Category Archives: Grindhouse

Cult, exploitation and/or disreputable genre film.

Opium and the Kung Fu Master

Released in 1984, this widescreen actionfest/drug-addiction drama was the final film of only three directed by longtime action choreographer Tang Chia — and one of the last films ever released by the legendary Shaw Brothers movie studio, which in its heyday made dozens of movies every year but by this time was struggling to keep up with the popular trends ushered in by Bruce Lee and expanded upon by Jackie Chan and friends.

Sonny Chiba’s Dragon Princess

Crummy by mainstream standards, this low-budget martial-arts programmer has lots of charm, starting with the opening shot depicting the inside of a church with saloon-style swinging doors banging against the wind and dust outside, and Tarantino fans will make note of some of the source elements he appropriated for his Kill Bill revenge pastiche. But the real attraction here is Yumi Higaki, playing a talented but reluctant martial-arts disciple seeking payback for injuries to the body and pride of her master (Sonny Chiba, in an extended cameo at the film’s beginning).

The Blood on Satan’s Claw

The Blood on Satan’s Claw clarifies the relationship between wickedness and virtue by showing how evil, in the guise of rebellious children and especially a seductive teenager, can be vanquished by vigilance and bravery on the part of Christian men. It’s the kind of movie where the cranky old judge who ducks out of town at the first signs of a supernatural dust-up returns in the final reel, empowered to vanquish the devil himself.

The Devil’s Rejects

I settled in for The Devil’s Rejects expecting to get another Rob Zombie homage-to-slash-rip-off-of those seminal American horror films of the 70s that inspired his crappy House of 1,000 Corpses, a disposable exercise in sadism whose not-inconsiderable grindhouse nastiness was exceeded by its general incompetence. Generally, it missed its mark. What was so unsettling about The Texas Chain Saw MassacreLast House on the Left and their ilk was partly that they were movies that enjoyed their freedom from studio supervision and were ready to try […]

Dagon

Re-Animator director Stuart Gordon returns to literary horror with Dagon, another H.P. Lovecraft adaptation that takes his trademark grisliness to Spain for a real fish-out-of-water yarn having to do with love, sex and demon worship.

OK. Despite the Lovecraftian pedigree, what we really have here is a cheap horror potboiler: Stuart Gordon’s Attack of the Fish People. I swear that’s not a bad thing. Dagon never works up the impressive head of steam that’s required to make this sort of picture […]