudity in this article. Be prepared, however, as there may be some censored material.

5 DOLLS FOR AN AUGUST MOON (1970) – A small group of people come to an island to relax but soon find themselves trapped with a murderer in their midst. Directed by Mario Bava with touches of black humor, this early Fenech film easily captures her alluring nature and why she would go on to become an icon of 70s European genre cinema.

ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK (1972) – A woman recovering from a car accident in which she loses her unborn child finds herself pursued by a coven of devil worshipers. Directed by Sergio Martino, this giallo features Fenech in the lead role, dealing with personal tragedy, surreal nightmares and a black magic cult.

YOUR VICE IS A LOCKED ROOM AND ONLY I HAVE THE KEY (1972) – A series of murders are committed near the estate of a degenerate author and his abused wife. Another Sergio Martino directed picture, Fenech’s supporting role is a pivotal element in propelling the sleazy plot of this vicious thriller forward.

THE CASE OF THE BLOODY IRIS (1972) – Beautiful young model Jennifer Lansbury and her goofy friend Marilyn Ricci move into a swanky high-rise apartment after the previous tenant gets brutally murdered. Fenech’s seductive presence elevates this slightly convoluted murder mystery.

STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER (1975) – When a fashion model dies during an abortion, a series of murders begins starting with her doctor. Fenech anchors a sordid and grotesquely misogynistic film that purveys violence, nudity and inexhaustible sleaziness.

THE SCHOOLTEACHER GOES TO BOYS’ HIGH (1978) – Edwige Fenech stars in this Italian sex-comedy as a new teacher in an all-boys Catholic school. All of the boys desire to “learn” more about their new teacher but only one student gets that opportunity.

A POLICE WOMAN ON THE PORNO SQUAD (1979) – Gianna, a sexy police woman, helps a child search for his mother who ends up a prostitute forced into making pornography. She goes undercover in order to break up the prostitution porn ring. This sex comedy is one of a series where Fenech played a recurring role as Gianna

These are just a few movie suggestions from the gang here at Badasses, Boobs and Body Counts. Edwige Fenech had a long fruitful career and can be seen in dozens and dozens of other exploitation films across a wide variety of genres.

Contributed by: Mike Murphy

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EP252 – Train to Busan https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com/2017/10/21/ep252-train-to-busan/ https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com/2017/10/21/ep252-train-to-busan/#respond Sat, 21 Oct 2017 22:43:41 +0000 https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com/?p=4577 This week on Badasses, Boobs and Body Counts, your hosts Mike, Iris and Mark board the TRAIN TO BUSAN (2016) and claw their way through hoards of Korean zombies. It’s not often a film like this comes along and hits on all cylinders. It’s also not often your three hosts are in such agreement on any given film they discuss.

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Don’t Breathe (2016) https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com/2017/10/18/dont-breathe-2016/ https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com/2017/10/18/dont-breathe-2016/#respond Wed, 18 Oct 2017 12:00:26 +0000 https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com/?p=4564 Directed by: Fede Alvarez
Starring: Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto and Stephen Lang
Written by: Fede Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues
Runtime: 88 minutes
Release Date: August 26, 2016

The opening of DON’T BREATHE (2016) is a street scene that zooms into an old man dragging an unconscious female in her late teens or early twenties down a road by her hair. We are then introduced to three people in their early 20s breaking into a swanky mansion in Detroit. They are taking everything they can grab, except for money.

While the thieves are driving away from the house, Rocky (Jane Levy) and Money (Daniel Zovatto) tell Alex (Dylan Minnette) that they are planning to move to California if they can score a few more big houses like the one they just robbed. When Money approaches his buyer for stolen goods working from the back of a van, he is told about a house that sounds almost too good to be true. The one catch for our group of thieves in this scenario – cold hard cash needs to be stolen. When Alex is told about the plan hatched by Money, he declines. We discover that Alex has one rule when it comes to robbing houses, don’t steal currency. As the brains of the group, Alex attempts to think ahead, believing that a crook caught stealing money earns a higher prison sentence.

We are then introduced to Rocky’s family. This family brings back memories of the Meyers clan from Rob Zombie’s HALLOWEEN (2007). Rocky’s mother is an alcoholic and her live-in boyfriend sports a swastika tattoo on his hand. Rocky also has a younger sister whom she takes care of. There are two reasons for this scene. The first is to make the viewer feel sympathy for a character that one might find to not be a good person. The second reason is to show Rocky’s motivation. If it were not for this scene you would not feel one way or another about Rocky throughout the rest of the movie.

Alex finally decides to go along with his friends’ plans to break into the house and declares in a sweeping breath that he will join Money and Rocky in their journey to California. The trio prepares to rob their target, an Iraqi war veteran known as The Blind Man (Stephen Lang) whose daughter was killed by a “preppy girl” in a car accident.

When our ragtag thieves arrive at The Blind Man’s house, the music soundtrack transitions from tonal synth and strings to near silence. I found the remaining soundscape to be extremely effective, immersing the viewer into the small universe that DON’T BREATHE has built for itself. As an added note, I did watch this film with my headphones plugged into a PS4 controller which provided a very satisfying emulation of a surround sound experience. The only things you hear apart from the minimalist soundtrack will be footsteps, gunshots, breathing and a plethora of other sounds a person might hear on a daily basis but would never notice.


Once inside The Blind Man’s house our misfit twentysomethings rummage through every room. The camera work during our introduction into The Blind Man’s two story home is a highlight. In a little under four minutes we are introduced to the entire house, emphasizing each room’s different personality in what appears to be a single shot delivered in one long take. It is very rare to see a four minute introduction to anything in a movie at this level. The camera glides from room to room following our gang of thieves in a voyeuristic fashion. The various camera movements only help intensify the danger each room may hold. I do not even want to ponder the amount of planning director Fede Alvarez had put into this scene, but I am surely grateful for his hard work.

Without going into too much detail about the last half of DON’T BREATHE, once the young criminals are inside the house The Blind Man isn’t sleeping. He might be blind, but he can and will fight back.

Final Thoughts:
There are strong horror elements throughout DON’T BREATHE and even a jump scare or two, but I am not sure if I would categorize this as pure horror as the previews lead the audience to believe. DON’T BREATHE leans more towards a hybrid classification with films like HUSH (2016) than the run-of-the-mill studio horror film. Home invasion films are slowly becoming a favorite of mine and this style of film needs to remain at this level to be effective. This reviewer will also be keeping an eye out for Fede Alvarez in the director’s chair going forward. He directed EVIL DEAD (2013) and now DON’T BREATHE. Based on these two films he is going to be a highly sought after director. I strongly recommend this thrill ride of a film.

Contributed by Rich Strahsburg

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EP251 – Day of the Dead https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com/2017/10/15/ep251-day-of-the-dead/ https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com/2017/10/15/ep251-day-of-the-dead/#respond Sun, 15 Oct 2017 18:27:55 +0000 https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com/?p=4556 This week on the show, your three intrepid hosts discuss director George A. Romero’s DAY OF THE DEAD (1985). As we continue our journey towards October 31, Mike and Iris ride along as Mark guides everyone through this timeless classic. Who will end up the badass? Bub, Sarah or Captain Rhodes? Tune in to find out.

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Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988) https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com/2017/10/11/elvira-mistress-of-the-dark-1988/ https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com/2017/10/11/elvira-mistress-of-the-dark-1988/#respond Wed, 11 Oct 2017 13:00:11 +0000 https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com/?p=4537 Directed by: James Signorelli
Starring: Cassandra Peterson, William Sheppard, Edie McClurg and Daniel Greene
Written by: Sam Egan, John Parago and Cassandra Peterson
Runtime: 96 minutes
Release Date: September 30, 1988

ELVIRA: MISTRESS OF THE DARK (1988) begins with Elvira (Cassandra Peterson) lying on a couch, looking as sexy as ever, inside a low budget TV studio doing her nightly horror movie show. Once it comes to an end, she’s introduced to the station’s new owner who immediately gropes her breasts. Seconds later the station loses Elvira when she quits to pursue her dream in Las Vegas.

Back in the dressing room, Elvira is told by her manager that if she wants her own show she’ll have to finance it herself. This wouldn’t be a problem if she had $50,000 laying around. Moments later, a telegram arrives and Elvira finds out that her great Aunt Morgana (also played by Cassandra Peterson) has passed away and she’s asked to attend the reading of the will.

Once at the reading, Elvira meets her Great-Uncle Vincent Talbot (William Sheppard). She inherits Morgana’s house, pet poodle and an old family recipe book which turns out to be Morgana’s spell book. Great-Uncle Vincent is left nothing. However, Vincent does have an interest in the recipe book and offers Elvira $50 for it. Elvira accepts the offer, but has bigger things on her mind (as do we when we watch this film) like selling the house to fund her Las Vegas act.

ELVIRA: MISTRESS OF THE DARK isn’t a serious horror film. In fact, some may argue that it’s not a horror film at all and that it leans more towards comedy. They’d be right. While the film’s script revolves around Elvira trying to gather the cash to start her Las Vegas career, it does so with a lot of great one-liners delivered brilliantly by Cassandra Peterson who has great comedic timing. The dark undertone of the story is delivered in the third act of the film when Great-Uncle Vincent exposes who he is and why he wanted that spell book so badly.

As far as the film goes – and believe me when I say this – the viewer needs to go into ELVIRA: MISTRESS OF THE DARK with an open mind and the ability to have fun while watching a comedy themed horror film. From the outset, Elvira shovels one-liners left and right and it works with the overall tone. The supporting cast is also brilliant. Daniel Greene as Bob Redding is fantastic in a shy love-struck sort of way. Edie McClurg as Chastity Pariah was the perfect choice for the town gossip and hypocrite. Jeff Conaway as Travis and his side-kick Frank Collison as Billy are brilliant in their roles as bowling alley lounge lizards

ELVIRA: MISTRESS OF THE DARK was directed by James Signorelli, written by Sam Egan, John Parago and Cassandra Peterson, and was shot by Hanania Baer. The film was distributed by New World Pictures and released in September of 1988. The films budget was $7,500,000 and it grossed $5,500,000 making it a studio flop in terms of its financial outcome. Director James Signorelli’s background is for the most part in TV, playing director to NBC’s Saturday Night Live (1975 – Present). His only other directed film was EASY MONEY (1983) starring Rodney Dangerfield. Cinematographer Hanania Baer has been very busy in his career. In addition to ELVIRA: MISTRESS OF THE DARK, he’s shot films such as BREAKIN’ (1984), AMERICAN NINJA (1985) and MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE (1987) to name a few.

Cassandra Peterson is best known for her on-screen horror persona Elvira Mistress of the Dark, the host for the TV show Movie Macabre (1981 – 1993). Movie Macabre aired terribly bad horror films where Elvira would poke fun at them coming in and out of commercial breaks. Peterson has a rich, deep, interesting history. You can learn more at her Wikipedia page (as Elvira) and IMDB page. Movie Macabre vaulted Peterson to fame, eventually leading to numerous TV spots, film roles and positions as spokesperson for many different products throughout the years.

Final Thoughts:
ELVIRA: MISTRESS OF THE DARK is a fun, campy and comedic horror film that should be taken lightly and with a buttery bowl of popcorn. I find the film thoroughly entertaining and Elvira’s boobs a pleasure to look at as well.

Contributed by Mike Murphy

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EP16 – Genre TV Report https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com/2017/10/09/ep16-genre-tv-report/ https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com/2017/10/09/ep16-genre-tv-report/#respond Mon, 09 Oct 2017 15:33:37 +0000 https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com/?p=4531 We have an action packed episode for you as Kevin Bachelder returns to chat about the all new TV season. In episode 16 of the Genre TV Report, Kevin catches us up on The Mist, Ash vs Evil Dead, Tremors, Supernatural, Arrow, Star Trek Discovery and more. Tune in and catch up on your favorite genre programming.

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News
Stitchers Cancelled
The Mist Cancelled
Amazon Producing More Sci Fi: Lazarus, Snow Crash and Ringworld
The Librarians Season 4 Premiere Date
Ash vs Evil Dead Season 3 Premiere Date And Details
Details And Trailer For Hulu’s Upcoming ‘Future Man’
Tremors Casting
Man In The High Castle Season 3 Trailer and 2018 Release Window

Trailers
The Punisher
The Shannara Chronicles Trailer & Season 2 Premiere Date
The Librarians
Supernatural
Dirk Gently
Arrow
Legends Of Tomorrow
Star Trek Discovery
Lucifer Sneak Peek
Supergirl Season
The Flash
Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams
Marvel’s Runaways

Best Episodes of the Week
Star Trek: Discovery
The Gifted

Contributed by: Kevin Bachelder

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EP250 – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com/2017/10/08/ep250-the-texas-chainsaw-massacre/ https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com/2017/10/08/ep250-the-texas-chainsaw-massacre/#respond Sun, 08 Oct 2017 15:30:32 +0000 https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com/?p=4524 Mike, Iris and Mark are back this week to discuss the Tobe Hooper directed picture THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974). This classic horror film gets all sorts of love from your three hosts before Mike wraps things up by lashing out at podcasters using terms like “proto-slasher” and “final girls”.

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The Beast and the Vixens (1973) https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com/2017/10/04/the-beast-and-the-vixens-1973/ https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com/2017/10/04/the-beast-and-the-vixens-1973/#comments Wed, 04 Oct 2017 13:42:56 +0000 https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com/?p=4505 Directed by: Ray Nadeau (Naneau)
Starring: Uschi Digard, Jacqueline Giroux, Marius Mazmanian, Bob Makay, Susan Wescott and Sharon Kelly
Runtime: 83 minutes
Release Date: 1974

You know you’re onto a clunker when you research a movie and, despite the volumes of cult movie review guides adorning the creaking virtual shelves, can only find a singular capsule review in Michael Weldon’s trustworthy Psychotronic Video Guide.  THE BEAST AND THE VIXENS (1974) is one such clunker, a bargain basement ‘Bigfoot & Boobs’ movie that would send BBandBC’s mammary count into and beyond the stratosphere!

Originally released under the title THE BEAUTIES AND THE BEAST, a retitling to THE BEAST AND THE VIXENS attempted to capitalise on Russ Meyer’s SUPERVIXEN (1975) which also starred Uschi Digard and Sharon Kelly.

Following on from the 1972 release of Charles B Pierce’s THE LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK, a nifty backwoods docudrama exploring the Arkansas Fouke swamp monster that managed to gross an impressive $20 million, a flood of ‘Bigfoot’ movies poured into the city grindhouses and rural drive-ins across the US.  With each film hairier than the last, audiences were subjected to the B movie shenanigans of Mike Findlay’s SHRIEK OF THE MUTILATED (1974) to made-for-TV movies like SNOWBEAST (1977) to the dick-ripping nastiness of NIGHT OF THE DEMON (1980).  Of course, as a cultural phenomenon, ‘Bigfoot’ enjoyed his share of salacious entertainment that ranged from backstreet pulp paperbacks (Nights with Sasquatch, Medallion Paperbacks, 1977…”an explosive ordeal of rape and revenge beyond any woman’s experience!”) to the art of Robert Crumb and his voluptuous hairy maidens.  Mindful of THE GEEK,  a 47 minute 1971 Bigfoot porn movie, THE BEAST AND THE VIXENS certainly isn’t the scuzziest of early 70’s Bigfoot buffoonery but is so much  more sexploitation than sasquatch.

Structurally the film is pretty chaotic, the central storyline has Swedish ‘big bust’ glamour starlet Uschi Digard and Jacqueline Giroux (billed here as Jean Gibson) having a weekend hangout in a woodland cabin while studying for their anthropology papers.  Of course, they spend their first evening sipping brandy, commenting on the cold while walking around half-dressed, and eventually slip into bed to unenthusiastically kiss and snuggle vintage sexploitation style.  The next day they hook up with a small hippy commune residing in an out-of-season summer camp where they immediately get naked and attempt to skinny dip (even more unenthusiastically) in the cold Autumnal waters of the lake.  A couple of rifle-wielding criminals turn up threatening the group to reveal their source of old silver coins that the commune appears to be living off.

All this is interspersed with ‘the beast’, a guy in a jet-black gorilla costume wearing a rigid plastic mask with oversized goofy white teeth, roaming the forests and carrying off an assortment of women who are already in varying stages of undress.  Three abducted women, one of which being Sharon Kelly (billed here as Coleen Brenan), are being held captive in the beast’s cave.  Despite being carried off completely naked, Sandra Carey – another sexploitation starlet who starred in an array of B movie classics including WHAM BAM THANK-YOU SPACEMAN (1975) and THE NAUGHTY STEWARDESSES (1974) – is now appropriately dressed and says ‘well at least he brought my clothes back’.  The Beast he may be, but a considerate beast all the same!

In fact, possibly one of the reasons why THE BEAST AND THE VIXENS has seemingly fallen into obscurity is that it just isn’t particularly memorable.  The Beast doesn’t really pose any real threat.  It’s designs on the abundance of naked women aren’t sexually menacing (he feeds them apples) and at one point the Beast is overcome by some old country and western dude.

Story threads have no correlation with one another, characters appear and disappear and Uschi Digard and her hippy pals don’t actually encounter the beast.  I don’t think they even see it.  Fred Olen Ray, who provides a commentary track (well . . . for the first 15 minutes) on the OOP Retro-Media DVD surmises that THE BEAST AND THE VIXENS may have been born from the acquisition of an incomplete or unwanted movie that was propped up for release with tacked-on Bigfoot scenes.  This would make sense as different sources quote different years of production and release, though the copyright within the opening credits states 1973, and the film exists in an assortment of varying cuts from a scant 71 minutes to 84 minutes.  Ray Nadeau (…or Naneau as credited) was a basic jack-of-all-trades on the exploitation film scene, serving as a production assistant on MESSIAH OF EVIL (1973) and achieving his one directing credit with THE BEAST AND THE VIXENS.

There is a quaintness surrounding THE BEAST AND THE VIXENS.  Despite this Internet age, production details are still relatively vague and obscure.  The film showcases all the beloved hallmarks of low grade 70s sexploitation – post sync dialogue, library music, and choppy editing – all while everyone gets naked for any occasion, hippies playing guitars (Gypsy Mountain Madness?), and elongated love making scenes of endless fleshy nuzzling that doesn’t even remotely resemble any kind of penetration.

A padded dream sequence of Jacqueline Giroux and Susan Westcott, naked but for spurred boots, cowboy hat and a gun belt, about to have a quick-draw shootout, beautifully illustrates the surreal absurdity that time has awarded to this movie.  However, hipster Internet commentators who discovered exploitation cinema solely through Quentin Tarantino interviews and movies, have undoubtedly enjoyed writing endless derogatory ‘hee-haw’ reviews laced with sarcasm about THE BEAST AND THE VIXENS while some of us will admire the sledgehammered process that pieced together a commercial feature peppered with scenes of hazy nudity, softcore grinding and a grumbling hairy monster carrying off naked women kicking and screaming.

With contemporary horror cinema’s fascination with P.O.V dominated ‘found footage’ structures, Bigfoot has enjoyed something of a resurgence (unsurprisingly as all you need is a camera and a forestry backdrop).  THE BIGFOOT TAPES (2013), BIGFOOT WARS (2014), and BIGFOOT VS ZOMBIES (2016) all deviate from the comfortable formula, eschewing buxom vixens, hippy humping and a good-natured beast.

Final Thoughts:
THE BEAST AND THE VIXENS (what a great title!) is a great slice of real grunge sexploitation that peculiarly avoids any real mean spirited sex, violence and gore. It will undoubtedly find appreciation amongst hardcore exploitation film aficionados.

Contributed by Tristan Thompson

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EP249 – The Evil Dead https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com/2017/10/01/ep249-the-evil-dead/ https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com/2017/10/01/ep249-the-evil-dead/#respond Sun, 01 Oct 2017 20:21:57 +0000 https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com/?p=4500 It only took five years, but we finally turn our attention towards one of horror cinema’s seminal classics. Mike, Iris and Mark start October by discussing director Sam Raimi’s innovative independent film THE EVIL DEAD (1981). In this first week of the month that culminates in All Hallow’s Eve, we dive head first into an infamous Video Nasty and chat about how and why this film still resonates 36 years after its debut.

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Shoot’em Up (2007) https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com/2017/09/28/shootem-up-2007/ https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com/2017/09/28/shootem-up-2007/#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 23:08:43 +0000 https://www.bbandbcpodcast.com/?p=4485 Directed by: Michael Davis
Written by: Michael Davis
Starring: Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, Monica Bellucci and Stephen McHattie
Runtime: 86 minutes
Release Date: September 07, 2007

A disheveled man sits at a bus stop eating a carrot.  A pregnant woman runs behind him, then ducks down an alley just before a car careens around the corner and crashes into a parked automobile.  The driver struggles out of the vehicle, draws a gun and pursues the woman.  Our hero, the unassuming Smith (Owen), decides to help the fleeing woman.  Apparently, it’s the right thing to do.

Smith catches up to the pair, dispatching the pursuer with a carrot punched through the back of the man’s throat.  More gunmen appear, just as the woman goes into labor, necessitating Smith to pick up a pistol and hold the armed men at bay while helping to deliver a baby under relentless gunfire.  Smith doesn’t miss, ever – not even while using his pistol to cut the umbilical cord of the new arrival.  The head villain and aspiring hitman Hertz (Giamatti) arrives on the scene to lead his men, delivering a semi-intellectual soliloquy once he has a chance to confront Smith and the new mother.  Hertz is a sociopath who enjoys the hunt and inflicting violence.


After quite a bit of gunplay, the death of the mother, and a narrow escape, Smith flees with the now hungry newborn.  What’s a guy to do?  Smith shows up at an old church.  His knock on the door is answered by a nun.  Upon bursting through the door, Smith demands to see Donna Quintano (Bellucci).  The nun turns to chase after Smith, revealing the back of her habit and her exposed, naked bottom.  Furthermore, Qunitano is revealed to be a lactating dominatrix with whom Smith attempts to bribe, coerce and guilt into feeding the newborn.  The bad guys, of course, aren’t that far behind and our hero will need to figure out why and how to deal with them . . .

This setup is established in the first 10 minutes of SHOOT ‘EM UP.  It’s the barebones framework for a movie dense on detail and chockfull of thrilling action sequences.  There are many sight gags, peppering much of the action and filling in the quieter moments.  The film strives to be absolutely outrageous and almost always succeeds, eschewing realism for a very consistent self-contained and mature cartoon universe.  Putting a newborn in harm’s way, imperiling a pregnant women, lactating prostitutes, subversion of the church’s image, an orgy of constant bloody violence, an onslaught of fetishes, and more push the boundaries of good taste while poking fun at traditionally taboo elements of our society. To top it off, there’s a very strong Bugs Bunny vibe as Smith constantly gnaws on carrots (they’re good for your eyes) and Hertz is hunting his prey in a fashion that clearly places him in the role of Elmer Fudd.  The two exchange plenty of dialog, much the way their animated counterparts do in the classic Warner Brothers shorts.

Clive Owen demonstrates his ability once again to provide a charismatic lead while walking in the shoes of an action hero, extending the momentum he established in films like KING ARTHUR (2004), SIN CITY (2005), and CHILDREN OF MEN (2006).  Paul Giamatti turns up the volume to an eleven, delivering an over-the-top performance that hits just the right notes, conveying an evil heavy who is brilliant, brimming with ego, and a complete social misfit that’s still a considerate family man who can’t quite reach the brass ring to declare full victory.  Monica Bellucci also turns in a good, if limited performance.  She’s not given the best material to work with, but her accented line delivery, commitment to the role, and game attitude in selling the crazier elements of the film help provide the additional support necessary to solidly anchor SHOOT ‘EM UP’s more off-kilter elements.  Bellucci is always visually captivating on screen and that holds true throughout this film as well.


As mentioned earlier in this review, there’s a complex story wrapped around the basic framework of plot with lots of details filling in behind the main plot thread to give purpose to our protagonists as well as provide a little social commentary.  It gives context to much of the violence and takes jabs at some hot topics regarding guns, violence and politics.  While not deep or original, these elements pad the overall package making the film’s relatively short 86 minute runtime seem a little bloated.

Final Thoughts:
SHOOT ‘EM UP is a fun, kinetic and hyperactive cartoon that punches buttons and plays with edgier concepts that skirt many social norms.  It’s willingness to be outrageous is not only infectious, but a gift for genre and exploitation fans.  If you have yet to discover this well-crafted and soundly acted action film, seek it out and discover the pleasures of a movie that seeks to entertain its audience with every moment delivered on the screen.

Contributed by Drew Beckmann

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