Gomorrah: Season 2 (2016)

Don’t read if you haven’t seen the first season. 

*CAUTION SPOILERS AHEAD*

With Don Pietro sprung from his prison convoy and Gennaro clinging to life after being shot and left for dead by Ciro, a power vacuum has been created and Don Salvatore is manoeuvring to take complete control of the city. Continuing on from the blisteringly good first season, Gomorrah aims to capitalise on its gripping story on the fall and possible rise of the Savastano clan. 

Ciro has decided to make a power grab himself, though not for complete control, rather just to stay alive. Gennaro looks to reconnect with his father but it doesn’t go as he would’ve hoped. What Gomorrah does well is fully flesh out every character, even those that are sometimes relegated to the background. The first season did it too. There were episodes that contained just a handful of characters, and didn’t need to constantly remind you that others existed. Same for season 2. One episode is dedicated almost completely to Gennaro and Don Pietro. It’s a thrillingly told episode, that shows you how deep bonds are between father and son, and how damaging a mistake can be. 

The acting is second to none. Seriously. Everyone owns their respective roles and nobody feels like they’re not pulling their weight. Same goes for the script. The story never feels like it flags, and is constantly keeping you on the edge of your seat. I seriously cannot wait for season 3.

Gomorrah season 2 is available to order now on Blu Ray and DVD from all good stockists. 

5/5

JM

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Rat Man (1988)

  
When a pretty model is found dead on an island, her body mutilated, an investigation begins in to just what happened. The deceased model’s sister arrives with a mystery novel writer (David Warbeck), to try and figure out what was the cause of her sisters murder. The duo discover that the explanation is far more bizarre than they ever could have realised. 

A scientist has created a rat/monkey hybrid, for reasons unknown, though he does mention a Nobel peace prize at one point. The hybrid played by Nelson de la Rosa (The Island of Dr. Moreau), has developed murderous tendencies and decides he doesn’t like being caged up anymore. 

  
This movie is straight up trash and I loved it. I’ve always had a soft spot for David Warbeck as he’s always given 100% no matter what the role or how strange the movie is. He kind of downplays it a tad here, but he’s still the sort of hero he played in The Beyond. The plot dithers about and feels patchy and incoherent in places, but I feel it adds to the charm. I mean when the tag line reads ‘He’s the critter from the shitter’ I think it’s safe to say you know what sort of movie you’re getting. 

  
Nelson de la Rosa seems to enjoy his role as the carnivorous Rat Man, particularly as he gets close to some scantily clad women, and if you’ve seen the documentary about the making of ‘The Island of Dr. Moreau’ then you know he’s quite fond of the ladies. 

    

The acting is atrocious in places, but if you’re a fan of trashy movies then that really won’t be an issue to you. These sort of horror movies have never really attempted to wow you with their acting, preferring to throw blood and naked women in your direction instead and hope that it keeps your attention. Fans of cheap Italian horror will find a lot to like here, and David Warbeck is always good value. The supporting cast are not the best, but they make do. 

  
Shameless Screen Entertainment have released the movie uncut for the first time ever in the U.K, and the film is presented in 16.9 anamorphic widescreen. The film is available to purchase now directly from the Shameless website via the following link:

http://www.shameless-films.com/shop/Ratman.html

I’d like to thank Shameless for providing me with the movie for review. 

3/5

JM

  

Romanzo Criminale. Coming soon from Arrow. 

  
Following the success of their most recent Italian language TV drama titles, most notably the acclaimed Naples-set crime saga Gommorah, along with the likes of Inspector De Luca and Inspector Nardone, Arrow Films will continue to house quality international crime thriller shows from various European territories and beyond, under their sub-label ‘Nordic Noir and Beyond’.
 Ahead of the arrival of the upcoming Witnesses and the highly anticipated The Bridge Season 3, both due for release later in Q4, Arrow are excited to announce the arrival of Romazo Criminale, a hard edged and violent look at the criminal underworld of Rome set between the 1970s and the 1990s. Season One will be released on DVD 14th September and focuses on the darker side of Rome during the 70s.

 Synopsis

A criminal known as ‘Lebanese’ has a dream: to conquer the underworld of Rome. To carry out this unprecedented feat he puts together a ruthless and highly organised gang. Their progress and changes in leadership take place over twenty-five years, from the 1970s into the 90’s, and are inseparably intertwined with the dark history of modern Italy: terrorism, kidnappings and corruption at the highest levels of government. Throughout these years Police Lieutenant Scialoia sticks to the gang’s trail, trying both to bring them to justice and to win the heart of Gang Member Dandi’s girlfriend Patrizia.

JM

Street Law (1974)

 
Street Law aka Vigilante II, stars the enigmatic Franco Nero as Carlo Antonelli, an engineer from Genoa, Italy. Whilst collecting a package from the post office, Carlo is beaten and kidnapped by three armed robbers. After surviving his ordeal, and disillusioned by the police who seemingly refuse to act, Carlo seeks vengeance against those that wronged him. 

 
After his amateurish attempts at making underworld contacts leave him coming close to a beating, Carlo tries again, this time making contact with a robber called Tommy, played by the late Giancarlo Prete, whom he blackmails into helping him track down the 3 robbers responsible for his beating. All leading to a breathtaking shootout in a warehouse. 

 
This is my first real foray into the Euro Crime genre and I must say I was very impressed. The action is used sparingly, but staged believably so.  Carlo doesn’t immediately become a gun toting vision of vigilante justice. No. His fear and anxiety come through on screen, showing that he is still just an ordinary guy refusing to be afraid any longer. That’s what I liked about it. Franco Nero really sells it too. There’s no John Woo balletics here, but raw, gritty action instead. 

 
Everyone is on point here. Barbara Bach who plays Carlo’s love interest isn’t really given much to work with, but does well with the screen time she is given. The soundtrack is amazing too. The music by Guido and Maurizio De Angelis is very catchy, and it’s safe to say you’ll be humming it long after the credits roll. I can highly recommend this if you haven’t seen it. Enjoy. 

5/5

JM

  

Blood and Black Lace (1964)

 
Directed by Mario Bava, Blood and Black Lace was one of the first giallo’s to be released, but not *the* first as my good friend Kat Ellinger over at http://thegoresplatteredcorner.com/ pointed out to me. I’ll be honest I wasn’t really a fan of some of Bava’s other work like Lisa and the Devil. However that being said Blood and Black Lace really did it for me. 

 
When a beautiful young model is murdered and her body found in a salon the finger is pointed at many who knew her. When her diary is later found it causes many to become worried, as they fear there may be something that could implicate them inside the diary. However has the bodies pile up, and more grisly murders take place, it’s clear there is something far more sinister at play. A masked maniac stalks the women, bumping them off one by one, with the police oblivious to who could be responsible. 

 
Director Mario Bava’s use of colour is extrordinary. They literally pop off the screen, with red being the most prevelant colour. The transfer from Arrow Video is nothing short of sublime. The blacks are rich and deep and the close ups of each actor are vibrant to say the least. It looks like a movie that was made last year and not 51 years ago. My only gripe is the music. Not that it’s terrible, because it isn’t. No, my issue is where it’s used in the movie. It’s far too upbeat to create any tension, so when it’s used in the stalking scenes, I just didn’t feel the tension I felt the director may have been trying to create. Though that really is all I can fault this movie for and that’s saying something. 
 
The acting is great and not at all hammy, like it can be in some Italian movies I’ve seen. The costume and set design is wonderful, and you really do wish you could just step into the movie just for one moment. This copy of Blood and Black Lace was generously provided by the folks at http://www.arrowfilms.co.uk/ and is available to purchase now. It’s available in a steelbook release or in a reversible sleeve jewel case. Personally I’d choose the sublime reversible sleeve with the beautiful Graham Humphreys artwork. 

5/5

JM

  

Formula for a Murder (1985)

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Joanna (Christina Nagy) is a wealthy philanthropist who was confined to a wheelchair after suffering an attack at the hands of a psychotic person dressed as a priest when she was a girl. She spends most of her time at her centre for paraplegics which she owns. She meets a handsome trainer at the centre called Craig (David Warbeck) and they enter into a whirlwind romance, where Craig proposes.

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Craig however has other plans, which is actually touched on very early on in the movie. His intention is to scare Joanna to death so that he can get his hand on her money, and he is prepared to gruesomely dispatch anyone that should get in his way. Though Craig’s motive is revealed quite early on, there is still plenty of suspense and some fantastically bloodthirsty deaths. For some strange reason David Warbeck’s voice has been dubbed over by some random American actor, which is sad as I really like David’s voice. However it does nothing to really dampen the film, which is right up there with some of the other well known giallo’s.

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The camera work is done really well, with some great POV shots. I love that it uses some of the music from The New York Ripper, and has usual giallo nods like the killer wearing black leather gloves. It’s also refreshing to see David Warbeck play the villain, and he does so with oozes of charisma. I must say Shameless Films have done a wonderful job in terms of restoration on what was long feared to be a lost movie.

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There supporting roles are filled quite admirably, but this film really belongs to David Warbeck and Christina Nagy, who really get into their roles and deliver some fantastic performances. This copy of Formula for a Murder was provided by the wonderfully generous folks over at http://www.shameless-films.com. The movie is now available to buy and you can do so directly from the Shameless Films website. Its’ well worth getting a copy which also comes with your very own yellow mac, should you decide to go on a murderous spree of your own….I jest of course.

4/5

JM

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Demons 2 (1986)

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I do enjoy watching these movies, however I don’t find them scary at all. I find myself laughing throughout most of it as the acting is very OTT in places. Things kick off here as a girl called Sally (Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni) is having a birthday party. However she storms off into her bedroom when she finds out a person is attending that she doesn’t want coming. At the same time there is a program on the television showing four people making a documentary. The four are being filmed entering a cordoned off part of the city that was infested with demons from the first movie. They inadvertently resurrect a dead demon which attacks them and chases them off. The demon returns to where the camera that’s filming the documentary is and begins to walk towards it. Sally is watching the program and realises that the demon is looking at her. The demon comes through the television and possesses her which causes her to attack others.

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There are others in the building that are slowly taken over, while a group barricade themselves in the parking garage, led by the bad ass Hank (Bobby Rhodes). Hank helps the others block the doors then arms himself with a double barrelled shotgun, preparing everyone for the onslaught of demons. The only ones you give a shit about are Hank and the pregnant lady and her boyfriend. Everyone else makes themselves expendable and unsympathetic because of how fucking useless they are.

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This is not as gory as the first Demons movie, and to be fair, not as good either. Bobby Rhodes kicks ass again. He throws himself into the role and seems to be the only one capable of handling themselves. The effects are great in places, and laughable in others, particularly during Sally’s transformation. The little demon thing that shows up later in the movie is hilarious. It looks like Gordon the Gopher on acid, (only certain people will get that reference).

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There are some atmospheric scenes, like the one pictured above, and the soundtrack is as kick ass as the first movies. There are some hilariously bad deaths and unintentionally funny scenes. I don’t rate it as highly as the first, not by a long shot, but it’s still fairly watchable. Definitely a movie to watch with mates for a laugh.

3/5

JM

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Demons (1985)

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I promised my good buddy Jamie that I’d do a review of Lamberto Bava’s ‘Demons’, so here it is. This is brilliantly trashy 80’s horror from Italian horror legend Lamberto Bava, son of the brilliant Mario Bava. A mysterious stranger appears in a metro station and begins to hand out flyers inviting people to attend a horror movie showing in a local cinema. The people arrive in their droves and begin to check the cinema out before the movie starts. One of the patrons called Tony (Bobby Rhodes) is attending with two females, one of who starts fooling around with a silver mask hanging on a statue. The mask cuts her face prompting her to put the mask back.

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The film the people have arrived to watch begins. In it there is a group of students investigating some ruins, where it is rumoured that Nostradamus is buried. When they find the grave all that’s inside is a dusty old book and a mask wrapped in cloth. One of the students takes the cloth off and is presented with a sliver mask, similar to the one in the cinema foyer. One of the students begins fooling with the mask and it cuts his face. His friend tells him to stop as it is said in the book that anyone who puts the mask on will become possessed by a demon. The female accomplice of Tony who also wore the mask panics as it’s similar to what happened to her. She retreats to the bathroom where her cut pulsates and explodes with pus seeping from it. Her friend comes to the toilet to see what is wrong with her and is presented with a yellow eyed demon spewing green goo from her mouth. Pretty soon, one by one, the cinema goers are possessed by the demons. Now it’s up to a small group to battle the evil and try find a way out of the cinema.

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This film is great fun. However it’s fun for some of the wrong reasons. The acting is not the best, and the dialogue is cringe worthy at times. That being said, Bobby Rhodes who plays Tony the Pimp is a joy to watch. He’s such a bad ass and just doesn’t give a fuck that you can’t help but love him. The rest of the cast are ok, not brilliant. The gore is top notch though. I don’t know what the budget was, but it seems decent enough as the effects are fantastic. Best of all though is the soundtrack. With great tunes by Billy Idol and Motley Crue to name but a few, it’s banging. If you haven’t seen it then give it a go. If you’re a horror fan then it’s a must.

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I really enjoyed it, but found myself laughing a lot at some of the characters. Even the demons were funny, although not intentionally I don’t think. It’s not a particularly scary movie by any stretch, but is a good film to watch with some like minded pals. Enjoy!

4/5

JM

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A book like no other.

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Earlier this week a very, very interesting project was brought to my attention from my buddies over at http://www.thegoresplatteredcorner.com. This project involves some of the great directors of Italian horror and Giallo greatness. Names like Lamberto Bava, Ruggero Deodato and Umberto Lenzi to name but a few. It’s a project that you can help fund and recieve some great goodies if you do. The goodies depend on the amount donated, but there are some fantastic bits, like signed copies of the completed movie, an executive producer credit and even a replica of the mask from Lamberto Bava’s ‘Demons’.

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It really is a brilliant project. If you would like to donate, check out the trailer or find out more information then stop by http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-book-the-italian-masters-return. Honestly come payday, I’m doing my bit. Thanks for listening to me guys. Take care.

JM

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