Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Shocking and Sexy Ad Mat Attack!

Sometimes there is truth in advertising. When I first discovered the Asia I love, I could not have described it more aptly than the copy above. With the advent of the internet, Asia's exotic cultural treasures have become even more apparent.

I first encountered Shocking Asia when I was a night dubber of VHS videos in the mid-80's. Our biggest client was K-Tel Video, and, oh boy!, did K-Tel have some fan-tastic titles.

The moment I looked up from my tape checking and saw a wrestling dwarf sliding across a canvas on his forehead, I was hooked on this goodness. The film also featured a visit to a Japanese sex museum, victims of leprosy (a favorite disease of Mondo filmmakers), a sex change operation, and the piercings and stabbings of sacred flesh.

To make matters even juicier, the Shocking Asia score is bombastic and catchy, a rousing celebration of all that is weird and wonderful in our world.

Absolutely one of my favorite Mondo movies, and if you want to see even more of the same, pick up Shocking Asia 2. Both have just been released (together) in Australia on DVD.


Although titled Zombie in the U.S., it was titled Zombie Flesh Eaters in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. Was that because zombies were less understood outside North America?

"What in the blazers is this Zombie flick about, mate?" went the conversation (perhaps).

"Got me buggered, mate. Wouldn't know."

"Then take a look at it, ya bludger. We're releasing it next week."

One day later:

"So, mate, did ya get a chance to take a gander at that Zombie picture?"

"Yeah, mate, I did. Not bad. Not bad at all."

"What was it about, mate?"

"Well, mate, these zombies eat human flesh. One even eats a bloody shark."

"Strewth! A shark?! Ya fuckin' kiddin'?!"

"No, mate. Takes a big bloody bite out of it while some bird's swimmin' around starkers."

"Fuck me drunk! Sounds like a bloody good show."

"Too right, mate. They'll be chunderin' in the aisles with this one."

"But we can't just call it Zombie."

"The Yanks called it that."

"Yeah, but the Septics are into that weird shit."

"So what are we gonna call it?"

"Fucked if I know."

"You can't call it that, Cobber."

"Shut up! Alright. How about we call it Zombie Flesh Eaters?"

"What for?"

"Because that's what they do, isn't it, dickhead?"

"Yeah."

"Then that's what we'll call it. We don't want punters getting confused."

"I suppose you're right."

"Of course I'm fuckin' right. I'm the boss!"

Employee looks defeated.

Boss nudges him.

"Hey, why the long face?"

"I don't know. I was gonna suggest Jaws 4 -- Zombie Casserole"

Boss thinks for a moment, then looks at Employee:

"You idiot."

They retire to the pub for a beer.

***

It was a masterful stroke adding Island of the Fishmen to the drive-in bill (I raved about this like a lunatic in a previous blog).

This is how I saw Zombie for the first time. Unfortunately, it was cut to smithereens, but that didn't stop me loving every magical minute of it, including, of course, the opening with the fat zombie (who, by the way, is interviewed on one of the special edition DVD's), and a cut version of the eye splintering.

Censorship of horror films in Australia was at plague levels in the 70's and 80's.

Even now, the government is trying to enact a Draconian censorship regime of "forbidden" internet sites.

Great film, average poster.

An odd Aussie film that attempted to capitalize on the success of War Games.

Draping a woman across a computer console seemed like a good idea at the time, I guess, because Michael Crichton's Looker did it.

Ultimately, rather undercooked genre piece, and would have been better if it borrowed from Demon Seed instead.

Mary Higgins Clark's effective suspense novel was reduced to cliches by Sean Cunningham. Not a terrible film, but not particularly successful, either, in achieving its goals. Rip Torn, however, is good as the killer, and the subterranean setting is atmospheric.

The Fan was based on a novel I liked of the same name. The film is boring.

Director/Producer Arthur Davis was an international sales agent who bought and sold films in Asia.

Nice to see Riz Ortolani getting first credit on the poster.

As many will remember, Riz composed the score for Mondo Cane, the film that kick-started the Mondo genre, and grandfathered Reality TV.

5 comments:

  1. In voodoo folklore (and therefore old horror films), zombies weren't cannibals; they were reanimated bodies doing the bidding of their masters. It was George Romero who changed all that, and even he referred to the creatures by their correct name, ghouls, while making NIGHT in '68. So "zombie" wasn't necessarily associated with undead cannibals... yet. I can only assume this was why the title was appended.

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  2. It's been forever since I've seen Shocking Asia, I suppose it's in dire need of a re-watch. I've yet to see part 2 though.

    What really grabbed me here was A Stranger Is Watching, which I've never heard of. I love Rip Torn, especially when he's evil.

    The Zombie Flesh Eaters bit had me rolling.

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  3. Will -- good point, Will, although I was being tongue in cheek. But it's true that we forget that zombies were initially used as slaves.

    ***

    Rev -- Part 2 feels like the stuff that wasn't strong enough to make it into Part 1. Still, its worth seeing.

    Definitely give STRANGER a chance.

    Happy I could elicit a laugh from one as holy as you, Rev.

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  5. It's been years since I last heard someone actually say 'Septics', haha.

    I prefer Zombie Flesh Eaters too. Zombie is confusing as Dawn of the Dead is aka Zombi(e) in Europe.

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