Ragewar (1985)

Ragewar (1985)
AKA Ragewar: The Challenges of Excalibrate, The Dungeonmaster

Starring Jeffrey Byron, Richard Moll, Leslie Wing, Phil Fondacaro, Anthony T. Genova III, Lonnie Hashimoto, Michael Steve Jones, Peter Kent, Paul Pape, Randy Popplewell, Felix Silla, W.A.S.P.

Directed by Dave Allen, Charles Band, John Carl Buechler, Steven Ford, Peter Manoogian, Ted Nicolaou, Rosemarie Turko

Expectations: High. With a title like Ragewar, it’s hard not to have high hopes.

On the general scale:
threestar

On the B-movie scale:
threehalfstar


Did you ever wear an NES Power Glove when you were a kid and pretend you were pushing buttons on it, affecting the real world? Me too, and boy have I got a movie for you!

The film opens with a short dream sequence in which our hero finds himself slowly chasing after a woman in a red dress. He follows her into a room where she has disrobed and lies on a spotlighted bed. He goes in for a kiss, but shortly after, a bunch of Tusken Raider-like mutants bust through the door, punch him out and take the girl! This has no real bearing on the main story but it sets up the film nicely. Upon US release this scene was removed in order to secure a PG-13 rating and the title was changed to The Dungeonmaster to capitalize on the success of Dungeons and Dragons, despite having zero relation to the classic pen-and-paper RPG.

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Uncle Jasper reviews: Django, Kill… If You Live, Shoot! (1967)

Django, Kill… If You Live, Shoot! [Se Sei Vivo Spara] (1967)
AKA Django Kill

Starring Tomas Milian, Ray Lovelock, Piero Lulli, Milo Quesada, Roberto Camardiel, Marilu Tolo, Miguel Serrano, Angel Silva

Directed By Giulio Questi


What better way to end our Fistful of Djangos film festival than with a film that has absolutely nothing to do with the original or its many rip-offs? Django Kill is a Django film in title only. Although far from perfect, it is a welcome change of pace as we feel Django fatigue beginning to set in over here at Silver Emulsion.

Django Kill is without a doubt the most graphically violent and flat-out bizarre spaghetti western I have ever seen. Initially it conjures up a supernatural tone much like that of Django the Bastard, but soon becomes so saturated in surreal imagery and dreamlike symbolism that it manages to transcend definition. Our hero, a half-breed Mexican who is only referred to as “The Stranger,” is double crossed by his outlaw cohorts during a gold heist. He is ordered at gunpoint to dig his own grave and is shot dead. Later that night he literally rises from his grave and is taken in by a couple of Indian mystics, who come to revere him as a deity, claiming that he has been one of the few who have managed to visit the land of the dead and return to our land of the living. They make him a collection of gold bullets to strike down his enemies with and accompany him to the next town, which they refer to only as “The Unhappy Place.”

Continue reading Uncle Jasper reviews: Django, Kill… If You Live, Shoot! (1967) →

$10,000 Blood Money (1967)

$10,000 Blood Money [10.000 dollari per un massacro] (1967)
AKA Guns of Violence, $10,000 Dollars for a Massacre

Starring Gianni Garko (billed as Gary Hudson), Fidel Gonzáles, Loredana Nusciak, Adriana Ambesi, Pinuccio Ardia, Fernando Sancho, Claudio Camaso, Franco Lantieri

Directed by Romolo Guerrieri

Expectations: Moderate. I had heard this was good, but I am treading lightly.


Finally, I get to review a Django clone film that actually has its own complete identity. This is truly a great spaghetti western and while it doesn’t approach the same caliber as Leone or Corbucci, it’s still on the short list of spaghetti westerns that might be enjoyed by a general audience.

The thing that really sets this film apart from the other Django clones is the characters. The focus is on the relationship between Django, a bounty hunter who has no problems working on both sides of the law, and Manuel, a true criminal who terrorizes those that stand in his way. Both characters have a level of depth that makes them likeable, hateable and just downright interesting all at the same time. At its heart this Western is not an action picture, as a lot of the other Django clones are trying to be. The story is character driven and a lot of its entertainment value comes from the constant back and forth play between Django and Manuel. On top of that are some good gun battles that counterpoint the character drama with some fun action.

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Uncle Jasper reviews: Django and Sartana are Coming… It’s the End (1970)

Django and Sartana are Coming… It’s the End [Arrivano Django e Sartana… è la fine] (1970)
AKA Django and Sartana… Showdown in the West, Final Conflict… Django Against Sartana, Sartana If Your Left Arm Offends, Cut It Off

Starring Hunt Powers, Gordon Mitchell, Victoriano Gazzara, Simone Blondell, Dennis Colt, Celso Faria

Directed By Demofilo Fidani


A beautiful woman has been kidnapped by outlaws, are you a bad enough dude to rescue the beautiful woman?

So sums up the gripping plot you will find in Demofilo Fidani’s ultra-low budget Django and Sartana are Coming… It’s the End. Yes, I’ve seen 8-bit NES games with more intricate storylines than the one you will find here. Make no bones about it, this is welfare Django. This is the kind of Django you go out and spend your booklet of food stamps on because Franco Nero and Anthony Steffen Django are way above your price range.  This is government-issued Django… loaded with high-fructose corn syrup and bad for your heart. But god dammit, this is all the Django we have for you today, so let’s make the best of it, eh?

Continue reading Uncle Jasper reviews: Django and Sartana are Coming… It’s the End (1970) →

Don’t Wait, Django…Shoot! (1967)

Don’t Wait Django…Shoot! [Non Aspettare Django, Spara] (1967)

Starring Ivan Rassimov (billed as Sean Todd), Ignazio Spalla, Rada Rassimov, Vincenzo Musolino, Gino Buzzanca, Franco Pesce, Celso Faria, Marisa Traversi, Alfredo Rizzo, Giovanni Sabbatini, Armando Guarnieri, Giovanni Ivan Scratuglia, César Ojinaga, Dino Strano

Directed by Edoardo Mulargia (as Edward G. Muller)

Expectations: Low. These Django clones are starting to wear me down.


Upon starting Don’t Wait Django…Shoot!, I was met with the rapid strum of a guitar and bandits riding horses through the desert to catch an old man high-tailing it in a carriage. I immediately fell in love with the music and the intriguing shot selection. It turns out that the man in the carriage is a horse trader that happens to be Django’s father. Navarro, the bandit leader, claims that Django’s pop took their money, but failed to deliver their horses. Papa Django denies it, and before he can offer a solution, the bandits gun him down. This leads into a fantastic opening credits sequence, with lots of sunset and Django silhouette shots cut to rousing music by Felice Di Stefano.

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The Alchemist (1983)

Starring Robert Ginty, Lucinda Dooling, John Sanderford, Viola Kates Stimpson, Robert Glaudini

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Low. This looks promising, but…

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:
twohalfstar


The Alchemist was shot in 1981 but wasn’t released until 1983/1984 in Europe and 1986 in the US. It has a very low-budget look to it that kind of works against my enjoyment, but there was enough here to keep me interested for most of the movie. Part of this could have been the faded VHS source I was watching. I’d love to see it on a nicely mastered DVD, but so far it has yet to be released on the format in the US.

The setup is simple. In 1871, an alchemist lures a woman to his campfire. When her husband comes to rescue her, the alchemist tricks the husband into stabbing his wife. The alchemist curses the man to live as an animal for all of eternity. The credits run over multi-colored slow-motion fire in a great, simplistic sequence. This is a pretty awesome opening and following it, I was ready for an amazing hidden gem of a film.

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Uncle Jasper reviews: Son of Django (1967)

sonofdjangoSon of Django [Il figlio di Django] (1967)
AKA Return of Django, Vengeance is a Colt 45

Starring Gabriele Tinti, Guy Madison, Ingrid Schoeller, Daniele Vargas, Ignazio Spalla, Roberto Messina, Giovanni Ivan Scratuglia

Directed By Osvaldo Civirani


With all of the Django clone films and knockoffs floating around at the time, it was inevitable that somebody would get the bright idea to come up with the whole Son of Django concept. Yes! Think of all the opportunity! A young gunfighter picks up the mantle and takes on the violent legacy that his father left behind. There are virtually thousands of ways to make an interesting film involving Django’s son, unfortunately you won’t see any of them on display here. I would even go as far as to say that a film so ripe with opportunity as this would be impossible to fuck up, but Osvaldo Civirani manages to do so against all odds. He is basically handed the entire Django mythos and a genuine excuse to take any liberties he wants. He instead chooses to take none. Django’s son could have been virtually anything, but Civirani decides that it would be just A-OK if he was nothing more than a dull guy in dull clothes with a dull voice and a dull personality to cap it all off.

Continue reading Uncle Jasper reviews: Son of Django (1967) →

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