Wednesday 30 May 2018

14 - German SF roundup

Hu-Man (1975)- Arty mystic Terence Stamp film about Tel wandering about various landscapes, long-lost. Should have stayed lost.

Zoo Zero (1979) - Blue-tinted/darkly lit nonsense involving a future nightclub and a zoo and Klaus Kinski.

France Societe Anonyme (1974) - Arty nonsense featruing Santa with a gun, subliminal messages and bondage. Zydeco soundtrack. Debut of Alain Corneau, before he began making Depardieu movies.

Tranches De Vie (1985) - Unfunny anthology comedy with Jean-Pierre Cassel, also rips off the end of Moonraker, except it doesn't - but it does have Achille Aubergine.

Besuch Bei Van Gogh (1985)  - If you ever wanted to know what 1980s Doctor Who would look like if made in East Germany, this DEFA flick shows.  Seemingly shot on video, feels like Mapp and Lucia.

Ghost Chase (1987) - A sort of sub-Ghostbusters with teens crafted by Roland Emmerich, with a mixed German and American cast, and unlike Joey, here, he casts a mix of cast members of Night of the Creeps (Jason Lively and Jill Whitlow) and British veterans (Rumpole of the Bailey's Julian Curry and bizarrely, Python/Milligan/Rising Damp director Ian MacNaughton, the latter a Munich resident). Its theme "Imagination", by Belouis Some (a UK No. 17 hit) was recently used in an Irish Lotto campaign. The teen characters are annoying, and its faux Californian attitude and setting makes it feels like a Fanta ad. Features a puppety Yoda ghost that looks like it comes from the same sort of sub-Henson stable as The Neverending Story. In all, rather tacky, less visually impressive than the slavishly Spielbergian Joey, but a more typical US low-budget family fantasy.

Decoder (1984) - Cyberpunk nonsense, all on monitor screens, shoddy VT. Genesis P-Orridge in it somewhere, apparently.

Der Unsichtbare (1987) - Invisible "comedy", empty gloss with Nena. Couldn't maintain interest.

Chobotnice z druhého patra/Veselé Vánoce přejí chobotnice (1987) - Cheerful Czech kids' fantasy by Jindrich Polak, a TV series compilation that does feel at times bitty and the first half is quite slow, but is quite amiable, about two claymation octopuses. Appropriately features a telly cut in two. A bit Children's Film Foundation. The octopuses are fun, an astonishing effect of them waddling along a river, as well as one driving, hung onto a steering wheel.  In the end, they get smashed and are remoulded into birds. The difference between the toy birds used in live action shots and the stop motion effects is very much apparent.

Die Hamburger Krankheit (1979) - Nothing to do with Ian and Janette Tough restaging Bergerac, but you do kind of expect them to appear the way the story goes. Clinical, surrealist plague thriller - goes from surrealism (written by Roland Topor) to comedy to Inspector Derrick and back. Towards the end, it becomes quite well directed. A tank goes mad at one point.  Helmut Griem stars, a world away from Cabaret, but not cabaret.

Bodo (1987)- German boy genius comedy featuring British child actors Alec Christie (of The Children of Green Knowe) and Jake Wood, years before being Max Branning in Eastenders (Wood also did The Gentle Touch and Only Fools and Horses - the Jolly Boys' Outing around this time). Has a creepy robot orangutan. Soppy and precocious. Very Children's Film Foundation, specifically Egghead's Robot.

Spukschloss im Spessart (1967) - Aside from some fun Banshee in Darby O'Gill-esque ghost effects,  a broad, occasionally quite sparky and likeable if wearing Rentaghost-ish thing from Constantin Film. With invisible ghosts to save on the costly effects. Invisible dancing scenes ahoy. There's a bluefaced woman alongside a lot of castrato brownfaced Arabs. And a random cowboy, and stealing of dummies' clothing from a shop window. The ghosts also deface walls, revealing the swastikas beneath.

Herrliche Zeiten Im Spessart (1967) - From Constantin Film, rather silly time travel comedy sequel to a popular German comedy, features a presidential banquet, and time-travelling spacemen in giant Things to Come-ish helmets - an influence on both Les Visiteurs and Tomorrow, I Shall Wake Up and Scald Myself With Tea? Very broad,  has the look of various historical Carry Ons. Musical sequences. Attractive but obviously loses something. The future sports stuff is quite silly, all multicoloured wigs predating UFO, although here it is mostly blokes, as it predicts a genderless trans-feminine culture. All a bit Galloping Galaxies.

Also saw trailers for CBS video's arty German horror, Loft,  Udo Kier sur-realism Pankow '95, RTL's Alexander Kluge's arty rubbish The Big Mess (-1971), and  Ein großer graublauer Vogel (-1971), an actually quite exciting-looking thing scored by Can, and featuring Robert Siodmak.  need to watch the John Huston-ArminMueller Stahl-Mario Adorf version of Momo, and animations Cat City and finish Rene Laloux's Time Masters.

Momo (1986) - The initial cash in on The Neverending Story, like that - an adaptation of a Michael Ende story. Lavished with a starry cast (John Huston, Armin Mueller Stahl, Mario Adorf). I remember RTE showing a German-Italian cartoon of this. Ende, unlike Neverending was directly involved in this. About a little girl lost when time goes wrong. Mueller Stahl shows that he would have made an interesting Blofeld, as here the Grey Men are bald sorts in grey Nehru shirts who can't eat - they only smoke, while in the cartoon, they were literally grey. There's a creepy doll called Bibi-girl, and a pet tortoise. Not as good as The Neverending Story.

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