Slaughter

I just had to see this film after watching the sequel last night. I watched this on YouTube and it was obviously ripped from a video cassette, so the picture was not great, but the sound was fine which was fortunate as the theme song was fabs (see below).

The story involves Slaughter going on a rampage in South America in order to find the mother that killed his parents in a car bomb attack. In the scene directly after the explosion we see Slaughter in the hospital. A doctor walks out of an operating theatre to tell him that his father did not make it, which was quite bizarre as this explosion seems pretty final…

It turns out that he was after Rip Torn (real name Elmore Rual Torn Jr.), and he of course kills him by blowing him up in a fiery car explosion.

Rip Torn as “Dominic Hoffo”, evil b’stard.

To fill in the story between the parents getting blown to bits and Rip getting blown to bits, we had various random characters and plot points thrown in.

There was of course a sidekick comedy-relief guy, played by Don Gordon (he passed away last year aged 90)…

Say hello to my wooden friend!

There was the kingpin gangster played by a fellow by the name of Norman Alfe. Norman was a wealthy furniture manufacturer and was an aspiring actor. This was his only film and he actually died not long after this film was made at the age of 48. There is very little about him on the interwebs, but one site says that his death is a mystery. This may have been his first and only film, but he was actually quite good.

Norman as Mario, the classy kingpin.

The love interest was played by Stella Stevens who appeared in many TV shows and films including Bonanza, Magnum P.I., The Nutty Professor, and The Poseidon Adventure. She had to take her clothes off a few times in the film, each time with Slaughter of course.

Stella and Jim.

The story was quite random and nonsensical for the most part. It just seems as though the writers sat around thinking of good action bits they could add in, then quickly filled in the gaps. The cinematography was a bit random too. Some shots were taken at strange angles, and for a couple of action scenes the cameraman decided a fish-eye lens would be a good idea, and that the camera should be at ground level looking up towards the action, it was quite bizarre.

The director who was a fellow by the name of Jack Starrett. I hadn’t heard of him either, but when I looked him up I found out that he played this very funny character in Blazing Saddles…

Gabby Johnson

The absolute best thing about this film though was the theme song by Billy Preston…just listen to that guitar!

The seventies fashions in this film were lackluster. Looking on the Internet for 1972 fashions though, I did find that there were some far-out designs back then, such as the neat threads these gents are sporting…I quite like the left outfit.

“Dudes! Look over there, is that Leif Garrett?!”

The sequel is better, but I still found this to be a hoot to watch. It is a pity the Slaughter films did not continue beyond just these two gems of 70’s gold, but Jim Brown went on to make plenty more films, one of which I have lined up to watch next.

Date watched: October 13th
Score: 6.5/10
Seventies-O-fashion score: 3/10
Film count 2018: 63

Slaughter’s Big Rip Off

Browsing for films on YouTube I came across this film, which as it turns out is another American International Pictures release. It was made in 1973 and features the acting talents of Jim Brown, with a soundtrack by James Brown. It also stars Ed McMahon as a drug lord.

It is pretty typical 1970’s B-grade fare with lots of action, cardboard acting, scenes where nothing much happens, TV-style directing, large collars, mustaches, and attitude. Some of it was just plain funny, especially a scene involving Slaughter being attacked by kung-fu assassins.

Some of it was quite violent, especially a scene at the beginning of the film where we see a character (played by George Gaynes, aka Lieutenant Lassard of Police Academy fame…read his bio, he had quite a life) on the receiving end of a headshot by a hitman shooting a machine gun from a low flying biplane. For the day this must have been quite shocking.

Jim Brown was an American Rugby player before he turned to acting, and quite a successful one too. This film was made seven years after he retired from sports, but he was obviously still in good shape. He had plenty of opportunities to show off his physique, mostly in scenes that involved some lady friends (his character had a girlfriend, but he was not very faithful to her).

Jim in action.
Jim in gun action (different film).
Jim these days.

Also in the film was Scatman Crothers, which is always a pleasure to see. He was the voice of Hong Kong Phooey don’t you know?!

The seventies fashions in this film were only average. The best dressed character, apart from Scatman of course, was “Joe Creole” who was a smooth-talkin’ pimp.

Scatman knows how to wear a hat.
Purple is my thang!

Ed McMahon did have some stylish sunglasses though, and the shirt is not too bad either…

Ed with the film’s hitman.

This is actually a sequel to the original Slaughter film that came out a year earlier, so I’ll have to check that out too. Hopefully it is as much fun as this one.

Fave lines in the film (from IMDB):

Slaughter: [Slaughter’s girl is wound up about him getting hurt] Now, you gettin’ all wired up ain’t gonna help nothing… So why don’t you go back on outside, and give the customers another look at your pretty face?
Marcia: You know, that’s what gets me about you, Slaughter… You’re so goddammed cool!
[She storms out]

Slaughter: [to his girl] I’m Slaughter, baby… The baddest cat that ever walked the earth… And besides, I’m gonna do it to them before they do it to me… You can bet your money on that.

Date watched: October 12th
Score: 7.5/10
Seventies-O-fashion score: 6/10
Film count 2018: 62

Youngblood

This is a 1978 film made by American International Pictures, who made quite a few blaxploitation films, including Scream Blacula Scream.

The story centres around “Youngblood”, a teenager who gets into trouble at school when he is caught with a handgun. He then gets involved in a street gang that has a beef with a local drug dealer after one of the gang dies of an overdose, so they decide to bring him down. What they don’t know, and Youngblood doesn’t know, is that Youngblood’s seemingly upstanding older brother is one of the leaders of the drug ring.

There is a little more to it, but really the story is nothing new or particularly engaging. The cinematography and directing are nothing flash, but it is obviously a film made on small budget. The acting though is fine, and there are a few familiar faces in the cast. The soundtrack is by War, and this is made clear to us right from the first opening credits, and is the first thing you see in the end credits. Click here to listen to the title song.

The film ends with the following freeze frame, where we have time to ponder what was to become of Youngblood. Freeze frames are a cheap way to end a budget film really. Instead of neatly tying up all of the loose ends and sub-plots, a freeze frame which lasts 30 seconds or so (as this one did) gives us time to forget all that and make up our own ending.

Not a great film, but overall it was watchable, and it is always fascinating to see 70’s America (in this case it was Watts in Los Angeles). I always marvel at the size of many of the cars back then, they were huge abominations, and the fashions of the day were superb.

“I got smarts and style!”
70's duds
“We got style!”
Date watched: October 7th
Score: 5/10
Film count 2018: 61