Archive for February, 2011

True Tales Of The Theater

Posted in Daily flow on February 16, 2011 by twm68

“If someone threw up at one of my screenings, it would be like a standing ovation.”

–         John Waters.

You never forget your first time. Immersed in pitch darkness with a partner, or group of choice, all anticipating a mutual inevitable payoff. Flesh presses against flesh ‘accidentally’, and liquids are spilled on the floor. And then the moment that everyone is waiting for arrives, and the grand lady of the theater parts her red velvet curtains, and the camera casts its magic on the screen.. All eyes are locked in, and the audience sinks into a relaxed lull, until some juvenile shit stick decides to light up a brand new pack of M-80 red rocket fireworks, and all hell breaks loose.

Those who have worked in theaters, and those who haunted enough, will all clearly tell you that anything and everything can take place between its grimy walls. While the experiences all varied from good to bad, to those requiring a hepatitis shot, they could never be erased. The assortment of sights, smells, stains, and characters are all locked away in the theater of our minds, encased in celluloid dreams forever more.

It’s no word of a lie when I say that some of the most enjoyable moments of my life were spent within the confines of a cinema. While the whole act may be ritualistic in itself, it was never the same thing twice. While you could always assume to know what was happening in terms of the film, you never knew what was going to take place in the darkness….

1974 – The Breezes Drive In – Canada

The first ‘movie memory’ that springs to mind is as a young whelp on an outing to see ‘Grizzly Adams’ at a local drive in. As expected, numerous ‘Coming Attractions’ were always previewed in between the features. Only imagine what sadistic intent the projectionist had in mind as he spooled out the trailer for Hershel Gordon Lewis’s pinnacle of sleaze, ‘The Gore Gore Girls’. Within 2 short minutes, I think every kid in the lot must have filled their shorts at having to bear witness to the brazen gore and all out carnality.

Attempts to quickly switch the reel for a Felix the cat cartoon were all in vain. The damage had been done. It was that sleazy trifecta of boobs, blood, and a fake fork in the eye that warped our fragile young minds ineludibly. Many years later I was able to share my recollection with the director himself. While HG Lewis thanked me for appreciating his films, the only thing he could say regarding the incident was, ‘That projectionist was insane. He should have been arrested’

1987 – Ottawa Canada

I never had the chance to see, ‘Platoon’ during its initial release, so decided to catch a screening at a nearby rep cinema while attending university. It’s no surprise that people have been known to fire up various kinds of ‘smoky treats’ while in the cinema, and others have sometimes reacted less than favorably.

The hophead in question tried to play it incognito by sitting in the back row against the wall, but the pungent odor of his skunk weed gave him away. While most of the theater tried to ignore the green fog that hung in the air like a Godzilla fart, one man wasn’t having it. After telling ‘billy burnout’ several times to, ‘quit burning that shit’, the man finally got up, and grabbed a fire extinguisher posted beside the exit, and blasted the baked bean, covering both stash and stoner in a white sticky chemical foam. Now we were all treated to the delightful scent of dirt weed, and toxic foam.

The irony was that after both were escorted out of the theater, and the film resumed we all sat and watched as a young Charlie Sheen got high by taking a mega shotgun toke from the barrel of a rifle. Does life mimic film, or does film mimic life?

1987 – Ottawa Canada

Months later at the same theater during an Exorcist/Hellraiser double bill, the audience really lost their shit during a simulated medical ‘possession’.

We were seated near the front of the theater, and had no visible vantage point to what was going on behind us. At some point in the middle of The Exorcist, a woman seated behind us suddenly lets out a scream like a shotgun blast. Immediately the whole theater pulls a Linda Blair and spins their heads to see what was going down. The woman continued screaming in agony as her hair was knotted in the fist of a man seated immediately behind her. His eyes were rolled back in his head, and he was bent as if someone broke his spine. After rocking his head back and forth, he unloaded a stream of spittle and vomit over those near by.

A quick thinking patron recognized that the poor guy was in the midst of a ‘Grand Mal’ seizure, and quickly crammed his wallet in his mouth, and called an ambulance. After finding out he was going to be ok, and that the woman didn’t lose that much of her scalp, we didn’t have the heart to sit there and watch Lind Blair re-enact what just took place in the theater, so we left.

1992 – Toronto International Film Festival – Midnight Madness

Whodini was right on the money when they said that the ‘freaks come out at night’.

Back in the day when the ‘Midnight Madness’ program was based out of the Bloor cinema, every funky film junkie would burn the midnight oil to catch the latest fringe freak out.

It was during a screening of the notorious Belgian serial killer mockumentary, ‘Man Bites Dog’ that I was introduced to, ‘The giggler’. He sat alone in the dead center of the theater, and softly chuckled to himself at first. As the film progressed, and developed in violent intensity, the man began to respond with giggles, snorts, and a  snicker like Ernie on Sesame Street.

At first,  while some in the audience nervously laughed along, thinking they missed the black humor in the film, it soon began apparent that the giggler was beginning to wig everyone out. The film was billed as a, ‘killer  comedy’, and there were points where people laughed understandably, but the giggler was in a zone of his own, reveling in glee at all the wretched low points the film had to offer

As the film reached the point of a horrendous rape and murder, chuckles could hardly contain himself, and laughed and giggled, and bounced in his seat like a kid on Christmas morning. People might have their fetish of choice, and all the power to them, but  this guy was ready to launch,  and it was flat out capital D disturbing. Without a doubt, this was probably the creepiest experience I’ve had in a theater to date.

The ironic point to be made about the giggler is that he comes in many forms and variations. We had our own hometown giggler who used to haunt the local Brantford mall, and Odeon cinemas, alone in the dark, chuckling away at whatever amused his twisted sensibilities.

Our final true tale of cinema also took place during the 92 Midnight Madness run. A female friend and I decided to check out the latest splatastic film of a talented low budget director who would soon establish himself as a major player in Hollywood, and abroad.

As we sit down, I happen to notice a crew of stewed prunes in suits seated right behind us, just reeking of hooch. My friend happened to ask me if I had seen any other films, and I had mentioned that I had seen an up and coming crime film that was pretty decent.

All of the sudden one of the loudest pissed suits behind us leans over to inform me that the  crime film I had just commented upon was in fact a, ‘piece of shit’. When I asked the slobbering drunk why he happened to think so, all he could say was ‘because I directed the fucking thing all right?’ His arms started flailing like propeller blades,and from there on in, he could not be stopped. Off he goes into a non stop balls to the wall coco puff spastic diatribe about how he had to get his cast for the movie, most of who were seated beside him, barely vertical.

Soon the lights dropped, and Mr. ants in his pants danced out of the theater nowhere to be found. Apparently rumor has it he crawled into the lobby, and blew enough chunks to fill a reservoir ten times over…..

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Everybody’s got a true theater tale to tell, and we encourage you to lay it on us.

It doesnt have to be sick, sordid, or crazy shit. What were you fondest moments in a theater, or the moments you keep trying to forget? The moments that made it all more that ‘just a movie’….Let the tales commence….

Wayback Archives #3 Interview with director Julien Nitzberg on “The Wonderful Whites Of West Virginia”

Posted in Daily flow on February 7, 2011 by twm68

In 1991 PBS public television released the ‘different drummer’ series of documentaries, focusing on eclectic and unique performers throughout the United States.

The most memorable character to emerge out of the series was Jesco White, a second generation mountain clog dancer from Boone county West Virginia. At first glance Jesco comes off as your typical backwoods ass scratching hillbilly, but as a simple assessment, it criminally sells Jesco short. Some see him as Appalachian redneck royalty, some see him as a tap dancing Elvis impersonator, and other simply see him as a glue sniffing criminal.
The best way to approach Jesco White is the same way you might take a pull of moonshine. Take a hit straight and strong, and see where you stand after the fact. You’ll either go back for more or swear off the stuff for life.

Director Julien Nitzberg first crossed paths with Jesco and the White family while shooting a documentary on one man psychobily legend Hasil Adkins.
It was no co-incidence that Hasil also happened to reside in the same county,
which was becoming notorious for it’s outlaw tendencies. After time, and slow exposure to Jesco and his clan, Nitzberg soon gained their trust and friendship. After a number of years, with the approval of the White family, Nitzberg assembled a bare bones crew, and began to put together footage for what would come to be known as, ‘The Wonderful Whites Of West Virginia”.

After hearing about the project, I got in touch with Julien before the initial release of the film, to ask about the filming process, and his relationship with the ‘Wonderful Whites’.

Originally published on ‘Pop syndicate’

Family Tradition: Documenting The Wild and Wonderful Whites Of West Virginia

‘A little rebellion now and then is a good thing’ – Thomas Jefferson

There are those who will tell you that any society worth it’s weight should not only be measured by the powers that establish the rules and boundaries of the land, but also by those who choose to live outside of these parameters.

A paradox emerges as those who remain on the fringes of society become just as respected as those who try to establish the boundaries. From Billy the kid, to Boxcar Bertha and Bonnie and Clyde, these anti-social legends make up just as much of the fabric of America, as any politico or social activist out there. The rebels are revered for their disregard of laws, and their refusal to be reeled in by social constructs, and presumptions. While America has prided itself in it’s pursuit of ‘taming the wild frontier’, the rebels have always claimed the frontier as their own, as something that will remain forever wild, true, and free. One family of renegades who have carried on the torch of social dissent, are the White family of Boone county West Virginia.

Many throughout West Virginia will tell you that trouble follows the White family, in the same way that stink trails shit. The family is infamous for their conflicts with the law, and charges of drug dealing, robbery, assaults, and attempted murder. Regardless of the disdain and negative reputation, there are others who see the Whites as a rare and honest breed, who are just basically following the American tradition of the ‘pursuit of liberty’ as they see fit.

Director Julien Nitzberg has been a friend of the White family for 20 years, and has just released his documentary, ‘The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia’, that premiered at this year’s Tribecca film festival in New York. He is no stranger to documenting the wild residents of Boone county, having shot, ‘The wild world of Hasil Adkins’ in 1993, and acting as associate producer on, ‘Dancing Outlaw’, the story of Jesco White. With his recent film, Nitzberg became a fly on the outhouse wall, documenting the family for a full year, with an unblinking eye, warts and all. To hear Julien tell the tale, the project came about from past footage he had shot, and interest from Johnny Knoxville.

‘I’d actually shot a bunch of footage prior to Dancing Outlaw of Jesco and Mamie White hanging out. I always wanted the world to see this footage. Then, out of the blue, I got a call from a friend telling me that Johnny Knoxville was a big fan of my Hasil Adkins documentary and wanted to know if he could call me. I ended up showing him my “secret Jesco footage” and Knoxville got obsessed with it. We started talking about figuring out a way to release it.

I remembered how I’d found everyone in the family to be as wild and interesting as Jesco.   So Knoxville and I developed the idea to go back and explore a documentary about the rest of the family and the younger generations of what had become, since Dancing Outlaw, West Virginia’s most famous or (depending on your point of view) infamous family. Out of his own pocket, he paid for me to shoot for four days with one of his childhood friends Storm Taylor as my producer. Strom had known the Whites for a few years and was invaluable. We came back with what would become the basis of the film. That was cut into a twenty minute mini-documentary which we took to Jeff Yapp at MTV who kindly agreed to finance us to follow the family for a full year.’

Given the nature of the brood, and the circumstances that unfolded within the film, one could say that Nitzberg captured lightning in a bottle. There’s little chance that anyone outside of close friends would be given the chance to record the family so intimately for a year without having their  ass handed to them.

‘It was always difficult. There is so much stress in the family and this time was particularly stressful because of all the problems we show in the film. Because I have such a close friendship with the Whites they are completely comfortable with the camera. I called what we were creating “immersive filmmaking.” There was no distance between us and the family, nor could there be. It’s hard to have distance when you have 5 family members and 5 crew members crowded into a tiny apartment or trailer for hours every day. Instead, we became a complete part of their lives. When we ate, we turned the cameras off and ate with the family. We really became like family. People have commented that we have been able to get amazing intimacy in our footage. I think this is because we were more like family members shooting home movies than outsiders filming them.’

On screen the Whites come across with all the subtlety of a fart in church. Lines are chopped, pills are popped, and people are shot full of holes, all with a blatant disregard for any form of law. But while the film boldly walks through the valley of Meth, and the threat of violence hangs prominently in the air, Nitzberg wisely shows the sad sober results that often come with living the outlaw lifestyle.

It was actually something Johnny Knoxville stressed early in the making of the film. He’s a super smart and insanely film literate guy and we agreed that this film wouldn’t just celebrate outlaw culture but also explore its pitfalls. We start off showing the wild, fun side of the outlaw life but at a certain point start seeding in how that self-destructivity can fuck you up.

Suddenly the audience realizes this isn’t all fun but is dangerous.’

From the conception of the project there were also a number of other intentions that the director felt the film had an obligation to convey. Considering the volatile nature of the family, it might have been tempting to portray them in a exploitative manner, but this was something that was intentionally avoided from the get go. Instead, the film retains an honest, and often poetic look at the Whites, as opposed the ‘white trash kitsch’ approach taken by the pervious film, ‘Dancing Outlaw’.

‘The Whites are funny as shit but also deep and I felt that Dancing Outlaw oriented a bit too much towards being a comic portrayal. They were concerned that they felt Dancing Outlaw was edited to mock them. I tried to let them know that if they did something foolish on camera, it might end up in the film, but it was not going to be approached in the manner of Dancing Outlaw. We did tell everyone that if they wanted us to turn the cameras off at anytime, we would, but if they didn’t, then anything could end up in the film. Since I’d known Jesco and Mamie for 20 years, they felt trust in me and a great sense of comfort.’

The other issue that the film tries to touch on is the matter of being raised in a continuous cycle of poverty, and the attempts (or lack of) to break the chain, and follow new roads to improvement. In the film, some of the clan are seen moving away from Boone county to find new opportunities for themselves, and to avoid the reputation that comes with the family name.

‘I think the Whites of Minnesota have a good chance to break the cycle because they are living in a different culture that also has more opportunities. Sue Bob has a daughter Ashley who isn’t in the movie and is a straight A student and wants to get out of Boone County. Kirk White is still doing well and is about to get her first legit job. In reality, America fucks the poor and the poor often fuck themselves as well. There are the occasional few who escape from poverty and because of amazing self-will make it to places like MIT. But this is the exception. No one really wants to show the other side and how the world is stacked against them. The film is about these cycles that generation after generation of families get trapped in that actually degenerate. With the Whites we also show that when you grow up in a criminal family, you learn different ethical codes that can fuck you early in ways that fuck you up for the rest of your life. You see your elders talking about crimes in a romantic way and you idolize those people and end up replicating their behavior, stuck in a cycle that becomes nearly impossible to escape. These cycles aren’t a West Virginia phenomenon but a phenomenon you can see anywhere there is a criminal culture. But the impossibility of escaping them is what intrigued me in following the different generations of the family.

As a whole, the film really shines a light on the ‘human’ nature of the White family, as opposed to the reputation. Lives are lost, and penalties are paid for dearly, but yet they still maintain their dignity, and will to carry on. In a way the film comes across as if Martin Scorsese directed an episode of ‘Hee Haw’. Regardless of your personal leanings towards the subject matter, it’s hard to remain unaffected at some of the stark reality that the film presents.

‘I really wanted to make a cinema verite documentary about the family. I love Boone County and the White family. If I could, I would make a documentary in that area every two years. That part of America is never shown in a realistic or non-patronizing light and I was eager to do that and show the background of the area as well. I hoped to make something they would like (even though I was more concerned with it being honest.) Amazingly, Jesco and Mamie loved the film. Unlike Dancing Outlaw, where there were obvious manipulations of the subjects, ours was super honest and non-manipulative. I warned Jesco and Mamie that parts would be painful to watch. Both were very affected by the scenes of their mother’s sickness, but in the end loved the film.’

To film and live with the most notorious outlaws of West Virginia for a full year is no small feat in itself. To have them turn around and embrace the film is nothing short of a minor miracle. After contemplating the end result, Julien Nitzberg, feels that one of his proudest achievements during the project was, ‘not getting shot’. All joking aside, all those involved in the production of the film should be commended for their expose on another side of West Virginia that few get to see outside of the hollow. The director makes it clear that the White family do not represent West Virginia as a whole, but only a segment of it’s colorful history.

They may not walk amongst the minds and higher class of the state, but they do represent the hearts and guts of the resilient people of Boone county.

The film itself pulls no punches, and Mamie and Jesco White would be the first to tell you so. It is what it is, take it or leave it, and some might say it’s like sitting down to a jelly jar of homemade swish. If you’re in, you’re in for the long haul, and some of it may leave a bad taste in your mouth, and make your head spin, but what a hell of a ride.

Goodnight Varla: Tura Satana: RIP

Posted in Daily flow on February 6, 2011 by twm68

“A strong woman is a woman determined to do something others are determined not be done.” – Marge Piercy

Today stands as a truly solemn day, with the passing of Tura Satana. For many of us, she was an indestructible black rose, thorns and all, ready to stomp a path through anyone or anything in her way. Every woman wanted to be her, and every man had masochistic thoughts of being under her boot heels.

While she stood as tough as they come on screen and off, she had to be. Tura was a survivor of many tribulations in life that few can say they could endure, but that she did. Those of us lucky enough who got to briefly know Turna knew she loved her dogs, and any animals in need, far more than most people. She was a sweetheart who always had a kind word, regardless of her situation, and always thought highly of her fans.

Tura faced despicable racism, growing up in American internment camps due to her Asian heritage. She was also sexually assaulted at a young age, and ran with several gangs in her youth.. Regardless of her chaotic struggle as a young woman, she never looked back, and carved herself a path to Hollywood starting as a photo model for silent film star Harold Lloyd. Tura would eventually gain fame as an exotic dancer, and dated Elvis for a time. She was proud that she could turn the head of the boy from Memphis.

Most know Tura for her role as the she devil Varla, in Russ Meyer’s 1965 magnum opus, ‘Faster Pussycat Kill Kill’. From one role, Tura established herself as a rule breaker, a back breaker, a one woman army who would stomp you into desert dirt just for looking at her. On and off the set Meyer even stated that she was not a lady to be fucked with.

While she didn’t hold a large number of roles in her career, Tura’s influence far outweighed her cinematic output. It’s no stretch to say that she clearly established a new place for ‘real’ women in Cinema. You didn’t have to be a ditzy blonde, a pretty face like Audrey Hepburn, or a helpless lass tied to the train tracks. Women were now seen as being strong, opinionated, and total shit kickers if need be. In terms of genre cinema, Tura paved the way for future names like Pam Grier, Sybil Danning, and Dyane Thorn. Thanks to drawing a new line in the desert sand, Tura leveled the exploitation playing field, and gave the ladies a chance to show they were just as tough as the boys, and could bust the balls of all the swinging dicks in Hollywood.

At the time of her passing, a documentary on her life was in production, and will hopefully be released in the new future, for many more to appreciate the wonderful lady, and her work. According to her manager, Tura passed due to heart failure, but she never failed in stomping a place in all of our hearts.

Thank you Tura, you beautiful bitch.We will remember you….

Wayback archives#2 Asian Trash Cinema issue-9

Posted in Daily flow on February 3, 2011 by twm68

Alright kiddies we’re rolling the clock back to 1995 for a number of articles I wrote for ‘Asian Trash Cinema’, which later became known as, ‘Asian Cult Cinema’. They aimed for a bit of legitimacy, despite the fact the magazine was just a front to pimp bootlegs that were distributed through the sister company Video Search Of Miami. There’s no way they’d get away with hawking half the shit they did today, but this was still at a time when many genre films were hard to come by, or not even re-distributed legitimately. People took what they could get.

You try not to spend so much time looking back, but there was nothing like getting a unmarked manila package in the mail, or that cardboard box, full of VHS goodness that Canada customs turned a blind eye to.

Review written in 1995

Death Powder –1986

Director: Shigeru Izumiya

With: Shigeru Izumiya, Takichi Inukai, Mari Natsuki

This is my first review I’ve proudly done for ATC, and what a doozy. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Death Powder when I threw it in the VCR. After twenty minutes I felt something kick me in the synapses, and I knew I was in for a hallucinatory treat, via some twisted Asian mind candy. Melted colors and blurred filtered images swam around my picture tube, and I started to think someone had thrown a batch of those special mushrooms into my beer again. The best way to watch the film is to let its dark visuals and twisted film style wash over you like a wave. This is the perfect kind of thing to throw on at a party with the volume turned off. It’s totally overwhelming and fascinating at the same time.

I couldn’t help but feel that director Izumiya was influenced by several twisted filmmakers in his dark surreal take on technology. The influence of films like ‘Videodrome’, ‘Hardware’, and obviously Shinya Tsukamoto’s ‘Tetsuo: The Iron Man’ can be felt all throughout this mind chewed flick. Much of the nightmarish imagery in Death Powder totally reminded me of the art of Hideshi Hino in his manga book, ‘Panorama Of Hell’.

There is so much visually going on in this film that the plot is hard to pick up on at first, but with repeated viewings everything makes sense. Sometime in the near future of Neo-Tokyo, a trio of renegade soldiers-of-fortune heist a stolen bio-cyborg, the Guernica. Little do they know that the android is still active and is capable of infiltrating their minds with its biological weapon—the Death Powder. Director Izumiya play Harima, the first of the trio to be taken over by the Guernica. Harima turns on his young partners Kiozi and Norris, and soon Kiozi is taken over by the Death Powder. As Kiozi succumbs to the bio weapon of the Guernica, he starts to trip badly into his mind and then the film fun begins.

Many will see it’s obvious that Death Power was filmed on a shoestring budget, but Izumiya makes up for this in his filming style. The film jump b&w to film to video with multi-layered imaging. Electronic pulses streak across the screen like spermatozoa and walls of flesh shimmer and glisten, breaking down and reconstructing itself at the same time.

Kiozi’s drug-saturated mind takes him back to the origin of the Guernica and it’s creator Dr Loo. A struggle begins between the new life provided by the Guernica and the world of the dead, inhabited by the nightmarish scar people. Kiozi finds himself being pulled between giving up his flesh to the scar people or living the life of a zombie under the power of the Guernica. In Izumiya’s world there is no happy ending.

The message is clear that in our glorification of technology we may wind up speeding ahead of the natural process of the death and destruction of life.

Shigeru Izumiya has created a film that manages to stretch beyond it’s boundaries, and screw with people’s minds in the process. As with Tetsuo, Death Powder has shown enough proof that you don’t need an outrageous budget to create visionary films of future technological nightmares. It’s really great to have some fresh Asian mind candy to chew on.. and something to scare the hell out of your friends with when they drop by for a visit. _________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yamato Takeru (Aka Orochi the eight-headed Dragon)- 1994

Director: Takao Oogawara.

Fantasy films of the far East have come a long way thanks to Tsui Hark and his ‘Chinese Ghost Story’ series, as well as his more recent films like ‘The Bride with White hair’ parts I&II. These films pulled you in with break-neck acrobatics, dazzling costumes, and legendary tales…all in all a feast for the senses. It seems that with new film these directors are trying to create visions more fantastic and outrageous than ever before. In the case of  Yamato Takeru this film shows that less can be just as good as more.

It’s no co-incidence that Yamato Takeru reminded me the classic monster movies of Toho studios of the 70’s, as director Oogawara had just previously helmed the last two Godzilla films in 1992, and 93. Despite the similarities, Yamato Takeru is a beast all of it’s own, no pun intended.  The film takes the classic Toho styling, and crosses them with classic stop motion effects that harkens back to the work of Ray Harryhausen in the Sinbad films. This is a great ilm to sit down and watch with kids on a Sunday afternoon. While it may not be as groundbreaking as the Sinbad films, or the Chinese Ghost story series, the film holds it’s own in terms of storytelling and delivering the goods.

Yamato Takeru is a tale about the gods created at the beginning of time, and how they lay dormant for thousands of years waiting to be called upon by man. Two brothers are born in the country of Yamato—Osamumko and Takeru. Both are destined to be king, but the birth of twins is a bad omen to the throne, so Takeru is taken to be executed by the king. The baby is saved by a golden phoenix, and is raised under protection by his aunt. The king’s advisor Tsukinha, plots against Takeru and plans on controlling the power of the dark gods to do his bidding. Takeru grows and gains the power of the gods to become, ‘the soldier of the gods’.

As Tsukinha plots and manipulates the dark powers of the gods, Takeru is blamed for the evil acts that occur. Takeru soon becomes banished from his own land, and must journey to clear his name, and destroy the evil raised by Tsukinha. As Takeru becomes stronger under the power of the gods of light, his evil adversaries also become stronger and more menacing. The journey begins with a group of rag tag heroes and ends with a battle of epic proportions.

The effects of Yamato Takeru are not state of the art, but work within the film’s framework none the less. The battles and monsters in the film kept taking me back to the sci-fi double features that were televised most Sunday afternoons. Sure, some of you might think that the Kumaso war god looks a bit cheesy, and a rip off of Gidrah, the three headed monster, but think again. It’s not the fact that Yamato Takeru is lacking as a film, but rather that most of us have been spoiled by much more extravagant fantasy films.

I like the fact that the film doesn’t try to beat you over the head with it’s content. It tells an epic story within it means, and provides classic characters and monsters. Anyone can get into Yamato Takeru as a light exciting adventure film to spend a couple of hours with. If you want extravagance, look to Tsui Hark, but if you want old fashioned fantasy, look no further.