The wildest scenery-chewing you will EVER see!
Mark Shanks | Portland, OR | 08/14/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"OK, this one takes the all-time prize for over-the-top, pure wild-man scenery chewing. In fact, as the case itself claims, Bennet doesn't just CHEW the scenery, he swallows it whole! It begins with our "fiend" pulling out his whip (any more obvious Freudian symbolism would be pointless) and dealing a few lashes to someone because......hey, he don't NEEEED no steeeekin' reason! As he proudly proclaims, he owns EVERYthing on the island! And since his "staff" is about the most lame-brained crew this side of the Three Stooges, he's a busy man, whippin' everyone and everyTHING in sight. But that's before the girl arrrives, and then he REALLY goes berzerk! Great fun - I can't recall EVER seeing such vein-popping, chest-thumping, rip-roaring hyper-machoism. And that's just the FIRST flick! Minor, very brief flashes of toplessness, but this isn't one for the kiddos anyway. Sets a new standard - makes John Agar in "Brain From Planet Arous" look as if he were on Thorazine. You HAVE to see it!"
Hams and giant clams
Howard Sauertieg | Harrisburg, PA USA | 07/31/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A good, rather unusual double-feature from Something Weird. The theme of this disc is "tropicana," and its contents, geographically speaking, span from the Caribbean to the South Seas. The main features are artistically unambitious but entertaining. FIEND is a fast-moving melodrama about the spectacular self-destruction of a small Caribbean island's whip-cracking tyrant, played by Bruce Bennett. Tania Velia, aka "the Yugoslavian bombshell," is imported to dance for The Fiend, but she's repelled by him and hooks up with an undercover narcotics agent, played by Robert Bray. Velia is gorgeous, and the director of FIEND made the most of her assets. Bennett gives a very vigorous performance, coming off like a psychotic who's been knocked on the head many, many times. The script is lousy, though, and the film suffers from a weak storyline. Arguably the sensationalism of all the brawls and whippings, and the presence of Tania Velia, make up for the film's most serious flaws. It's basically a fun but dumb movie. PAGAN ISLAND, directed by Barry Mahon, is a 58-minute endurance test. A bevy of beautiful girls wear garlands of flowers and grass skirts. Into their feminine island paradise stumbles a shipwrecked sailor, who becomes infatuated with one of the locals. There's some ceremonial dancing and an underwater battle with a giant clam, and a very bizarre closing scene suggesting that the hero has succumbed to, or been tempted by, necrophilia. The acting is generally terrible. The island girls speak "pidgin English," supposedly learned from a previous visitor. Their grammar is terrible, but they never fail to make sense, and their vocabularies are incredibly huge. Basically they talk like normal adult Americans who've chosen to eliminate unnecessary articles and tenses from their speech. It's impossible to take these "island girls" seriously. But they are fun to see and hear. The Queen of the island speaks every line as if she's reading from a cue card, and her lack of enthusiasm is incredible. She seems almost suicidal. The "plot" of PAGAN ISLAND involves a proposed marriage between the shipwrecked guy and his chosen girl, whose religion makes the marriage problematic.
More valuable are the "Goona Goona" short features, most dating from the 1930s. They look like tame National Geographic documentaries today, but 60 years ago the topless female was a rare cinematic commodity, and these films of Balinese women going about their chores au natural were marketed with less innocent "exploitation" films. There's also a really dirty short with simulated sex in a bamboo hut and narration loaded with double-entendre jokes. Overall this is an entertaining and very unusual collection of films from Something Weird. If you buy it, or already own it, look for the "Easter egg," a trailer for Zorita the stripper's exciting film "I Married A Savage"! It's sobering to learn that Zorita was a native of Youngstown, Ohio."
The movie stands up to it's title!
CG | Burlington, KY USA | 06/22/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"A 1960 black & white that actually plays just like it's title suggests. Right from the start there is a fiend of a dope-island with brooding natives and a torch of a woman not accustomed to the sandy confines of a...dope-island. The script was exceptionally good (in that it was bad and full of one-liners) and the acting was over-done with competence. Easily one of the best b-movies in the collection. Keeps your attention and doesn't drag."