Monday, March 12, 2012


(Italy - 1976)

Mostly forgettable Italian crime obscurity written by Fernando Di Leo and featuring Tomas Milian is of little interest to anyone but Eurocult die-hards.  Raro USA's packaging makes it look like a Milian polizia, but he's really just got a supporting role as a dogged inspector after a trio of rich kids on a crime spree.  He's tipped off by Lea (INFERNO's Eleonora Giorgi) that her boyfriend Louie (Max Delys), and his pals Paul (Stefano Patrizi) and Joe (Benjamin Lev) are planning to rob a gas station with toy guns.  Louie is the reluctant driver and isn't aware that Paul and Joe are packing real heat and don't plan on stopping with the gas station.  Why?  Spoiled boredom and bad parenting, according to Milian, who spends his time lecturing their parents and telling them "Communication is the key to understanding."  You don't normally watch Italian crime films expecting Afterschool Special messages.  Was Di Leo going soft here?  These shitbags don't need a hug.  They need Milian smashing their heads through pinball machines Maurizio Merli-style.

1976 Italian poster
Di Leo and director Romolo Guerrieri (THE FINAL EXECUTIONER) choose to focus on the three hoods--none of whom are very interesting characters or actors (Joe is incredibly annoying, made even more insufferable by Lev's nonstop mugging)--while making the mistake of relegating a commanding presence like Milian to the sideline.  YOUNG, VIOLENT, DANGEROUS (original Italian title: LIBERI ARMATI PERICOLOSI) has a couple of good chase sequences and is never dull, but it's definitely not top-tier Italo crime.  Guerrieri, a competent journeyman director, just doesn't have the sense of style or energy that an Enzo G. Castellari (Guerrieri's nephew), an Umberto Lenzi or Di Leo himself would bring to these kinds of films.  Raro's DVD has been remastered and looks surprisingly good considering the 1.85:1 image is presented non-anamorphic.  Non-anamorphic.  In 2012.  Really, Raro USA?  Includes Italian and English audio tracks (the latter featuring the usual dubbing voices like Ted Rusoff, Michael Forest, Pat Starke, and others).  There's also an interview segment with Guerrieri, shot in 2004, a Guerrieri bio and filmography, plus a PDF critical essay to view on your PC in place of the booklet Raro used to put in the packaging. PDF, non-anamorphic...Raro USA's been up and running for a year, but after a roaring start, has recently had two glitch-laden releases (THE SECRET OF DORIAN GRAY and TO BE TWENTY) and now they're already cutting corners elsewhere.  All things considered, the YOUNG, VIOLENT, DANGEROUS DVD presentation has some issues, but it's an acceptable package for hardcore Eurocult genre addicts and completists. (Unrated, 97 mins)

(Italy - 1974)

Molasses-paced Eurosleaze from grindhouse god Dick Randall, an American expat who had a long career producing trashy, bad-movie classics in Hong Kong, Italy, Spain, and the UK.  Anyone familiar with gems such as CHALLENGE OF THE TIGER, FRANKENSTEIN'S CASTLE OF FREAKS, DON'T OPEN TILL CHRISTMAS, SLAUGHTER HIGH, the infamous Weng Weng vehicle FOR Y'UR HEIGHT ONLY, and the immortal PIECES, arguably the greatest bad movie ever made, already has a handle on Randall.  The Italian-made kinda-sorta-giallo THE GIRL IN ROOM 2A, written and directed by American William Rose, takes forever to get going with its story of an unjustly-jailed young woman (Daniela Giordano), paroled to a halfway house run by a group of mysterious weirdos who take it upon themselves to punish "bad" girls--who always get assigned to Room 2A--as some sort of moral Inquisition of their own.  They even have a red-cloaked/hooded torturer, who looks like a villain out of a 1940s Republic Pictures serial.  Giordano sees all sorts of strange goings-on and teams up with John Scanlon, whose sister was a previous tenant of Room 2A, to investigate.

1975 US theatrical poster

Rose, who only made '60s underground NYC nudie flicks up to this point (with titles like THE SMUT PEDDLER, PROFESSOR LUST and 50,000 B.C. (BEFORE CLOTHING)), has no sense of pacing whatsoever and is hopelessly out of his element making a--and I use the term loosely--"legit" film.  The film is a total snooze enlivened only by intermittent nudity or splatter, filled with ludicrously inappropriate music that does nothing to establish a suspenseful mood.  What's supposed to be a scary sequence is ruined by what sounds periously close to circus music.  Randall must've stepped in to save the day, because after 75 minutes of coma-inducing torpor, THE GIRL IN ROOM 2A erupts into all-out hilarity during the ridiculous climax, filled with cheap gore, terrible music, awful fight choreography, and just the general nonsense that one normally associates with Dick Randall productions, as Giordano is about to be sacrificed while Scanlon and his sister's ex-boyfriend (longtime Randall pal and ex-peplum star Brad Harris) attempt to rescue her.  The last ten or so minutes are so stupidly entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny that it makes the first 75 totally worth the endurance.  Also with Eurocult regulars Rosalba Neri, Karen Schubert, Frank Latimore and Angelo Infanti, plus, as the main villain, a curiously slumming Raf Vallone, who was getting a lot of work in Hollywood movies and on American TV at the time.  Mondo Macabro, a company that seems to be exclusively releasing Randall product these days, presents THE GIRL IN ROOM 2A in an occasionally beat-up but generally nice-looking transfer that the packaging lists as 1.66:1, but is actually 1.78:1.  Extras include a short interview with Giordano, where she dispels the longstanding rumor that William Rose was a pseudonym for Ramiro Oliveros, a Spanish actor who often gets credited in print and online with directing this film, plus some cast/crew info, and a lurid trailer for the film's 1975 US release ("Kidnapped!  Enslaved!  She became a sexual plaything in a strange, sadistic ritual!"). (Unrated, 85 mins).

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