(Italy/Spain - 1983; US release 1985)
Directed by Jules Harrison (Giuliano Carnimeo). Written by Elisa Briganti, Dardano Sacchetti and Jose Truchado Reyes. Cast: Robert Jannucci (Robert Iannucci), Alicia Moro, Alan Collins (Luciano Pigozzi), Eduardo Fajardo, Fred Harris (Fernando Bilbao), Beryl Cunningham, Luca Venantini, Venantino Venantini, Anna Orso, Sergio Mioni, Jose Chinchilla, Goffredo Unger. (R, 90 mins)
One of the more stunt-crazed entries in the Italian post-nuke onslaught that followed the success of THE ROAD WARRIOR in 1982, EXTERMINATORS OF THE YEAR 3000 kicks off what appears to be a post-apocalypse revival of sorts on Blu-ray, apparently to coincide with George Miller's upcoming reboot MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. Shout! Factory recently released EXTERMINATORS on Blu-ray (they're also handling the original MAD MAX, and Blue Underground will be releasing 1990: THE BRONX WARRIORS, ESCAPE FROM THE BRONX, and THE NEW BARBARIANS this summer) in an anamorphic widescreen transfer that's a significant upgrade to the decent-looking but cropped 1.33:1 edition released on DVD by Code Red in 2010. EXTERMINATORS is surprisingly good for its type, with director Giuliano Carnimeo--using the pseudonym "Jules Harrison"--indulging in some ridiculous stunts and car wrecks as well as keeping a distinct western motif to the proceedings--even shooting in and outside of Almeria, Spain, where most of the classic spaghettis were filmed--that echoes the numerous spaghetti westerns he made in the late '60s and early '70s under his usual "Anthony Ascott" nom de plume. Carnimeo dabbled in various genres, as Italian journeymen were wont to do, but he was best known for his several SARTANA westerns with titles like SARTANA THE GRAVEDIGGER (1968), and the 1970 ellipses trio of SARTANA'S COMING...GET YOUR COFFINS READY, HAVE A GOOD FUNERAL, MY FRIEND...SARTANA WILL PAY, and LIGHT THE FUSE...SARTANA IS COMING.
THE CASE OF THE BLOODY IRIS) and erotic dramas (the Edwige Fenech vehicle SECRETS OF A CALL GIRL) before directing several "Butch and Toby" buddy comedy actioners starring Paul Smith and "Michael Coby" (actually Italian actor Antonio Cantafora), who had a brief run in Italy as the second-string Bud Spencer and Terence Hill. 1975's CONVOY BUDDIES was released in the US in 1978 by Film Ventures, and Smith filed a lawsuit against the company when he and Cantafora were billed in the advertising as "Bob Spencer" and "Terrence Hall" in an effort to fool hopefully inattentive moviegoers into thinking it was the latest film from the popular TRINITY duo. Carnimeo made a few obscure sex comedies before directing EXTERMINATORS, but the now 82-year-old director has been inactive since 1988's RATMAN, which has attained minor cult status thanks to the presence of Nelson de la Rosa as a half-monkey/half-rat mutant running loose on a Caribbean island. De la Rosa would go on to play Marlon Brando's "Mini-Me"-inspiring sidekick in 1996's ill-fated THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU and those connections generated some belated interest in RATMAN years after it was made, and his involvement was enough to get it released on DVD in the UK with the tagline "He's the critter from the shitter." RATMAN sounds a lot more fun than it really is, and it seems to be the final chapter in Carnimeo's career.
Larry Dolgin. The towering Bilbao, also known to Eurotrash fans for his appearances as the Frankenstein monster in Jess Franco's 1972 double-shot of DRACULA, PRISONER OF FRANKENSTEIN and THE EROTIC RITES OF FRANKENSTEIN, makes an imposing villain with his very Wez-like look, though dubber Robert Sommer carries a lot of the weight, bellowing Ron Burgundy-isms like "By the beard of the prophet!" EXTERMINATORS was picked up by New Line Cinema and released in the US in January 1985, after which the Thorn/EMI VHS could be found in any video store in America.