Thursday, March 14, 2013

Widescreen CREATURE!

Been a little quiet here of late thanks to my BIG annual catalog project that keeps me busy for the first few months of the year. But I actually held a copy of the printed product in my hands today and breathed a big old sigh of relief.

We'll be back with more reviews and news soon, but I had to share this tidbit... our pals at Diabolik DVD just announced that they have the self-released, widescreen director's cut of William Malone's CREATURE (aka TITAN FIND) in stock!

If you've never seen it (or have only seen the full-frame versions that have been around on dollar DVD labels for years) this is a fun ALIENS rip-off with Kinski as Hans "Rudy" Hofner, a lounge lizardy alien explorer with lines like "zoom kind uv collactive intelligence" and the awesome "THIS CREATURE IS SLY!"

I can't wait to get my hands on it and see it properly presented for the first time as well as enjoy what I'm sure will be illuminating commentary from Malone!

Friday, January 18, 2013


When police track Wendt (Peter Vogel), a suspected ladykiller, to the home of Professor Alden (Richard Munch) it's up to the good doctor to keep the suspect occupied until he can formulate a plan to turn the tables. Naturally, the psychiatrist's plan includes showing the criminal the folly of his ways... by relating a trio of tales designed to illustrate that crime does not pay.

Yes, you've got that right, SPY AROUND THE WORLD (aka KILLER'S CARNIVAL) is an espionage anthology with each segment unspooling in a different exotic-ish locale (hence the title).

In the first segment (set in Vienna), a desperate woman seeks out suave man of mystery David Porter (Stewart Granger), a debonair detective who is the only one that can solve her journalist brother's murder. With the help of his dutiful butler Karl (Walter Giller), Porter works his sources, runs afoul of a nefarious nightclub owner and trips up the killer just as he tries to eliminate the detective. The lighthearted segment succeeds largely thanks to Granger and Giller, who have a fun crimefighter/sidekick dynamic that feels like they're two guys who have spent way too much time together. In fact, I was a bit disappointed when their segment ended – I could have taken a whole Porter and Karl flick.

If you think the first story sounds a tad lightweight, SPY's Rome segment is downright comedic, complete with wacky sound effects, an identically-dressed gang of mismatched thugs, a Rosa Kleb-esque female villain, double agent Margaret Lee ('natch) and 60s-era spy gags like a record pressed on pasta that our hero, Agent Brice (Pierre Brice), eats to destroy.

Your overall appreciation of SPY AROUND THE WORLD is likely to go as far as your willingness to dig this middle segment. Once I took a deep breath and remembered that by 1966 the tide of espionage cinema had turned from the rough-and-tumble FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE to the jokier, gadget-filled world of THUNDERBALL I had a much better time with the flick.

The third, and perhaps best segment, features handsome, imposing Lex Barker (THE TORTURE CHAMBER OF DR. SADISM) as hard-drinking detective Glenn Cassidy. After uncovering a plot to assassinate the Brazilian president during Carnivale in Rio, Cassidy hightails it south of the border and impersonates the assassin. Klaus Kinski (complete with tiny moustache) turns up in a couple scenes as "Gomez", a sweaty Brazilian rebel.

(By the way, what is it with these guys? Kinski, of course, made headlines recently after his daughter Palo accused him of abusing her when she was an adolescent. While checking out details for this review I was surprised to learn that Barker, who died of a heart attack at the age of 54 while walking down a NYC street, was accused of similar horrors by Cheryl Crane, the daughter of third wife Lana Turner.)

Directed in workmanlike fashion by a quartet of directors, SPY is about as light and fluffy as 60s Eurospy gets. It has all the trappings of the genre – exotic locations, colorful characters, double-crossing babes, convoluted denouements, a cast of familiar faces – delivered up in a series of bite-sized nuggets. Like a series of uninspired but pleasant sandwiches I consumed SPY over three lunch breaks and that may have been the best way to digest it. Certainly not required viewing, unless you're a Eurospy or Kinksi completist, but you won't hate yourself if you do end up downing it.

Poster image via

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Kinski Files Will Go On

In the wake of the recent disturbing – but not altogether shocking – news that Klaus Kinski's daughter had accused him of molesting her between the ages of 5-14, I wrestled with the future of this blog and, to be frank, my fascination with Kinski.

I've spent years acquiring his films, buying books and magazines, loading up on Turkish posters for largely-forgotten krimis. Would I be able to watch the films the same way again? Or, as The Spiegel posited in a recent article, was it possible to still be a fan of someone that was accused of something so monstrous?

At least one Kinski-related blog – the excellent Du Dumme Sau! – decided to pull the plug and retire, though I find it hard to believe anyone who had looked so closely at his life could truly be "shocked" by this news.

Kinski himself had alluded to such activities over the years, daughter Nastassja implied there existed an underlying real-life villainy to his reel-life madness, and in a book about 80s cinema one director mentioned the actor boasting of an illicit relationship with Pola. So it's not as if this information wasn't there if you wanted to look hard enough.

In the end, this blog and my interest in Kinski has largely been about his on-screen persona and the crazy energy he brought to his film appearances.

And that's the side of the man that I'll continue to explore, though I can't help but think that a darker vision will take shape as my eyes inevitably hunt for clues in his performances.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Four Kinski Flicks Crack Top 20 Spags List

I'm curiously uninspired about Quentin Tarantino's new flick, DJANGO UNCHAINED.

There was a time when you couldn't keep me from the theater when a new QT opened, but I've yet to see INGLORIOUS BASTARDS (or however he spells it) and despite largely positive feedback from folks I trust, I'm pretty sure I can wait till DJANGO hits Redbox before I even consider it.

But at least when Tarantino apes a genre it ends up generating articles like 'The Top 20 Spaghetti Westerns' which I read this morning.

Any longtime ER reader knows that Spags aren't really my thing. I find them overly long, cliched, dull and repetitive, but as a Klaus Kinski Kompletist I've had to watch more than my fair share.

That said, I was glad to see four Kinski flicks make the list (FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE, the underrated THE RUTHLESS FOUR, the overrated A BULLET FOR THE GENERAL and Sergio Corbucci's brilliant THE GREAT SILENCE, which clocks in at a well-deserved #2).

Frankly, I feel like the list is complete without at least one Sartana flick (even if I have yet to see one that's all that spectacular) and I'd have thrown the unique 3-D Spaghetti Western COMIN' AT YA! on there, especially after seeing the restored version earlier this year at ActionFest. I bet ER contributor John Grace would argue that some Tony Anthony flicks belong on there and for my money the overlooked Spaghetti giallo THE PRICE OF DEATH also belongs on any such list, as does the gory CUTTHROATS NINE.

But hey, at least they didn't include KEOMA.

What Spaghetti Westerns do you think got snubbed? Answer in the comments section below.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Scream Factory to Go SCHIZOID in 2013!

If you haven't noticed, the folks at Scream Factory have been knocking it out of the park lately, thanks to releases like HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH, the upcoming THEY LIVE Special Edition and recently announced titles like THE ISLAND, THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN and PHANTASM 2. 

And today comes the news that they'll be releasing three Cannon titles on DVD (possibly Blu-Ray depending upon the elements) next year, including 1980's SCHIZOID (aka MURDER BY MAIL) starring Klaus Kinski as a suave psychiatrist.

Here's the lowdown from their Facebook page...
Cannon films X-RAY (1981 - aka: HOSPITAL MASSACRE with Barbi Benton), SCHIZOID (1980 - starring Klaus Kinski) and THE GODSEND (1980 - starring Donald Pleasence's daughter, Angela) are on tap for a release late in 2013! All three have never been out on DVD before.  
As mentioned yesterday, these films will not show up on our schedule until later in 2013 so we cannot confirm they will be on Blu-ray as we have not seen the masters yet. We say this only to manage expectations. More details on these fun flicks will be presented next year.  
Have a great "Trick or Treat" filled weekend!
I haven't watched the flick in years so I'll be anxious to see how it fares. Here's my review of SCHIZOID from the special Kinski issue of ER.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

KLAUSDAY 2012: Happy 86th Birthday, Klaus!

Happy Klausday readers! Today is October 18th, the 86th anniversary of the birth of The German Olivier. I'll probably be celebrating the day with a long overdue screening of CRAWLSPACE. How about you?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Another Kinski Co-Star Bites the Dust

When I heard the news that Herbert Lom had passed away I was pretty surprised.

Not because I figured Lom, who died earlier today at age 95, was the picture of health or anything like that. It's just that I was almost positive Lom was already dead. In fact, I was pretty sure I'd already posted a tribute to him on this blog. (If I did, my apologies to the Lom estate!)

Lom, of course, is best known for his role as Inspector Clouseau's boss in the PINK PANTHER flicks starring Peter Sellers, the unused footage of Peter Sellers and to a far, far lesser extent Ted Wass. But here at The Kinski Files he'll always have a special place in our heart for his Eurotrash turns as Van Helsing in Jess Franco's EL CONDE DRACULA and as a prison warden in Franco's sweaty women-in-prison flick 99 WOMEN.

Check out the NY Times obit.