I think every city of even modest size in Europe has at least one museum dedicated to the cruel and imaginative ways Europeans tortured one another during the Middle Ages. Prague, being a city that deals quite cannily with tourists, has a few torture museums. I’ve heard that many of the implements displayed in these types of museums were dreamed up mostly for the museums themselves, but I’m no scholar of medieval torture, so I can’t say. They seem believable enough to me, based on the research I’ve done of watching The Witchfinder General starring Vincent Price.
I love a good daku-drama, and Dara Singh makes one very satisfyingly manly dacoit (I mean, he is the guy who later carved “MARD” into his infant son’s chest). This film is surprisingly serious much of the time though, with an unexpected (at least to me) ending; it’s not his usual lighthearted type of stunt film although there is plenty of delicious fun to be had nonetheless. And of course, being a “B-movie” it has beautiful music too, with lively dances from the gorgeous Bela Bose, Madhumati and Rani, among others.
The yokai — a seemingly endlessly bizarre parade of creatures based on Japanese folklore and pure imagination of the authors — found pop culture popularity in manga format as Ge Ge Ge No Kitaro, which was published in Shonen Magazine from 1966 until 1970, though it found a home in many other manga magazines with the word “shonen” in the title. Ge Ge Ge No Kitaro was about a young boy, Kitaro, with a host of magical abilities and the mission of reconciling the world of goblins and ghosts — yokai — with that of the humans.
Alien space women come to Earth to search for (what else) manly men as all of theirs are dead. So of course they head to Turkey, the manliest country in the galaxy. But the only men the space women meet in Flying Saucers Over Istanbul (Uçan daireler Istanbulda) are two greedy idiots who proceed to try to sell alien secrets to get rich in schemes that might have played well in 1955 Turkey, but now are just annoying. Perhaps they didn’t play too well in 1955 Turkey, as the film reportedly did not fare well at the box office.
It’s a kung fu cop action flick from the late 1970s, so you know it will be full screen and dubbed terribly. The characters will be wearing outfits that make fashion police commit suicide, and the plot will only occasionally make sense. Throw in scenes that are just there for excuses for more fights and characters whose names change depending on who is talking, and you got yourself a movie. Just don’t hurt yourself getting down to the funky theme song. Because it’s the only thing that’s funky.
The Fight Card team flexes its muscles for a good cause. Iron Head and Other Stories is the first of several charity anthologies being released by the Fight Card team over the next few months, and it includes my vintage fight fiction short, Bushwhacked – written under the pen name James Hopwood.
A revisionist Western with a splash of the supernatural added in,High Plains Drifter is well-constructed but morally bleak film that weaves a tale of lost souls, greed, conspiracy, and revenge from beyond the grave.