Five Element Ninjas

(1982 – Hong Kong) dir: Cheh Chang; w/ Tien-Sze Cheng, Tien Shang Lung, Meng Lo. No skin; no gore.

A Kung Fu school is obliterated by nasty ninja mercenaries, so our smart-ass hero fights back with Chinese ninjutsu. Yeah, I know – but you can’t really worry about the inanity of the story when it’s so microscopic – the average trailer has more plot than this thing. What little (idiotic) dialogue there is serves only as a framework for the flick’s real purpose: a non-stop parade of classical Kung Fu choreography, complete with balletic leaping and weapons that require more spinning than any cheerleader’s baton. If that’s what you’re after, this thing serves up a feast. If you would really rather that some of it made any sense at all, you are totally shafted here.



(2009) ed & dir: David Michael Latt; w/ Brittany Murphy, Eriq Lasalle, Bruce Davison. No skin; no gore; no brains.

A waifish seismologist and a demolitions expert must use secret super-weapons and lots of greasy explosions to stop a super-quake from unzipping the continent. Okay, it sticks to formula and has plenty enough disaster fx to fulfill expectations. Sadly, however, it all rides atop the most moronic and maudlin script I’ve seen in many years. It’s full of sappy sentiment, laughable coincidence, and dialogue so badly crafted an 8-year-old wouldn’t lay claim to it. If the intended audience is preschoolers, maybe it’s okay – but for anyone else, this is bad enough to be downright insulting.


The Hunchback of the Morgue

(1973 – Spain – aka Rue Morgue Massacres) dir: Javier Aguirre; w/ Paul Naschy, Rossana Yanni, Vic Winner. A tidbit o’ skin (depending on version); a smidge o’ gore.

Naschy is the hunchback in love with a corpse… naturally, there are complications like ravenous rats, a mad doctor, a kinky dame, and a ravenous mutant. Fortunately, there is a nearby dormitory full of nubile victims. This is cheap, lurid and trashy – meaning, of course, that it’s quite delightful (well, except for the bit with the rats; they do… bad things to rats).


Night of Death

(1980 – France) dir: Raphael Delpard; w/ Isabelle Goguey, Charlotte de Turkheim, Michel Flavius, Bettey Beckers. A little skin; a little gore.

A young lady’s new job at the old folks’ home puts her on the menu of a Bathory-style immortality cult. The movie has some style and atmosphere to be sure, but there is no mystery and only the one note of suspense that they try to maintain throughout. It wears thin pretty quickly and the script is an amateurish hash of aborted plot points and predictable twists. The director does manage to brew up some good scenes but it’s a case of all style and no substance.