Those Missing Crapfests Pt. 1

Okay, I have a few of these to get through, so forgive me if I resort to my notes/bullet points form of communication. You know our cast of characters, so let’s just charge into No-Man’s Land.

I like to weaponize my fellow attendants’ penchant for movies featuring nudity, so for our first Crapfest we’re catching up on I brought Ken Russell’s Lizstomania, the Master of Wretched Excess’ film biography of Franz Lizst. I reviewed this one some time ago, so I’ll just plagiarize myself:

Lisztomania is concerned with the composer’s adult life, starting with his affair with the Countess Marie d’Agoult (Fiona Lewis), then into a concert where the audience is populated by screaming young girls (causing me to flash back to the final concert scenes of A Hard Day’s Night), then onward through his years of fruitful creativity under Princess Carolyn zu Sayn-Wittgenstein (Sara Kestelman), finally ending with his exorcism of the Nazi vampire Richard Wagner, using a flame-throwing piano made of steel and glass. Then Liszt returns from the afterlife in a pipe organ spaceship powered by the women he loved in life, to defeat Wagner, resurrected as a Frankenstein Monster/Adolf Hitler with an electric guitar that doubles as a machine gun.

What I’m saying is, some liberties may have been taken with Liszt’s biography.

This is Russell’s follow-up to Tommy, which you are much more likely to have seen, and that might prepare you for the absolute lunacy that is Lizstomania, but don’t count on it. I love it for its madness, but my fellow Crapfesters did not, even though it has more exposed breasts than a Hartz Chicken Buffet. The big loser, here, though, is poor Paul. He had, numerous times, almost rented the movie at Blockbuster, only to bypass it for more user-friendly fare, and he was really looking forward to seeing it that night. Alas, he found out his younger self was looking out for him much better than I did.

I was dismayed that the group did not recognize the opening scene of Das Rheingold, but then the Russell version does involve more Rhinemaidens, nudity and implied rape than Wagner’s, and less of his music. Haven’t even mentioned the cameos by Ringo Starr (as The Pope), Rick Wakeman and Nell “Columbia” Campbell.

Dave’s reply to this was Caged Women. Now, there are approximately one hundred and eighty-eight movies named Caged Women, so to clarify, this particular one is the 1991 Italian/Portuguese co-production also known as Caged Women in Purgatory. Beautiful American Janet (Pilar Orive) is, for some inexplicable reason, vacationing alone in South America – not someplace touristy like Rio, but what a certain chief exec would refer to as a “shithole country”. When a local corrupt cop hits on her in a cantina, she is recused by another “American”, Frank (Christian Lorenz). R-rated sex between the two Anglos ensues.

But! Said corrupt cop arrests her on fake drug charges and she gets sent to a remote women’s prison. You can apply your standard women’s prison template after this, with some minor alterations. The warden makes no secret of the prison being a bordello, forsaking the usual Philippine-lensed sugar plantations. The prison is an old ruined castle with some sort of huge cage on the roof, where prisoners are thrown for discipline so the crew didn’t have to build a “hot box”. Janet is thrown into it along with a fellow rebellious prisoner, and the only liquid available is the sweat on their own bodies, so we are eventually led into an R-rated lesbian sex scene. Speaking of lesbians, there is also a female guard who likes whipping prisoners on a St. Andrew’s cross.

And speaking of R-rated scenes, Frank was so impressed by his sex scene that he’s been doing detective work on what happened to Janet and even manages to substitute himself for the regular helicopter pilot to the prison. Just in time, too, because the warden has arranged for a Most Dangerous Game scenario with Janet and her rebellious prison mates. It’ll solve come discipline problems and act as an apology to some of his clientele, especially the one Janet kneed in the balls when he tried to rape her.

Frank manages to hide guns in the tiger pits meant for the girls and some satisfying mayhem ensues. The prisoners are freed, and the lesbian guard winds up in the cross, discovering she likes being whipped. Janet and her side action from that cage on the roof fly out with Frank, and decide to show him how grateful they are while he’s still flying the helicopter. Amusing as that may be, it is exceedingly dangerous, and I can only assume the movie ends just before they crash.

I went into this with a little bit of apprehension, as some of the European versions of WiP movies can be deadly nihilistic, but this particular one is not bad. Pilar Orive deserves some plaudits for spending most of the movie naked, or nearly so. Our audience certainly thought so.

We had fallen to reminiscing about the days of weird martial arts movies at Crapfest, and it turned out Erik had never seen Master of the Flying Guillotine, so we fixed that. If you haven’t, you should fix that, too. Especially if you were a Street Fighter 2 fan and ever fought Dhalsim. This was, like, the third time we’ve shown this movie at Crapfest.

We finished up with a tale of kung fu treachery, Chang Cheh’s Masked Avengers, starring the Venoms. The story this time out concerns a band of bandits who always wear garish masks while they rob and murder. My favorite Venom, Kuo Chui/Philip Kwok is one of the bandits who’s split off from the gang – after their usual attack and slaughter of a family on the road, they kept the pretty daughter. Robbing and murder is perfectly alright with Kuo, but rape is just beyond the pale. This puts him a position to aid the rest of the family in tracking down the bandits hideout to rescue the girl (unfortunately useless, the gang’s depredations have driven her mad), and put an end to the bandits reign of terror.

Chang Cheh’s flicks are often distinguished by their cruelty, and Masked Avengers might have the crown in that category, as lots of helpless people are pincushioned by the bandits’ trademark tridents and made to die slowly. The movie is fairly light on the fight scenes, until the final storming of the hideout, which results in an epic fight that lasts an astounding, exhausting nine and a half minutes.

Have you all been nice boys and girls? Well, okay then.

All right! Three more of these to get through!