Monday, 20 April 2015

Film Review: Throne Of Fire (1983)

  In a time long ago and a place that nobody ever gets around to specifying, the forces of darkness create a champion. Morack.
  Morack's task? To seize the kingdom and sit upon the legendary Throne Of Fire whereupon he will do...all sorts of naughty stuff. 
   But before that happens he must wed the fiery princess Valkari whether she likes it or not.
 He just killed her entire family so "...Or not" is more likely. 
  Then there's this pesky bodybuilder type called Siegfried sticking his oar in so Morack needs to find a way of making him dead that's permanent and yet still suitably wicked.
Being the evil, usurping son of The Devil isn't all fun and games, you know. 

 When  "Conan" became a big box-office hit in the early 80s the Italians sat down and had a bit of a think. "Films about muscly blokes without shirts are back in.  Didn't we used to be really good at those? "
The result was a number of low-budget fantasy flicks typified by burly heroes, scantily clad women and terrible, terrible special effects.
 They usually had great video sleeves though.  Not necessarily accurate but definitely eye-catching.

One look at the cover above and I had to watch "Throne Of Fire". 
I'm weak and possibly stupid. 

  "But what about the film itself?" I hear you ask "Is it any good?"


 "Throne Of Fire" has a an awful lot wrong with it.
The music is almost entirely done by one bloke trying to be bombastic on a Korg synth.
The acting is indifferent, made worse by bargain-basement dubbing.
The special effects are hilariously bad.
The props are almost as woeful. In some shots you can easily see the tinplate swords bending 
And Siegfried and Valkari are not the most talented of heroes. Siegfried's master plan for rescuing the princess is to barge in to Morack's throne room and pick a fight.
 If Morack wasn't such a stickler for the bad-guy code that says "Annoying heroes are to be dumped in a pit with something nasty and cheerfully forgotten about." the film would have ended thirty minutes in.  
 Even after he gets a magical power-up, Siegfried bollixes up rescue attempt #2 and ends up back in a dungeon again. It is entirely possible that if he'd left Valkari to her own devices, she might have got away under her own steam.

  And the whole thing is played absolutely straight. Straighter than a Roman road designed by Claudius The Anal Retentive and built across Lincolnshire by  a secret sect of  right-angle-worshiping navvies who are terrified of bendy things.

  Having said all the above, "Throne Of Fire" retains a certain cheese-scented charm.
Not surprisingly there's a certain hint of the old Peplum movies to be seen, albeit at about a 20th of the budget and while Siegfried and Valkari might not win any pub quizzes, they are both pretty respectable when it comes to sword-swinging. The whole thing is a guilty pleasure but still entertaining.

If you like early 80s low-budget fantasy, then this is the sort of thing you're likely to enjoy.

If you like films where men in leather skirts/women in chamois-leather bikinis (delete as appropriate) battle evil then "Throne Of Fire" might be worth your time.

If you just like watching terrible films then you're covered too.

Screenshot time.

80s costume design as awesome. 

Valkari gets captured - the first of many

Morack poses dramatically.
He had the entire castle built around this one posing spot.

Siegfried searches for his shirt in vain.

Valkari practises her queenly lounging.

"Hey Morack...thanks for letting me try out your chair bro.
Why's it called The Throne Of Fire again?"

"Arrgghh. You utter bastard!"

Siegfried chats to a crap special effect.

Siegfried and Valkari discuss fashion.
And why the bad guys get to wear proper trousers and stuff.

Trailer here

And since you'll probably watch this film for the same reason I did,
here's a tribute vid somebody did for Valkari (Sabrina Siani)

That's all folks. 

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Ring Wrestling May 1968 (Pt 3)

The third and final batch of scans. Hope you like them. 

The first two are of Waldo Von Erich (Who wasn't really related to Fritz, you know)
 I've always been impressed by how brave - or mental - you need to be to lie there while an enormous man jumps on you from several feet up. And there's no way Waldo pulled off this move without hurting himself either.
Waldo is about to get a face full of fist, courtesy of Luis Hernandez.

Next, two Polish wrestling heroes from back in the d ay
 Wladek Zbyszko (brother of semi-legendary World champ Stanislaus) in training 1926. 
30s star Frank Bronowicz looking quite brawny.
I can't help noticing that the belt has obviously been cut'n'pasted in afterwards. 

Over the Atlantic for some Brits. 
Wrestling in Britain was probably at something of a peak in the late 60's so it's nice to see an American magazine giving us some love. 

IIRC Vic Faulkner was a bit of a grappling pinup and he definitely has a nice smile.

What? I'm just saying. 

These guys aren't so photogenic.

I'm fairly confident that if I ran into any of these guys even now, they could kick the shit out of me. 

More tag team action. Hillbilly style.
 Jake from Hillfolk team The Kentuckians moves in on his opponent, who is already bricking himself.
The Kentuckians chat to a small man backstage.  

And finally...

 Arman Hussian in action. Born in The Sudan but "currently wrestling in London", among other places.

If you enjoyed these posts, let me know.
I have other wrestling mags kicking about that I can share with you lovely people.  

That's all folks.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Ring Wrestling May 1968 (Pt 2 - The ladies)

Evening all. 

 Today we will be posting more of the scans that I never got round to putting up on Sunday. 

I know it's a bit late. Sorry.

This time we're looking at some of the delightful damsels that graced US rings in the late 1960s. 

 Donna Christanello shows off her new ring jacket.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Ring Wrestling May 1968

Evening all.

  Isn't it amazing how time flies? You're pottering along with life then one day look up - and realise that you haven't posted in ages. To make matters worse, you have no bloody idea what to write...

   After a bit of  frantic casting about I found something I'd been meaning to do for a while. Bacon officially saved.
 Today I'm going to be sharing my latest scanning efforts - efforts definitely being the right word - with some pics from the May/June 1968 issue of The Ring Wrestling.

 I hope you like them. And if your mum or dad happen to be in any of them, drop me a line, or even if you saw these guys in the flesh back in the day, I'd love to hear from you.
1960s wrestling magazine

Saturday, 4 April 2015

DVD Review: Extinction (2014)

"Deep in the Amazon jungle a group of scientists qre on a dangerous mission . When their guide suddenly abandons them they find themselves in a savage and hsotile environment. However, things turn deadly when they find they are in the middle of a hunting ground or a pack of prehsitoric predators long thought extinct.  These dinosaurs have been living undisturbed for millions of years, but now the prehistoric predators have new human prey to hunt." 

I have a couple of theories about DVD covers. 

1. The lead actress will have her boobs scaled up by at least  50%.
2. Any dinosaur on a DVD cover will be scaled up by about 300% percent. 
 You'll have to take my word for it on #1 but I promise you that the beasties in "Extinction" are significantly smaller than the artist makes them out to be.    

  Now my customary cover art rant is out of the way, on to the movie instead.

 I bought "Extinction" confidently expecting a CGI Cheesefest so when I discovered I was watching yet another "Found footage" movie, I wasn't exactly overjoyed.

  I'm not a big fan of found footage flicks. Call me picky but I don't enjoy watching bickering characters jump at sudden noises from offscreen and all the god bits being filmed in motion-sickness inducing ShakyCam.  

When it comes right down to it, how much you enjoy this film depends entirely on how long you are willing to wait before somebody gets eaten by a dinosaur.  Well over half of the screen time is devoted to our mismatched party trekking into the jungle. 
 There's a few "What's that noise" moments but yep, you get to know the guys and gals quite well. 
  You have a couple of veteran wilderness experts, a couple of local guides, a couple of  scientists and a two person film crew to do the much-needed videoing of anything and everything. There's a certain amount of friction involved, especially where camera guy Rob is concerned.
 He's a bit of a prat, basically.

This does mean that when the dinos finally show up, the viewer has got some investment in the characters.
 That helps a lot. 
 I now know these people. I'm (sort of) rooting for them and it's a pleasant surprise seeing how they react to new developments.  Without giving too much away, some do exactly what you expect. Others very definitely don't. 
 It also helps that the acting is pretty decent all round.  Oscar-winning? Probably not - but more than good enough to convey the sense of terror and confusion required.

 Something else I rather liked is that if you watch carefully, you can spot little throwaway moments that add just a little extra to the story. 

  The dinosaurs are surprisingly good. Not "Jurassic park" good, but they look believable and you can't see the joins, so to speak. 
On the subject of Jurassic Park, one bit pays homage to one of the more iconic scenes. I won't spoil that for you either.

To sum up: A long build up leads to a satisfying payoff.  Possibly said build-up could have been trimmed down   without hurting the movie but that's just my view.
 I enjoyed it. You might too, just so long as you're not prone to motion sickness. 

 Here's the trailer

That's all folks. 


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