Exhumed Films Ex-Fest 2011

johntravolto

12 hours of exploitation films? Sign me up. I’ve gone on enough about Exhumed Films, the Philadelphia International House, and why I love both of them, so I’ll get right down to the show.

The Ex-Fest was seven exploitation films, each of a different genre. Again, we only knew the genre of the film until they appeared on the screen. So see how many you can guess. I almost guarantee that no one could guess any of these films. They were all very obscure. I only heard of one of them. And good luck finding any of these screening anywhere at all, this was another once in a lifetime show.

#1 – Euro-western (From Spain)

This film had a great plot but failed on execution. A group of convicts are being transported through the mountains when the wagon is hijacked and robbed. They are left with nothing, so now a guard and his daughter have to shepherd these killers through the harsh winter landscape on foot. And where is the missing gold? It’s got a lot of promise but it it wasn’t solid enough to take full advantage of its potential. I would love to have seen this movie directed by Werner Herzog or Nicholas Roeg. That would have been interesting.

#2 –Italian Revenge Drama

Alain Delon’s face was the first shot of this movie, so I knew it would be interesting. He plays an assassin who wants to get out of the business, but when he tries the mob puts a hit out on him. Unfortunately, his wife and child are involved and revenge must be had. Some great absurd car chase scenes through the streets of Italy, along with some stylish gun battles, make this an above-average action film. It was a definite product of its time and place.

#3 –Travolta-sploitation (A film so rare that apparently no one has ever heard of it)

This was a surprise. I knew nothing of what to expect, and even during the first fifteen minutes of the film I couldn’t get my bearings as to what type of film I was watching. But then the rhythm of the humor and satire became apparent, and I fell in love with a really smart, likeable comedy.

A group of hotel employees go on a mission to turn one of them into John Travolta himself in order to get him a date with the girl he likes. There are lots of rapid-fire jokes, lots of choreography of movement and dialog, and a guy that really looks just like John Travolta (Giuseppi Spezia).

Here’s a clip! My theory about the dubbed in English film print is that some company bought the rights to distribute this Italian film in the US, had the print made, and then went out of business or gave up on the project. We may have been the only US audience to have seen this in the theater.

#4 –Blaxploitation (From the Philippines)

This was a decent actioner. But besides some small cool things and a great title, I didn’t get much out of this film. A mercenary in a war-zone gets jailed and starts working with the revolutionaries. There is a lot of shooting. Some sex. Some interesting locals and a few memorable lines of dialog. It’s a great example of this sub-genre, and a competent film, but not much more than that.

#5 –Hicksploitation

I was very surprised with the level of my respect for this film. Based on the genre, the title and the opening shot I wasn’t expecting much from this film. It turned out to be a great, campy action/mystery that was full of great characters, great dialog, and a lot of surprises. The best hicksploitation film you are ever likely to see.

I have to say something about the print for this film, which was in excellent shape for the type of film that it was. I have no idea where they find these things.

#6 –Marital Arts

There are something like 800 Shaw Brothers movies so there must be some bad ones, right? Well, I haven’t seen a bad one yet. This one follows the usual martial arts formula, but like the others it manages to feel unique. Great fights, great atmosphere. Just a lot of fun as usual. And this one has that cool sound that Tarantino borrowed for Kill Bill.

#7 – Sexploitiation

This adult musical version of a classic fairy tale was much more entertaining than it deserves to be. Maybe it was because the adult situations were not very risque, so the film seemed to be more fun than trashy. The jokes were funny, the characters were over-the-top, the costumes and sets were cheap but well-executed. A great film to end the night with.

 

Overall it was a nice change from horror. A lot of the films we saw were entertaining throw-a-way movies, but there was some gold in there that I was glad to have experienced on the big screen.

To see other amazing Exhumed Films shows of the past, check out my reviews.

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