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  • Willie Dynamite

    Willie Dynamite

    ★★★½

    I love the soundtrack, the costumes and the production design, but this left me a bit cold. It's a bit stagey (the director came from theatre), and, while I get that it's trying to subvert blaxploitation tropes, it still trades pretty heavily in them. Also, how you gonna hire Marcia McBroom and feature her prominently, but not give her a single line?

  • Four Flies on Grey Velvet

    Four Flies on Grey Velvet

    ★★★★

    I think my only problem with Four Flies is that it just feels overstuffed with unnecessary comic relief - we get no fewer than three or four joke characters (including a pretty groanworthy - if sympathetic - gay stereotype), none of whom really wind up being important to the plot. The Italian cut of Deep Red is similarly overlong and filled with comic relief, but at least that material serves to give depth to the David Hemmings and Daria Nicolodi…

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  • Corpse Mania

    Corpse Mania

    ★★★★

    Was expecting this to be a supernatural horror movie along the lines of the Black Magic or Hex films, but it's actually a gross necrophilia-themed serial killer film that somehow morphs into a near-perfect Blood and Black Lace riff around the midway point? I’m in love with the foggy streets, thick paint blood gore effects (including maybe one of the best obvious-dummy falls ever) and the gorgeous soft-focus photography, but probably could’ve done without the corpses covered in literally thousands of live maggots and worms. As far as gialli go, this one is actually better than a lot of the Italian ones I’ve seen?

  • Spirit of the Raped

    Spirit of the Raped

    ★★★½

    I'm always fascinated by how filmmakers from other countries inject their cultures and traditions into their own takes on well-trodden genres - the way how, say, a Filipino Terminator ripoff can swap Skynet out for the South Sea Queen, or how an Italian riff on Last House on the Left can be turned into a metaphor for creeping fascism. Here, Kuei Chih-Hung adds a spiritual twist to the (rightfully) much-maligned rape-revenge film, turning his protagonist into a ghost who enacts…