Author: Justin LaLiberty

September 17, 2013 / / Main Slate Archive


Growing up inundated with action cinema as a child, my first introduction to Bruce Lee was not in the form of one of his own films. Rather, it was Rob Cohen’s biopic DRAGON: THE BRUCE LEE STORY that – in an admittedly diluted yet ostentatious fashion – made the martial artist a prominent figure throughout my adolescence. It is also where I first heard of ENTER THE DRAGON.


In the splatter cinema world, it’s not all that rare to have your film trimmed down a bit for censorship, voluntary ratings certification, or for just “the greater good” of the masses. Hollywood has had to do it. The UK has had to do it (oh, those nasty videos…). Asia is all over the place. But, regardless of territory, you have likely seen Peter Jackson’s DEAD ALIVE (aka BRAINDEAD) in various forms throughout the years and maybe never once in its original form.


“You ain’t seen BAD BOYS II!?”

We are all fortunately or unfortunately aware of Michael Bay’s pedigree. That which primarily concerns the visceral act of blowing shit up. Hey, at least he does it with finesse and a good haircut. And it’s a good thing that he started doing it prior to 2003, or the world would not have the 147 minute, $130 million dollar epic of aggressive sleaze that is BAD BOYS II.


What do you get when you combine exploitation filmmaking staple Larry Cohen;  stars Richard Roundtree and David Carradine; AIP producer Samuel Arkoff; and a claymation, prehistoric creature flying over 1980s New York City? Well, obviously the only thing that could be is Q: THE WINGED SERPENT.


Requiring nary the merest of introductions to anyone remotely familiar with genre cinema of the past few decades, Dario Argento has become synonymous with the macabre and a rather special brand at that. Having spent much of his early directorial career working within – and perhaps refining – the Italian giallo film, Argento went decidedly supernatural for his first part in the Three Mothers trilogy: SUSPIRIA.


Made quickly, cheaply and released only a year after COFFY (Pam Grier and filmmaker Jack Hill’s wildly successful first feature together), FOXY BROWN announces not only itself but its titular character before the feature even begins properly. The audience is treated to a psychedelic opening credits sequence that would not seem out of place prior to a 007 picture, outside of the ubiquitous afros. This brief, but striking, ordeal climaxes with Grier in character taking aim at the camera and firing a round directly at the viewer, basically laying to waste any pre-conceived notions regarding an attractive female lead.