Friday, February 16, 2024

Guesting on THE BLOODY PIT OF ROD podcast

Dr Mabuse, Bloody Pit of Rod, podcast

Seems like the 1960s Dr Mabuses have definitely become "my thing" as I have now also guested on The Bloody Pit of Rod podcast in a 2+ hour episode to discuss this series of movies,

Go check it out....

Friday, January 12, 2024

Sensational Sixties #10

 

Sensational Sixties, Dr Mabuse, Fritz Lang, Lex Barker, Gert Fröbe

Proud as punch that I got my first article into SENSATIONAL SIXTIES #10.

My contribution focuses on the five Dr Mabuse movies of the 1960s not directed by Fritz Lang.

The magazine is a beauty and looking at the contents I find myself in the illustrious company of the likes of Kim Newman, Bruce G. Hallenbeck and Rachael Nisbet.

The magazine can be ordered via Hemlock Books.



Tuesday, December 12, 2023

MAELSTROM 01 - French fanzine dedicated to the Edgar Wallace Krimis


 I was just browsing through some old files on my laptop and happened to come across a PDF of MAELSTROM 01 - numero spécial Edgar Wallace, a richly illustrated 124-page French language fanzine covering all 32 Rialto Edgar Wallace Krimis.

Other than that it was published more than ten years ago in April 2013 I have no further info about this. It was clearly a one-off and I don't think there were even any other issues of this magazine created. The only thing I found online about this is this French language blog post that had also provided a download link (long since expired). 

To the best of my knowledge this zine had only ever existed as a free PDF for fans of this subgenre.

I have now uploaded this fanzine to archive.org to make this wonderful publication more easily accessible again. Even if you don't speak French, it is well worth exploring and an utter joy.


Saturday, October 7, 2023

Rialto Wallace Top 5 - Guest Contribution by Douglas Waltz

This is the first in (hopefully!) a series of guest contributions about everyone’s favourite Krimis (Rialto, Wallace or otherwise) that I am hoping to publish here on this blog. 

Douglas Waltz has kindly agreed to start this off. 

I first got to know Doug via the Euro Trash Paradise (ETP), a Yahoo Group - remember those? - dedicated to Eurocult productions of all kind. Long gone and deeply mourned by practically everyone who was involved in it, this was and will forever remain my favourite cinematic online hangout. Nothing that ever came in its wake, ever had the friendly and casual but also seriously well informed vibe that I encountered in this group and I am still in touch with many of its regular members. 

It was there that I first learned that a) there are Krimi fans outside of Germany and other German language countries and b) that the non-availability of decent English friendly prints is by far the biggest drawback and hurdle for new fans of this genre. 

Over the last couple of years Doug penned the series of Monster Killer books, fast quick reads about contemporary Monster Killer Morgan St. Cloud. Based on online reviews I seem to be the only person who actually ever reads those which really is a pity as they are so much fun and contain an incredible amount of world building packed into its short reading time. 

His Killer F**cking Squirrels was another Must Read for me. 

Doug is also a big fan of micro budget film making and when he doesn’t direct his own No-Budget oeuvres, he writes about film makers like the Polonia Brothers

On his YouTube channel he does his “Old Man Comic Book Reviews” or presents “The Basement of Baron Morbid”. 

Doug, thank you so much for this article! 

If anyone else would like to pen a few virtual lines about their favourite Krimis, please let me know. I really would love if we could create a little roundtable for other international Krimi-Fans. 

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Die Nylonschlinge/Nylon Noose (1963)

Die Nylonschlinge, Nylon Noose, Krimi, Helga Sommerfeld, Dietmar Schönherr,
When a Scotland Yard detective gets killed with a nylon noose in a seedy nightclub after incorporating the victim of a blackmail attempt, the few hints point to a shareholder meeting of an oil consortium in Elford Manor. Inspektor Harvey (Dietmar Schönherr) goes to investigate and soon discovers that one by one all the share holders receive blackmail notices and anyone not paying up is faced with the same gruesome death. 


 There's something to be said about journeyman directors, directors who never really truly shine but keep showing up and regularly produce watchable fare. 

 I generally have nothing but the greatest respect for those cinematic work horses. The downside, however, is that this type of director tends to rise and fall with the material and supporting talent that is given to them. 

A true master may elevate average stories into something magnificent and even hide tremendous plot holes from the viewer. 

A hack on the other hand highlights all those faults and amplifies them to the nth degree and thereby may come up with some involuntary entertaining results. 

A journeyman? Well, they just plod along in that case and neither properly thrill nor entertain. 

Rudolf Zehetgruber is exactly one such director. 

In the two years of 1963/64 he shot a handful of standalone Krimis before directing two Kommissar X and other action movies and finally finding his calling in a series of Herbie clones about a VW superbug called Dudu in which he also played the leading role, a character called Jimmy Bondi. 

Two of his films I have reviewed on this blog - Die schwarze Kobra/The Black Cobra (1963) and Piccadilly Null Uhr Zwölf (1963) - and the overall impression for me was mainly a very decided "Meh!"

Die Nylonschlinge, Nylon Noose, Krimi Die Nylonschlinge/Nylon Noose (1963) in all its averageness is probably the best of the lot as it does successfully incorporate some of the much loved tropes like secret passageways, catacombs and eccentric scientists. 

 Nylon Noose is a standalone Krimi and not based on any novel. 

 Produced by Erwin C. Dietrich, who in the 1970s would be in charge of a range of German sex comedies, it’s fairly statically filmed with only two actors more widely known for an International Krimi audience: Dietmar Schönherr and Ady Berber. 

Dietmar Schönherr (Das Ungeheuer von London City/The Monster of London City) carries off the role of the charming Inspector well. 

 And Ady Berber’s already imposing features are further disfigured by having his face covered in gruesome scars from an accident. His character is told to always stay out off sight from all the guests in the manor so as not to frighten them which explains why he is always seen lurking about in the catacombs or climbing up the outside walls as opposed to just enter the place through the front door. Ultimately he is, however, more of a gentle giant type with a heart of gold. 

Individually there is a lot to be enjoyed in this production: We have an eccentric professor type (Gustav Kloster) who experiments on mummies for the secret to a prolonged life. We got creepy underground passageways and a bit more skin on show than normal for a film of its time. It is indeed the actresses that mainly remain in the viewers' memory: 

Helga Sommerfeld (who can also be spotted in the two Bryan Edgar Wallace Krimis Das Geheimnis der schwarzen Koffer/The Secret of the Black Trunk (1962) and Das Phantom von Soho/The Phantom of Soho (1964)) is the main female lead and love interest for Dietmar Schönherr’s character and one wishes she’d have more often been placed in prominent roles in those films. 

Real life dancing sensation Laya Raki brings an exotic touch to the story by… playing an exotic dancer. Whenever the lights quickly go off during her performance, either money changes hands or someone gets killed, though it is never quite clear a) why the nightclub doesn’t get closed down with such a death count at this very moment and b) why from all the places in good ol’ foggy London Town it is this sleazy establishment that gets chosen all the time for this transaction. (Well, there are some possible hints about this towards the end but I’ll be damned if I understood them.) 

Die Nylonschlinge, Nylon Noose, Krimi, Ady Berber
And finally we have a wonderfully scheming pair of mother (Hedda Ippen) and daughter (Chris Van Loosen). The younger of the two even has no compunction about going after her mother’s Beau (Kurt Beck) who at one stage is being described as young, handsome and ruthless when to my mind he came across as middle-aged, bland and out of his wit. 

The soundtrack is also of interest as it combines traditional swinging Krimi tunes with experimental sound effects. 

So, it all sounds great. 

 And yet as a whole the film doesn’t really quite blend it all together all that well. Various of the narrative strands have little to nothing to do with the case and its solution which is indeed ultimately more than mundane and in contrast to some of the set pieces. 

The direction is quite flat and lifeless and at times it feels as if they’re just ticking off a check list of motions to go through. We even have a bowler hatted comic relief (Denys Seiler) who actually really does nothing remotely funny and for the most part plays everything straight. 

The remaining group of male supporting characters are all united in just being presented as being a very unpleasant bunch one and all that as a viewer one can’t ever hope that any one of them will remain alive. In one particularly head scratching and icky moment the uncle of Sommerfeld’s character (Gustav Knuth) is clearly hitting on his own niece which leaves Schönherr’s Inspector to comment that he really can’t blame him. As much as I am enamoured by Sommerfeld myself, I still draw a line at praising incest. 

All in all this is a good but not a great production. 

 Though one of the lesser known Krimis, in contrast to other similar films the English dubbed version of this film is easily available but that cut runs six minutes shorter than the original. 

WATCH IT IN GERMAN

WATCH IT IN ENGLISH

BUY THE DVD

  

Monday, March 20, 2023

23, l'année de Marisa Mell

 Yes, I know I pilfered Serge Gainsbourg's oeuvre for the title of this blog post but it really does feel as if 2023 will be the year where Marisa Mell will finally get her long overdue recognition... at least in her native Austria as there is a ton happening there right now.

Best known as Eva Kant in Mario Bava's Danger: Diabolik (1968), she also featured in scores of International productions as well as playing in Das Rätsel der roten Orchidee/Secret of the Red Orchid (1962) and Das Rätsel des silbernen Halbmonds/Seven Blood-Stained Orchids (1972). She was one of the most stunning women of her time and yet her (ultimately tragic) life story had somewhat faded into oblivion. 

Singer/Actress/Author Erika Pluhar wrote a beautiful German language book, Marisa, about their friendship and Mirko Di Wallenberg kept the flame alive on his blog, but other than that there was very little.

Not any more though....

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Dead Eyes of London slideshow

 I enjoyed creating my first Krimi related slideshow on YouTube so much that I decided to do a second one, this time dedicated to DIE TOTEN AUGEN VON LONDON/DEAD EYES OF LONDON (1961), Alfred Vohrer's Edgar Wallace-debut featuring a very experimental track by composer Heinz Funk.