Lunchmeat Magazine #9

As any longtime reader of this here lil website can tell you: I love cult films, especially the hard to find and under the radar type. Several years ago (probably almost 10!) I read an article about Lunchmeat Magazine. It was a new neat thing dedicated solely to VHS and VHS collecting. The zine was soaked in nostalgia for a time that I myself cherished. I picked up a copy and really enjoyed it. I reached out to the publisher Josh Schafer and offered to give him some reviews because I also collected VHS. The trick was the only movies reviewed in the zine had to be VHS only, no dvd releases. Challenged accepted and I had reviews in about 3 or 4 issues of the zine. Since I didn’t make it into issue #9 I wanted to review it here because my love for this zine has not diminished in the intervening years.

First off this could be the biggest issue ever at a whopping 52 pages of pure content. Lunchmeat does not sell ad space so the issue is 100% content and no pesky ads for crap you don’t want. It features several lengthy reviews of VHS-only movies, complete with scans of their front and back covers. It also features interviews with direct-to-video action star David Heavener, Philip Anselmo (!), Pleasant Gehman, Canon alum and Nu Image head Boaz Davidson, director Robert McGinley, and director Kevin J. Lindenmuth, as well as photos of odd vhs related collectibles, and promotional items sent to video stores. There’s also a comic and some vhs-related art. Like i said, this issue is absolutely stacked. There are very few zines out there that can boast such a long run and what Lunchmeat lacks in volume it makes up for in passion and longevity.

I’m so glad Lunchmeat is still around. Every issue is chock full of fun stuff and the level of quality found in each issue keeps increasing. VHS is still alive and well and the love of the format isn’t going anywhere. So long as there are still movies lost on VHS, Lunchmeat will be there to review them for our pleasure. Hopefully I’ll find my way into issue #10 and if not, I’ll bring you a review of it here!

You can pick up a copy at:

http://lunchmeatvhs.storenvy.com/

Abominable (2005)

I love the idea of bigfoot. I love that in North America we have our own cryptozoological creature that some believe is stalking the forests in the pacific northwest. In general, I love monsters of every kind and I’ve traveled through bigfoot country several times so it should come as no surprise that the stink ape is one I have a particular affinity for. Bigfoot movies however almost without exception, suck. Far more often than not, they’re not entertaining at all but instead boring. Why? Because making a Bigfoot costume is a pricey proposition and so film makers often hide their beast until the very end of the movie but by this time the viewer is in a movie coma induced by a dull script. There are however, exceptions to this rule and I’m happy to say that Abominable is one such exception.

Preston Rogers (Matt Mccoy) has suffered an unimaginable tragedy. Living in a small town in the middle of a forest, he and his wife were avid rock climbers. One day while climbing their rope snapped and his wife fell to her death. He survived but as a paraplegic. Now, as part of his rehabilitation he’s been brought back to his cabin 6 months after the accident, to face the tragedy so that he can move on. Escorted by a pushy male nurse named Otis, Preston doesn’t feel ready but Otis won’t take no for an answer. While there Preston sees a large group of young women move into the house next door for a weekend of fun. He also sees something in the trees that looks malevolent. Binoculars in hand he becomes more and more frighted by this mysterious entity. Otis keeps missing everything and so he believes Preston is trying to come up with a reason to leave. Preston’s fears are confirmed with the girls are attacked by a giant sasquatch. Now Preston has to find a way to save the survivors and get away from the cabin, but how can he? He can’t walk? The film also stars Jeffrey Combs and Lance Henrikson in bit parts but of course they steal the show.

Essentially, Abominable is Rear Window with a Bigfoot for the first hour or so. The last 30 minutes are dedicated to massive squatch action that is both surprisingly scary and gory. The Bigfoot design is very strong in Abominable. It’s a guy in a suit but it’s very well done. In particular the face is striking. It looks far more human than ape, with a giant mouth and teeth to match. For this release the film had to be re-cut using the 35mm camera negative. You see, when the film was released onto dvd, it was scanned to beta and edited in standard definition. For this blu-ray release they went back to the negative, scanned it and re-edited the whole film, matching the original cuts. They didn’t change anything except the eyes of the squatch. In the original release (included on the blu ray), the eyes were much larger. Apparently the computer files needed to re-do the eyes from the original release were lost so they had to be created from scratch again anyway and the director felt that smaller eyes would match the original design better. It worked, the bigfoot looks great. He looks larger than life and very scary. The attacks are surprisingly gory too. The film’s pace is more moody and suspenseful for the first hour and then kicks into high gear for the last 30 minutes. It’s never dull however due to the strong acting and solid writing.

The blu-ray also looks fantastic. Like I mentioned, it’s a brand new scan from the original 35 mm camera negative. It has never looked better. The blu comes with the original 2005 version in standard definition for those who prefer the larger-eyed squatch. The film also includes a making-of feature, bloopers, a commentary with the director, Matt McCoy and Jeffrey Combs, deleted scenes, and a short film from the director starring Kane Hodder.

If you’ve ever wanted to see the film or if you’re already a fan of it, this release of Abominable is perfect. The film looks and sounds fantastic and the blu is packed with special features. MVD’s Rewind Collection continues to impress me. I hope they continue to release unsung genre films for a long time to come.

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The Jurassic Dead (2018)

When it comes to movies involving dinosaurs to be honest they usually suck. Bringing a dinosaur onto the screen is pricey. Because of this more often than not films, especially low budget films, tend to fill up their dino related film with tons of garbage in an effort to distract the audience from realizing they are getting bamboozled. One would think that there would be a plethora of worthwhile dinosaur movies out there for the Awful Awesome fan but in my experience there isn’t. In fact I usually shy away from dinosaur movies because I’ve been burned too many times. But when I saw the cover for the Jurassic Dead and realized it was about military types being attacked by a zombie T-Rex I decided to roll the dice and give it a shot.

The Jurassic Dead begins with some sort of clandestine deal between a scientist and some bad guys. They want a super secret serum (that happens to glow green ala Re-Animator) and of course the deal goes bad. The scientist however has a baby zombie dinosaur which eats the bad guys, so bully for him. We fast forward a year and find our scientist being given the boot at his college research job because he wants to defy death. That’s way too edgy for the school and so he’s out of a job. On the way out he gets mortally wounded. Or did he? Fast forward more and we’ve got our evil scientist who has created his own warehouse of doom. We also meet some mercenaries who were hired to kill somebody but get stuck in the desert due to car malfunction. We also meet a car load of youngsters on their way to have some fun who get waylaid by car trouble as well. Together they stumble upon the scientist’s evil warehouse and find themselves stuck with the now fully grown zombie t-rex! They have to fight their way out and destroy the lab before they’re turned into zombies themselves by the T-Rex. Or eaten completely. Both are possible.

I had a blast with this movie. It starts with some cheap action and thankfully has plenty more action throughout the film. Much of the film was shot on green screen and poorly. That only ads to the fun though. One of the characters looks just like Duke Nuke’Em and another character remarks on it which was also awesome. Best of all however is that the dinosaur is feature prominently throughout the film and was created not through the ubiquitous CGI method but instead by puppetry! That’s right dear reader, they ditch the dodgy CGI found in most micro budget flicks and instead use a full size puppet. It’s awesome. It looks like a zombie t-rex and chomps it’s way through several characters. The fact that they went to the trouble of creating a puppet made won me over big time. That they actually used the puppet frequently makes this one a winner for me. The film’s official runtime is 82 minutes but that’s with 12 minutes of credits which means the actual movie is barely over an hour. Thankfully the film manages to avoid the common issue of useless dull filler to try to edge the runtime over into 90 minutes. Nor does it try to preach to us nor does it try to build background information we don’t require to enjoy the film. The storytelling is clunky and at times confusing but it certainly doesn’t waste the viewer’s time.

 

There’s plenty of action, bad dialogue, cardboard acting, and hokey special effects to keep you interested through the whole run time. There’s a genuine sense of fun and enthusiasm that permeates the film and that wonderful regional flavor that only can be achieved by earnest film makers creating movies with a passion and a modest budget. There isn’t an ounce of cynicism in the movie and that is rare indeed. The Jurassic Dead is like a badly drawn picture that a child spent a lot of time doing: the shortcomings are obvious but the passion and effort put into it are undeniable and charming.

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The Return of Swamp Thing (1988)

I have a memory from childhood involving Swamp Thing. I remember one year on Halloween being torn between trick or treating or watching the debut of the Swamp Thing cartoon. Or maybe it was a marathon. I dunno, all I remember is that the cartoon looked really cool but that getting candy for free was fun too. I decided to head out and trick or treat but it was a nagging regret for a long time. Later in life I stumbled upon this movie after I bought a big box of VHS tapes in the early 2000’s. I loved it. I went back and watched the first film and…didn’t love it. I’ve been meaning to check this out again and thanks to this fantastic blu ray from MVD, I finally got the chance.

The Return of Swamp Thing, directed by schlock king Jim Wynorski (The Lost Empire, Chopping Mall, Ghoulies IV, Deathstalker II etc), takes place after the events in the first film. Swamp Thing is hanging out in the swamp (naturally), protecting the denizens of the bog. Dr. Arcane returns from the first film as well and this time he’s trying to create an anti-aging agent so he can be young again. This involves splicing genes from random animals into humans (of course) and has created some pretty freaky creatures. One escapes to terrorize the swamp but ST doesn’t take guff from anyone, mutants or not. Dr. Arcane has a step daughter (played by Heather Locklear) who has seen her step daddy-o in 10 years. She suddenly decides to pay him a visit due to her crushing neuroses resulting from his abandonment of her after the death of her mother. She discovers the truth of Arcane’s insane experiments but it gets worse: Arcane wants to steal his stepdaughter’s essence because he believes it’s the key to his immortality. Thankfully Swampy has her back and wants to get rid of Arcane to bring peace in the swamp. There’s also two kids who have nothing to do with the plot of the film but are totally essential to the enjoyment of the movie.

The Return of Swamp Thing was rewarding on rewatch. It was just as much fun as I remembered it being. It’s very goofy with monster-in-a-suit action that never gets old for me. The designs were reminiscent of the style found in early 90’s oddball films like Freaked. Swamp Thing looks fantastic and is a big improvement on the first film. He looks like he walked right out of the comics. The plot moves along briskly and never gets bogged down with dull melodrama. For comic purists Return of Swamp Thing is probably too campy and silly but for the rest of us who like a good monster movie, Return of Swamp Thing is a blast. I loved the two children in the movie placed as comic relief. I hadn’t seen the movie in nearly 15 years and they stood out clearly in my mind even after all that time. Children in movies can ruin an otherwise solid movie with needless schmaltz and tone deaf humor but these kids are a blast. Sure they have no reason to be in the movie and their presence never really pays off but they’re a lot of fun and add to the flavor of the movie. If you’re looking for a series film about Swampy, this is not your flick. But if you want to watch something light and fun and dare I say, innocent. This is perfect.

The blu looks fantastic as well. I hadn’t seen the movie since 4×3 vhs and this is a wonderful improvement. The colors are bright and clear, the picture sharp, and the sound great. The blu is also filled with a bunch of interviews and a commentary track from director Wyrnorski as well, all of which is brand new for 2018.

This release proves that the MVD Rewind series is one worth keeping any eye on. They’ve given this small film the royal treatment and rewarded us fans with a fantastic release.

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Bruce’s Deadly Fingers (1976)

I have a confession to make: I didn’t grow up on Bruce Lee. I grew up during the wonderful action boom of the late 80’s and 90’s. My manly action heroes are Arnold & Jean Claude & Sly. I also love Dolph, Billy Blanks, Bolo Yeung and more. Bruce was a little bit before my time. That said, being the voracious cinema watcher that I am, I have of course seen a few Lee movies. I have also seen lots of kung fu films, mostly from the Shaw Brothers but also Golden Harvest. I like Bruce Lee, I just don’t worship him ok? Because of this the concept of Brucesploitation didn’t appeal to me in any meaningful way aside from curiosity. You see, Bruce Lee was such a huge phenomenon at the time of his death that fans didn’t want to admit that he had died. There were rumors that his death was faked and that he had instead escaped the limelight, much like with Elvis. This opened the door for the concept of faux Bruce Lee movies staring actors that were able to emulate his style and look. Low budget hucksters in Hong Kong capitalized on this fad by pumping out lots of these types of films in the hopes of decieving a paying customer into thinking they were getting a new or “lost” Bruce Lee film. Heck, this method was even used to help launch Jackie Chan’s career. Bruce’s Deadly Fingers is one such film starring Bruce Le (note the missing “E” from the last name). Le made a career cranking out these types of movies but was talented in his own right. Bizarrely he can be seen in the horror film Pieces briefly after he nearly gets run over by a motorcycle.

The plot of Bruce’s Deadly Fingers is simple. The film acknowledges the death of Bruce Lee but posits that he had left a book that detailed his Five Finger style. The style as the title suggests is deadly and all sorts of criminal kung fu ne’er-do-wells want it. Our hero is Bruce Wong, Bruce Lee’s friend. Distraught over the death of his friend, Wong returns to Hong Kong only to find that some seriously bad dudes are trying to find the mysterious Five Finger Kung Fu book. They’ve also kidnapped Bruce’s sister and forced her into prostitution! Wong has to stop the bad guys, find the book, and rescue the girl.

For fans of 70’s kung fu, this movie is a treat! The film begins with a fight and then shoe horns fights into the plot every 5-7 minutes, making this movie about as action packed as a plot will allow. The fights themselves vary in quality but the film overwhelms the viewer with the sheer volume of punches, kicks, and tosses. The film also explodes with 70’s fashion. We’re talking bell bottoms, platform boots, and colorful button down shirts with wild prints, and these are all worn by the male characters. This film was made at the height of what we consider 70’s style so the fashions and room decorations are entertaining all on their own. Bruce Le does a good job of carrying the film. He’s charismatic and energetic in his fights. It’s obvious he’s giving his all and for my money, it’s a lot. Aside from a rather disturbing scene involving torture by snake, the film isn’t particularly memorable but it sure is fun.

But what about the picture? These films, and kung fu films in general, are notorious for poor quality duplication. Not so here. The film’s image is crisp and clean with no print damage or audio corruption. The blu ray box states that it was mastered in 2k from the original 35mm negative and it shows. This film has never looked this good. The audio is dubbed however without the option of the original language track. The film does however come with a commentary track from Michael Worth, Bruce Lee and Brucesploitation expert.

This was my first Brucesploitation film I’ve ever seen. I had a really good time watching it and I’m very glad that VCI was able to release the film in this high of quality. I’ll be on the lookout for more Brucesploitation films and hopefully they’ll release some similar titles.

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Scalpel (1977)

Before getting this disc I had never heard of Scalpel. I had however seen director John Grissmer’s other film Blood Rage. Blood Rage is a fantastic slasher film that deserves a much bigger following. It has tons of gore, cheese, and a breakneck pace. It’s fantastic. On the strength of Blood Rage I decided to check out Scalpel. I didn’t know what to expect as it’s quite a bit older than Blood Rage but I figured I was in good hands.

Scalpel is about an affluent and unscrupulous plastic surgeon. His daughter, overwhelmed by his win-at-all-costs attitude vanishes one night. Soon after her uncle dies and bequeaths his entire and sizable estate to her because she’s his favorite niece. Shocked that he inherited nothing and that the entire estate may never be claimed due to his daughter’s extended absence, he becomes enraged. On his way home from the reading of the will, he stumbles upon a woman that has been badly beaten. Her face has been crushed in a violent assault. He hurriedly takes her to the emergency room where he determines her life can be saved but she’ll need emergency plastic surgery to reconstruct her destroyed face. It’s then that he hatches his crazy scheme: he’ll make this unconscious woman look identical to his daughter so he can have her impersonate his progeny in order to get the inheritance. She’ll get some of it, but he’ll get most and he’ll be even more rich. He teachers her how to talk like his daughter, information about the family, and her mannerisms in order to pass her off. It isn’t long before suspicions grow within the family and when his real daughter shows up he’s caught between a rock and a hard place.

Scalpel is a lot of fun. True it doesn’t feature the over the top gore that made Blood Rage so memorable and it’s firmly within the style conventions of the 70’s but it’s twisty plot features plenty of suspense and darkly funny cruelty similar to an episode of Tales from the Crypt or an E.C. comic or perhaps Creepshow. The audience waits for the dear doctor to get his comeuppance for his cold blooded deeds but our obvious dislike for the maniacal doctor does nothing to diminish the suspense. Indeed the film is cast in the mold of a classic morality tale against the power of greed and is a pleasure to watch. If the viewer goes into the film with the right expectations, Scalpel is a great hidden gem.

The film comes with two different film grades. One is approved by the cinematographer Edward Lachman (Erin Brocovitch, Far From Heaven, The Limey etc). This grade is very green/yellow and highly stylized. To my eyes it looks like it was filmed in pea soup. It’s supposed to look southern gothic but instead it just looks grungy. Arrow provided their own grade, which, to my knowledge is a first for them. This grade is natural with vibrant colors and completely removes the green/yellow hues. This is the grade I watched and it looks fantastic. The disc also comes with interviews with cast/crew and other special features we come to expect from Arrow.

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Voice Without a Shadow (1958)

Director Seijun Suzuki was a titan of Japanese cinema. Appreciated for his output during the 60’s and 70’s, he began making films in the 50’s and continued to work all the way into the 2000’s. Known as a stylist, his films have garnered a rabid following. Voice Without a Shadow is one of his lesser seen films from early in his long career. Released by Nikkatsu studio and re-released by cult film titans Arrow Video as part of the Nikkatsu Diamond Guys set, Voice Without a Shadow deserves to be rediscovered.

The film begins with a vicious murder and a mysterious call by the perpetrator to a phone operator. Terrified she tells the police and the police round up suspects and have them speak to her over the phone. No dice. None of the suspects match. The murder goes unsolved until one day when one of her husband’s shady friends calls their home. She recognizes the voice as the murder’s and he knows she recognizes it. It turns out the man has also been blackmailing several people in town and using her husband as a go-between, unbeknownst to her husband. When the blackmailer/murderer turns up dead, her husband is suspect number one because of their association. His wife, along with a plucky reporter investigate the case to root out the real murderer of the blackmailer/murderer.

This film oozes style. Every shot is carefully crafted and designed in a way that only Suzuki could do. The film has lots of wonderful dolly and tracking shots, great shots of architecture and scenery. The film is pure eye candy. So much so that i had trouble following the movie because i was too busy getting an eyeful of the compositions. The film is a wonderful twisty noir that kept my attention throughout it’s whole run time. ’58 is late in the game for a noir but this one hits the right marks and should be spoken of in the same breath as the genre standouts. I had a great time watching this film and I’m so glad it’s finally readily available in the states. It may be an early film from Suzuki but it shows no sign of being made by an inexperienced film maker. Suzuki knew was he was doing right out of the gate.

The film looks fantastic with a great restoration from Arrow. The special features are a bit skimpy but that’s because there are 3 films included in this set, all on one disc. Fret not however, there are no signs of compression. The film looks pristine.

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Doberman Cop (1977)

After a very tiring day, I just wanted to sit back and watch something fun. Something that wouldn’t be too taxing hit all the right notes. That something I grabbed was Doberman Cop. This 70’s Japanese cop/gangster flick starring Sonny Chiba looked like the perfect movie to cure what ailed me.

Doberman Cop begins with the discovery of a burned human body inside a building that was set aflame by an arsonist. A string of serial murders is also being investigated and a detective from Okinawa has come to track down a missing person from his village. This detective, played by Sonny Chiba, is the titular Doberman Cop. He arrives wearing a straw hat, shabby clothes, and has a live pig he carries around in a sack. Constantly talked down to, he’s actually a damn good detective who doesn’t mind cracking a few skulls to get what he wants. He’s also armed with a .44 Magnum and the stones to use it. It turns how his missing person is some how involved with the murders happening throughout the city and so he and his pig begin to dig into the underbelly of the city to get find the guy responsible and put him to sleep.

Because Doberman Cop was directed by Kenji Fukasaku (The Yakuza Papers), one might assume that the film would be dense with lots of complex character relationships. That’s not really the case. The film was actually based on a popular manga and as such relies more heavily on swagger and action than a highly detailed plot. Sonny Chiba turns in a performance worthy of his name as his relishes being taken for a fool and then proving everyone wrong, usually with a knuckle sandwich thrown in. The music is bombastic and fun and supports the macho vibe of the film very well. Of course because it’s directed by Fukusaku, the film breezes along at a fast clip and never becomes dull. This might not be one of his masterpieces but it sure is a lot of fun. Doberman Cop is a well told story with equal parts style and action. It was everything i was hoping it would be.

The blu looks great as always with Arrow Video releases. The disc comes with some great features like a great (and informative) introduction from a Fukasaku scholar, a new interview with Sonny Chiba and the writer of the film and more. If you enjoy 70’s cop flicks, this one would be right up your alley. If you love 70’s Japanese cinema then this one is a must see.

 

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The Sword and the Claw (1975)

Set during medieval times, The Sword and the Claw is about a bearded and super studly king named Soloman. The guy loves the ladies and impregnates a queen because she cant deny his macho appeal. He’s executed and the queen he impregnated gets thrown in the dungeon after she gives birth. Another Solomon sired is secreted out of the kingdom and the child is raised by lions. He takes after his old man and is super strong and super hunky. He has the sacred royal birthmark that tells everyone he’s the descendant of King Soloman. He learns of his lineage and leads a band of rebels to depose the king and take over the kingdom with a lot of jumping, punching, and sword fights. After having his hand burnt by acid, he has a blacksmith build him some lion claws that he uses to attack the henchmen of the king with bloody fervor.

For those lucky enough to see Turkish Star Wars I’ll tell you up front that the Sword and The Claw isn’t as bonkers. Then again there are few movies that could compete with Turkish Star Wars. It’s kind of a genre unto itself. While The Sword and the Claw may be more grounded in reality, it’s still very wild and fun. The costumes in this movie are absolutely fabulous. The characters wear vivid colors, spray painted hard hats, fake beards, and brandish wooden swords painted to look like metal. The music feels like it was lifted from a comedic caper and feels very out of place in the film, giving the action sequences a happy slapstick vibe. The fight scenes themselves are ludicrously over the top with our hero taking down scores of bad guys in one hit. Arkin gets to show off his impressive gymnastics skills throughout the movie which only adds to the ridiculousness of the film. The dubbing is also pretty funny with some very bland deliveries during intense scenes and some very funny lines like, “what do you want you lousy bitch!?” That line in particular had us cracking up. There’s plenty of action and blood in the movie and even a smidge of gore thrown in for good measure. The film doesn’t overstay it’s welcome either with an efficient run time and plot. Thankfully there isn’t much down time in the movie and the hijinks have just enough variety so the movie never gets stale.

The Sword and the Claw is a fun fantasy action flick that delivers the bad movie goods. I’ll admit that this kind of sword and sandal kind of flick often don’t work for me but I had a good time with this one. It may not be pantheon but it sure is fun.

AGFA have done a nice job on releasing the film too. The film is sourced from a 35mm print in pretty decent shape. The film has scratches and artifacts from being abused since it’s release in ’75 but the colors are rich and the sound is clear. The blu also features a bonus film called Brawl Busters (1981). I haven’t watched it yet but I’m looking forward to it. If AGFA keep putting out lost gems like this they will earn themselves a very loyal following. I can’t wait to see what they release next.

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Pulp (1972)

About a decade ago I watched Get Carter (1971) with my uncle. I had never seen it and it was one of his favorites. I could see why. Michael Caine plays a great tough guy, it had memorable lines of dialogue, and great hard nosed action. Fast forward to today and I discovered that Caine made another film with director Mike Hodges (who also directed Flash Gordon) directly after Get Carter called Pulp (1972). Intrigued I popped the disc in to check it out.

Taking place in Malta, Michael Caine plays Mickey King, a hack pulp fiction writer specializing in cheap detective novels that feature violence and sex in equal measure. He’s approached by a grizzled older man smoking a cigar claiming that he has a job for Mickey. It seems that there’s a mysterious actor who lives nearby that wants Mickey to ghostwrite his autobiography. Why? Because the actor loves his work. Mickey agrees and is taken on a long trip to the actor’s villa. On the way Mickey finds the dead body of a man he suspected to be his contact for the actor. Troubled Mickey continues the trip until he’s contacted by the real contact for the actor. So why was the other man murdered? Was Mickey the real target? Shaken, Mickey meets with the actor, Preston (Mickey Rooney). Preston was indeed a major actor until his connections to the mafia were publicly released and he had to flee to live in isolation. Fearing for his life, Preston won’t leave his villa until he’s told Mickey everything that belongs in his book. From there more twists and turns occur and I won’t spoil it here but Mickey’s life imitates his art.

Pulp is an odd duck of a film. It’s a comedy but a dry one, filled with slight humor. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, this isn’t. But it wasn’t supposed to be. It’s very British and so the humor mostly comes from odd situations, places, and people, rather than big slapstick moments (though there are a few of those too, such as cars around Malta continuously crashing). The film is also a mystery but one that takes almost the entire runtime to finally begin and quickly end. It’s too silly to be a thriller, but too slight to be a pure comedy. I’ll be honest and say that at first I was bothered by this. It doesn’t conveniently fit into a prescribed genre. This means that if you measure it by genre standards, either comedy or thriller, it fails. But if you measure the film on it’s own terms and try to appreciate it for the anachronistic beast it is, it’s a good film. Caine is fantastic in it as are the other actors. I could see myself revisiting the film again later due to it’s odd voice and pacing as well as the great comic timing of Caine. My only complaint is that the color palette of the film is very brown. Brown cars, brown walls, brown suits, everything brown. It’s an odd complaint but what the heck, this is an odd movie.

As always with Arrow releases, the print looks and sounds fantastic. Given the films’ limited color palette it needs all the help it can get, visually speaking, and arrow has done another great job. The film has some nice supplements too, mainly interviews with cast members (no Caine though) and crew.

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