Trashterpiece Theater: Exploring the Strange and Unusual Side of Cinema: Volume Two

I'm back again with five more trash flicks for your viewing pleasure. In this volume we have ninjas, store brand RoboCop, Chinese Neo-Nazis, regular Nazis, and flying decapitated heads!

Pray for Death (1985)

Sho Kosugi was the premier ninja dude in the '80s and this is one of his most action-packed flicks! Kosugi plays a family man who leaves his secret life as a the "Black Ninja" to start anew in America. Unfortunately, he accidentally gets mixed up with the local mobsters and they end up hurting his family. That means he has to don his ninja cowl and take care of business the only way he knows how: kicking some serious ass while doing cool ninja shit. This movie has it all: ninja eyeliner, shurikens, Kosugi doing a flip over a car, a training scene set to an epic '80s pop ballad, and just general badassery.

Available on Blu-Ray from Arrow Video.

The Boxer's Omen (1983)

Many people are unaware that Shaw Brothers Studio dabbled into the horror genre, mixing together martial arts and general craziness. The Boxer's Omen is in the Chinese Black Magic subgenre which is characterized by crazy ass magic rituals (which often include puking for some reason) and body horror. This flick is probably the most batshit of them all with skeleton bats, a Buddhist monk who powers up by using lasers, zombie crocodiles, and the piece de resistance: a flying disembodied head that chokes a dude out with its spinal column. The set-pieces used are fantastical and the gore effects are pretty gnarly.

Out of Print: Image Entertainment DVD

Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS (1975)

If one wants to explore the world of Nazisploitation there is no better entry point than Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS. The titular Ilsa is played with evil glee by Dyanne Thorne and the film is absolutely filled to the brim with sleaze. The film takes place in a concentration camp that is overseen by Ilsa in which she tortures the female prisoners and then sexually dominates the male prisoners. For the most part, the movie follows the same tropes as "women-in-prison" films with everyone walking around half naked and sexually explicit scenes thrown in for titillation. As an aside, they used the set from the TV show Hogan's Heroes for this film and after it was completed they demolished it.

Available as an import DVD/Blu-Ray from various companies.

Robo Vampire (1988)

Godfey Ho is at it again, this time mixing together a bootleg version of RoboCop and a horror movie about jiangshi, also known as Chinese "hopping vampires". These two ideas combine together about as well as you think it would, which is not at all. Honestly, this is one of Ho's more coherent efforts and it's worth watching this flick just for the scenes where "RoboCop" (who looks nothing like him, by the way) squares off against the undead. There is also a super weird side plot involving a witch and a demon who are trying to get married, mobsters and...wizards? At any rate, it makes a lot more sense after seven or eight beers.

Available on YouTube and various unofficial DVDs.

Flash Future Kung Fu (1983)

What's that? You want to see a Blade Runner knock-off that takes place mostly in an arcade and features Chinese Neo-Nazi cyborgs as the main villains? Hot damn, today is your lucky day! Flash Future Kung Fu is the chopped and screwed English version of Health Warning, an award-winning Hong Kong sci-fi dystopian flick. This film has been edited to hell and back and is the cinematic equivalent of gibberish. No scene has any sort of context or flow and things just happen for no reason. Add in some English dubbing that sounds like it was ran through Google Translate and you have a recipe for an absolute mess. All the Nazis wear denim jeans and you can tell it's the future because there are CRT monitors all over the place. There is also a musical interlude where two chicks in pink tutus try to drown the lead singer of a New Wave band. Truly a maddening delight.

Available on DVD from Tai Seng.

--Michelle Kisner