By now, you know we have a couple of exploitation fans on this site. Never happier than when reminiscing about the days of low-budget horror, splatter, and all sorts of questionable content being shown in less-salubrious cinemas, they get excited by the news that Grindhouse Releasing is going to be part of the 2023 Wisconsin Film Festival.
The 25th running of the festival will be held from April 3rd to April 20th in Madison, WI and the Grindhouse team will be supporting the festival with a whole line-up of the kind of content beloved by fans of this type of cinema.
They will be presenting 4K restorations of Umberto Lenzi’s The Tough Ones, Christina Hornisher’s Hollywood 90028, and William Grefé’s Impulse which stars William Shatner. Speaking about their support of the festival, Grindhouse Releasing co-founder and president Bob Murawski said:
“I’m thrilled to be attending the Wisconsin Film Festival, they are showing three of our movies this year, once again proving they are the World’s Coolest Film Festival.”
Where to start with this line-up?
The Tough Ones
The French Connection and Dirty Harry lead to a wave of violent copies from Europe. The Italians led the way with the cops-and-criminals subgenre – poliziotteschi. Big hits at home like The Tough Ones were dubbed into English and released into the U.S. exploitation market. A cop in Rome (Maurizio Merli) faces an everyday cesspool of robbery, rape, and murder, when he sets his sights on nailing a sadistic, machine gun-toting psycho (Tomas Milian).
“One of the most gonzo, over-the-top Euro crime films you’ll ever see.”
“Containing little idealism and much violence for the sake of violence…director Umberto Lenzi keeps his action, cast and cameras moving along at a fast clip.”
Sounds almost perfect! The Tough Ones screens on Saturday, April 15. at UW Madison Cinematheque.
aka Twisted Throats aka The Hollywood Hillside Strangler was written and directed by Christina Hornisher.
It was a big hit when an original 35mm print was screened at Quentin Tarantino’s New Beverly Cinema. The version going to the festival is a fully print from the original negative. The reviews on this give you a flavor:
“One of the most shocking and memorable endings in all of 1970s cinema.”
Jim Healy, Wisconsin Film Festival
“Somewhere between art film and exploitation. A bizarre, lost, and lonely low-budget time capsule of Los Angeles with a final shot that needs to be seen to be believed.”
Ti West, Director
“An original and unforgettable viewing experience.”
Anna Biller, Director
“Powerful arthouse horror from a filmmaker who should have had a prolific career.”
William Bibbiani, The Wrap
“Hollywood 90028 is a standout of the sexploitation thriller genre that should not be missed.”
M. Lopes da Silva, Author of Hooker
“The sole feature freak-show from female director Christina Hornisher (billed here as “Craig Hansen”) plays more like a proto-feminist psychodrama than the grindhouse nudie-horror-thriller it’s (un) dressed up to be – subverting genre expectations at every head-scratching turn as it twists its meandering way under your creeped-out skin!”
Hollywood 90028 screens on Monday April 17th at AMC Hilldale Cinema 5. You can get tickets here.
Directed by William Grefé, Impulse stars William Shatner as Matt Stone, a deranged gigolo who preys on rich women and is unable to control his murderous psychosexual urges. Director Grefé made a number of other entries in the genre, such as Death Curse Of The Tartu and Sting Of Death.
Impulse, with its exciting camera work, local flavor, and terrific performances, especially from Shatner as the sociopathic main character, just might be the pinnacle of Grefé’s career. It has all of the punchy, violent power of the best films by Samuel Fuller and Robert Aldrich, and Grefé shares with those artists an understanding of a specific kind of sickness in the underbelly of America that is taking its toll on mainstream society.”
Jim Healy, Wisconsin Film Festival
“A grim, unrelenting study of a psychopathic killer. Shatner is surprisingly strong in an enormously demanding role.”
Box Office Magazine
“Well-crafted and effective… flowing with Grefe’s scalpel-sharp direction.”
Alex Ben Block, The Miami News
“Shatner is incredible and frightening during his lapses into insanity. There are a number of vividly horrifying murder scenes which make even adults cringe.”
Perry Fulkerson, The Evening Independent
“William Shatner is very effective in it. It’s a performance right up there with his work in The Intruder.”
Joe Leydon, Variety
Impulse screens Tuesday, April 18th at AMC Hilldale Cinema 5. You can get your tickets here.
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