MBDS Showcase: The Goodkind (Lost Video Archive)

Once again it's time for another edition of the Mad, Bad and Downright Strange Showcase (MBDS Showcase) were we invite some of our Favourite critics / bloggers to pick their essential five films from our list.

For this latest edition of the MBDS Showcase we are joined by the illustrator, bad movie blogger and owner of "Lost Video Archive", The Goodkind. This is his showcase.

As Bryce mentioned in the previous installment of the Showcase, picking among the films on this list is well nigh impossible. As I was scrolling through trying to pick, I was struck by the number of them I loved but hadn’t seen discussed, on my own site or elsewhere. So I deliberately picked five of the most obscure and bizarre off the list. At the same time I tried to keep my list as international as possible. Good thing is they’re all readily available, at least for now. As we gradually transition from physical to digital media, many of the foreign movies we love may become harder to find all over again as the cost of releasing them, one more time, proves too much. This little list is just a slice of a much larger, project to save the good stuff before it’s forgotten. I’m glad I could contribute; call this my own top five to see before you die.

El Espejo de la Bruja

Cine Mexicano has been around just as long as Hollywood, and like its northern neighbor it suffers no lack of low budget horror and exploitation fare. El Baron de Terror, is probably the better known Chano Urueta film, but I prefer his Espejo de la Bruja. Helen is shunned and poisoned by her husband, who promptly marries his mistress. His housekeeper Sara however, will having nothing of the fickle sexual appetites of men and wastes no time soliciting the help of darker powers to enact Elena’s beyond-the-grave vengeance. I love the fact that witchcraft, a typically “bad” power associated with women, is here used in a positive context to repudiate patriarchal arrogance. On its surface The Witch’s Mirror may look like a typical gothic horror flick, but for 60’s Mexico (and the US for that matter) this atmospheric paradigm shift is nothing short of amazing.

Challenge of the Tiger 

Bruce Lee may have died too soon, but at least he made an impact sufficient to generate years of impersonators and many hundreds of films. From Bruce Li, Bruce Leung and Bruce Leong the misadventures were many, but Bruce Le takes the cake for his spirited channeling of the master in this awesome and bizarre actioner-cum-comedy. Le plays a campy Lee to co-star Richard Harrison’s low-rent, lecherous Bond to foil a nefarious plot to sterilize the world’s men. Supposedly directed in part by both stars, each takes a turn providing some of their trademark moves, and with the ridiculous dubbing, plot twists, bull-fights and boobs, you’re in for something like three laughs a minute.

The Devil’s Sword 

Too often national cinema from small countries outside the United States has little choice but to emulate the Hollywood model as best they can. In Indonesia however, things took a much more parochial spin. Four evil warriors will stop at nothing to possess The Devil’s Sword, a weapon that grants it’s bearer unbelievable power. Good warrior Mandala however, is more than prepared to do the stopping for them. In battle after mind-boggling battle, Mandala dispatches all manner of nefarious baddies, from crocodile men to headless witches to screaming rock trolls. The Devil’s Sword is a visual smorgasbord of Indonesian flavor that is not soon forgotten.

Mo (aka Boxer’s Omen)

Shortly before folding, Shaw Brothers Studios in Hong Kong, most famous for their kung-fu, produced a gaggle of horror flicks. Many among these were Chinese spins on premises already familiar to USAmerican audiences, others, like Boxer’s Omen, were completely out of left field. My friend described this film as a Chinese Buddhist version of Jodorowsky’s Holy Mountain minus the feel-good existentialism, plus martial arts. All necessary but not sufficient conditions to experience the gross-out good time that is an unforgettable, life changing movie. As far as I’m concerned, all supernatural gore horror owes a debt to Mo, whether they know it or not, for this is the lost legend among the genres highest peaks.

Blood Freak 

I had initially picked another film to write about here, but I realized how terrible it was and opted instead for this film, one I can’t believe forgot the first time around. Blood Freak is billed on the Something Weird DVD case as “The world’s only turkey-monster-anti-drug-pro-jesus-gore film,” and it is, but that’s an understatement. Freshly returned from The ‘Nam, Herschell is looking for a job and a girlfriend, but he’s not prepared for either. After meeting two sisters, one born-again, the other turned-on, and landing a job as “tester” at their dad’s turkey farm, Hersch has soon transformed into monster who slakes his thirst with the blood of drug addicts. A basement budget gem from the golden age of USAmerican exploitation, Blood Freak is the height of camp from an era when it was all deadly serious.