Wednesday, May 31, 2006

3 DEV ADAM - tremble with trepidation at Poptique's Righteous Review!!

Attentive Poptiquers, (with memories stretching back at least a month), will agree we’ve all been eagerly anticipating the latest release from Onar Films - Turkish Mondo masterpiece, 3 Dev Adam. I need not remind you of the contentious combination contained therein - the world’s mightiest heroes, Captain America and El Santo together for the first (and last) time! I shouldn’t have to repeat their nefarious nemesis is Spider-Man – the original wacky webslinger, now Istanbul’s most downright dastardly evildoer!

Well, 3 Dev Adam has arrived and can confidently claim to be just the sort of stellar release I expected. It was a tough task, but Onar’s hard work has paid off and their passion for the film is palpable.

The print quality isn’t great, but it's still leaps and bounds above any available bootleg – anyone familiar with this genre will have witnessed far, far worse. Let’s not forget this is a lost film – no known negatives, prints or first generation copies exist - so an eminently watchable, full length and subtitled DVD is good enough for me.

It’s ludicrous, hell-for leather, two-fisted fun - a sexed up Turkish take on the 60s Batman TV show. Rough around the edges, but with a genuine comic book appeal, it lives up to the legendary reputation - something a jaded schlock-hound like myself all too often finds not to be the case.

The presentation is superb - this is where disc becomes a definitive purchase for fans of International cult movies and especially Turkish cinema. Alongside stills, lobby cards, bios and filmographies are a brace of unique trailers. These include Demir Yumruk Devler Geliyor, a 60s Turkish Superman featuring a severely funky theme and an army of bikini-clad Girl-bots, atmospheric Gothic Horror Oluler Konusmaz Ki, and a deviously surreal Giallo - Aska Susayanlar Seks Ve Cinayet (Thirsty For Love, Sex & Blood!).

Best of all are the subtitled interviews, generously supplied by expert exponents Mondo Macabro, from their documentary on Turkish Pop Cinema. Rather than a few minutes of chat, they’ve pretty much handed over the complete rushes – 90 mins with three figures straight talking about the greatest era in Turkish exploitation! Where else can you see stuff like this?

At the end of the day though, isn’t this just some manky old rip off from the depths of forgotten film history, fit only for scorn and mocking laughter?

Well, no. Aside from being enthusiastically performed and immensely enjoyable, this is a true slice of social history. An astounding affiliation, illustrating how Popular Pulp Fiction from all over the world can be interpreted, enjoyed and embraced by different audiences and cultures.

That, and a speedboat reversing into someone’s face before the opening credits have even rolled.

Your very own copy of this limited edition disc can be ordered through a wide variety of online retailers, including Xploited Cinema and HKflix, directly at Onar Films or on eBay.

Monday, May 22, 2006

3 DEV ADAM - DVD release date announced!

Poptique declares the 24th of May International Dev Day! After a traumatic gestation and assembly, Onar Film's DVD presentation of infamous Turkish Super Hero epic 3 DEV ADAM is ready for release - mastered from the only surviving materials! Don't expect a restored, pristine image as no film prints or master tapes have survived into the 21st Century. Nevertheless, this is a marked improvement on all those horrendous bootlegs that have previously been the only possible way of wallowing in the film's wild excesses!

In case you've not been formally introduced to this notorious slice of relentless Pop-cinema - in which Captain America joins forces with El Santo to battle a sadistic and evil Spider-man - take a gander at an earlier post concerning the film.

The DVD includes English & Greek subtitles, 3 filmed interviews (including director Fikret Ucak and actor Aytekin Akkaya, who plays Cap), a photo gallery, trailers and more! It's limited to 1200 individually numbered copies - so you're advised to pick this up asap (you're also advised to call anyone caught selling bootlegs a succesion of nasty names).

Pre-orders can be placed at a wide variety of online retailers, including Xploited Cinema and HKflix, directly through Onar Films or on eBay.
Nuff said...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

SGT BILKO - The Phil Silvers Show on DVD

Here in the UK we were lucky enough to have The Phil Silvers Show, perhaps the greatest television sitcom of all-time, on permanent rotation.

Silvers played Master Sgt. Ernie Bilko, a bespectacled middle-aged huckster, running riot whilst trapped in an out-of-the-way Kansas Army camp. Constantly scamming (or bilking) his motley Motor Platoon of slovenly layabouts and befuddled, long suffering Colonel, Bilko generated a never ending supply of get-rich-quick schemes that rarely came to fruition, and played terribly with his conscience if they did. It was a role that vaudeville comic Silvers was born to play - so sublimely, in fact, that he was never able to escape the character or repeat it’s success.

As far back as I can remember, nary a year would go by without the BBC trotting out a batch of classic episodes from the 1955-59 series for another welcome airing.

Unfortunately all good things must come to an end, and in 2003 BBC schedulers discharged Bilko from the airwaves - the same year their own TV listings magazine revealed the show had once again been voted the ”Best Sitcom Ever”. Such comedy luminaries as Larry David and Ricky Gervais site Bilko amoung their favourite shows, and it’s banishment from UK TV means a whole new generation of comedy writers and performers are missing the chance to watch, enjoy and study near-perfect sitcom construction.

Luckily we also live in the DVD age and thanks to This Is Pop I’ve discovered a (year late) 50th anniversary collection has just been released. It features 18 remastered episodes plus a Kinescope of the lost pilot episode, appearances on Ed Sullivan and the Emmys, commentary from special guests and surviving members of Bilko’s Platoon, original titles and much more. Packaging is pretty bland, using the graphic design from the 1993 video releases, and only a few of my favourite episodes are featured, but it’s not a bad start.

Far from being an archaic monochrome antique, the Phil Silvers Show remains sharp, nimble and above all, incredibly funny – a testament to the brilliant writing and one-of-a-kind ensemble cast. One look at episodes such as The Twitch, Doberman’s Sister or The Court Martial should quickly convince you of that.

There’s a few Bilko websites out there, but this is the best.

Among the beauties on show is an insightful backstage article from the May 1956 edition of Collier’s which is certainly worth a read.

Friday, May 19, 2006

THE A-TEAM - "I simply refuse to use Air-travel as a mode of transport".

If it's 1985 and your B.A. action figure keeps making statements of this nature why not make a beeline for the local Wimpy Burger, to take advantage of their magnificent special offer?

After scoffing down a gristly burger what 8 year old could refuse a genuine A-Team action figure for a nothing but a fistful of loose change, or the princely sum of £8.99 to obtain lump of moulded plastic vaguely resembling a boat? The A-Team was like crack to us 80s kids!

Non-stop action, comedy and explosions, with bad guys flying through the air and Heath Robinson style inventions halting entire armies - it certainly was a one of a kind series, even if the idea of watching an entire episode today doesn't exactly fill me with enthusiasm. Nonetheless, I fondly remember what must have been the first post-modernist gag my tiny mind understood, when Dirk Benedict / Face did a double take as a Cylon walked past him, whilst a conversation concerning B.A.'s dislike for Airplanes can still elicit an excited response from anyone who grew up watching the show.

Last night Channel 4 gave us Bring Back The A-Team, during which presenter Justin Lee Collins attempted to reunite the surviving members of the aforementioned crack commando unit. Judgemental viewers might have considered it thirty minutes of decent material strung out to an hour with copious footage of hairy cornflake Collins hollering "Rock & Roll" as he sprinted across roads. They could also have pointed out that the "ambushes" on the cast looked pretty staged and this really was the type of thing Adam & Joe used to do, and with far greater expertise.

You wouldn't catch me saying derisive stuff like that though - I must admit some moments took me straight back to the Saturday tea times of my youth, the interview with the affable Mr.T was worth the price of admission, plus it was chock full of stories about George Peppard being a complete bastard. Any airplay for Pop Culture nostalgia is surely a good thing.

It's just a shame that offer isn't still on at the Wimpy, because I never did get that boat...

Friday, May 12, 2006


Caught the end of a documentary concerning my favourite Indian actor
Shammi Kapoor on TV last night - inspiring me to briefly wax lyrical about the guy unofficially known as the Bollywood Elvis.

I had a marvellous Elvis-style number in mind for you chaps, but why go to such effort when stellar individuals like raymondo1960 do all the leg work for you?

The clip below perfectly illustrates one of my favourite facets of 60s Bollywood cinema - characters having an outrageously good time and (to quote good friend Bill Barounis) dancing like they're on cocaine and being electrocuted at the same time.

Shammi is part of Indian Cinema's Royal Family - the son of Prithviraj Kapoor, and brother of Raj and Shashi Kapoor. At the height of the swinging 60s he took on the mantle of Bollywood's premiere rebel movie star - a combination of James Dean and Elvis Presley mixed in with some Cary Grant schmooze. Most of his leading man career was spent romancing such Bollywood Beauties as Padmini, Helen, and Asha Parekh, although I'm not 100% certain who the girl marvelling at Shammi's Mop Top is in this clip. You heard Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammad Rafi on playback duty.

The Janwar (or Beast) of the title is played by Shammi's real-life father, who no doubt disapproves of his son's wayward lifestyle and flouting of Apple Corps. copyright.

Janwar is a new one on me, so I'm indebted to Raymondo for the introducion. It only seems to be available on VCD from UltraIndia - worth mentioning they've a nasty habit of sticking nasty great copyright warnings all over the musical numbers. I can appreciate why they're doing it, but it's a complete arse for law abiding citizens like you and me.

Hmmm - this movie has got me thinking : what other classic Beatle rip-offs are there, aside from the Post-Python Rutles..?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

KANI GOALKEEPER dir Minoru Kawasaki (2006)

In a spectacular move for a World Cup year, soon to be released in Japanese theatres (and DVD) is an incredible tale of a giant footie playing Crab. The footballing shellfish also mixes a mean cocktail and comes with a bonafide pedigree from the director of Calamari Wrestler, Executive Koala and Kabuto-O Beetle.

All we need now is to find a similarly talented Sea Horse or Lungfish who can replace our beleaguered Roonster and England will be sorted for Germany.

Official website for KANI GOALKEEPER here, plus the trailer in realvideo here.

Via Twitch and Kung Fu Cult Cinema.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

STARCRASH (1979) dir. Luigi Cozzi

Over at the Telekino Blog is the original trailer for kinky Italian Star Wars rip-off StarCrash - and what a great trailer it is too. I concur that any free-thinking movie audience would go ga-ga over the crinkly sub-Harryhausen stop motion effects, relentlessly recycled laser-based hijinks and the delectable Caroline Munro smartly attired in a succession of revealing outfits. Of course, they'd also have to suffer through the histrionics of afro-permed Marjoe Gortner and David Hasselhoff, not to mention a wisecracking robot and a slumming Christopher Plummer. Admittedly, at times Starcrash feels like it's been stitched together from a bunch of random out-takes and unfinished sequences - but that, of course, is all part of the charm.

The film has crept out onto DVD in both France and America, but I must confess I've stuck with my old Pre-cert VHS from Vipco, who had the decency to release this Spaghetti Sci-Fi in widescreen before such things were considered fashionable. A shame about the somewhat less than inspiring cover art though...

Starcrash even had a sequel, of sorts - Starcrash II aka Escape From Galaxy III (1981), featuring Sherry Buchanan as Bellastar. This dispensed with the more costly aspects of the original and upped the kink-quota by throwing in a bunch of sex scenes. It also features a fantastic bad guy in the shape of Don Powell, decked out like a drag queen at a Studio 54 Mardi Gras. A review at the IMDB calls it "Later Period Italian Disco Peplum Star Wars Garbage, With Nudity", which pretty much hits the nail on the head.

If curiosity gets the better of you, both films are available on one DVD from Xploited Cinema, although Starcrash II is in French only (then again, if you must spend your time watching such low grade filth the least you could do is better yourself by learning another language).

Not one, but two websites have sprung up extolling the virtues of Starcrash from individuals with unhealthy obsessions - here and here. Kudos to them both.