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MAY 8 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : YOR THE HUNTER FROM THE FUTURE
From somethingawful.com

Overview: Yor, a smug, strapping caveman-type, romps through a seemingly endless series of cheap mishaps and poorly-lit sets, eventually ending up in an ill-advised Star Wars knockoff. Along the way, Yor destroys several cultures, fights several dinosaurs, fulfills several prophecies and drowns a few hundred women and children.

Directed By: Antonio Margheriti (Credited as Anthony M. Dawson- yeah, right) 1983

The Case For: Classic theme song; Reb Brown's easygoing machismo.

The Case Against: Explaining why you shouldn't watch this movie would be an insult to your intelligence. It's cheap, ridiculous, unfathomably boring, tacky and ill-conceived.

I don't know how to introduce Yor: The Hunter from the Future any better than the film itself introduces him. Against a grey backdrop of stony, mountainous Italo-Turkish scrubland, Yor emerges. Loinclothed, axe in hand, he runs down a rocky hillside toward the camera. The opening strains of the classic theme song, performed by Oliver Onions (best known for their hit "Come With Me for Fun in My Buggy"). The song informs us in no uncertain terms that this is Yor's world, and that he's the man. Actual lyrics:

Yor's world, he's the man!
Yor's world, he's the man!
Yor's world!

Lost in the world of past
with the echo of ancient blast
There is a man from future, a man of mystery
Yor's world!

Our first impression of Yor is a fittingly clumsy one, since he's careening down a hill, looking barely in control. Filmmaking hint: it's a terrible idea to establish a character by making him run down a steep hill. The human body isn't built for it, and our ill-suited legs can only compensate with flailing, galloping baby steps.

But, I gotta say, Reb Brown's body looks like it's built for all sorts of things, like tipping stuff over and jumping up and slapping stop signs. As he reaches the bottom of the hill, he looks around him, surveying his world, quickly realizing it's really freakin' bodacious. His vacuous smile betrays the kind of mysterious smugness that an autistic child might feel after telling a snail a secret, or yelling into a dog's butthole. For the duration of the theme song, Yor continues to careen through the wasteland, stopping only to look both ways and smile dimly, as if he's worried that he'll be hit by a train made of puppy giggles.

When the credits are done rolling, we witness the classic scene of idyllic caveman life: the cave-elder says some vague bullshit about how the gods have blessed them with this wonderful fertile valley, and then he tells his people to "pay homage to the gods by raising [their] children to the heavens." And everyone lifts up their bored, confused kids up by the armpits and kind of holds them there until they decide it's been long enough. Then everyone goes off to The Hunt".

It's during The Hunt" that we meet two of our supporting heroes, a curly-topped cave-babe named Kala, and a grizzled dude named Pak, played by Grandpa Seth from Troll II. If you've ever wanted to see the old dude from Troll II in a fur toga, your ship has finally come in, although it probably comes in all the time because you've got pretty goddamn low standards in ships. Anyway, brillo-top and Grandpa Seth stalk a pig dressed as an armadillo for a while, and are then attacked by a savage, bloodthirsty herbivore. Yor hops down from his beloved hills and clubs the shit out of it, then screams with a mighty reverberation: "YEAAAAEEEEEY!"

Victorious caveman dance party ensues. Girls dance wearing clothes made of sticks, and people drink from bowls made from hollowed out Generic Primitive Bowl Material. Yor and Kala have a lil' moment.

The game of face-footsie is interrupted by some evil cavemen, whose dour faces reveal a hatred of all romance and festivity. They bumrush the shindig, burn everything down, carry off the women, and leave our heroes pretty bummed out. Pak commands Kala to travel with Yor for safety, and then returns to the village to speak with a groaning, dying elder, who tells him everything we already know: he must travel with Yor, because his fate lies with him, etc. The first mention of the word "fate" in a cave-barbarian movie is a magical time in a young cave-barbarian movie's life.

After some boring journeying, a couple of pep-talks about fate and a skirmish or two with the evil cavedudes,Yor is beaten up and Kala is captured and taken to a yucky cave to serve as a squealing sexgirl for the badcavers. The evil guys have an entire cave full of purloined cooch, and Kala is their new prize hog. Aha! So this is where they took all the stolen women and children! Clearly, Yor must intervene.

Two of the ne'er-do-bathes get in a grunting fistfight over Kala, and the winner celebrates by slapping the hell out of his woman-prize, seemingly for no reason other than pure jerkness. Just as Kala gets her teeth rearranged, Yor shoots down a giant cardboard cave-bat, grabs it by the haunches, and uses it as a hang glider to float down into the bad-dude cave. The moment is such an awesome display of Yor's manliness that the score is interrupted, dissonantly and incongruously, by the strains of the theme song: "Yor's world, he's the man!" And, at this moment, he is the man.

Yor beats the shit out of some cave baddies, Grandpa Seth shoots a few with arrows, Yor steals Kala and hoofs it outta the cave as quickly as his bronzed beef logs will carry him. Miraculously, he discovers an underground lake in the cave, and with his amazing Super Yor Strength, he pops open the dike that holds it up, sending a crashing flood into the bad dude lair. All the jerks drown, and their underground asshole city is ruined. Booya!

Now wait just a goddamn minute. Let's take a step back and look at this from a more prudent perspective.

What the heck happened to the enslaved women and children in the cave?

Yor never rescued them. Yor drowned every single woman and child that had been kidnapped from the good guy village in the beginning. Yor saved Kala and left everyone else to die. Yor, Kala and Grandpa Seth were the only survivors. Yor is basically a mass-murderer.

But hey, let's just forget about all that. We're only half an hour into the movie, so let's just put Yor's murderous negligence behind us and move on to the next cheap set piece, or we're going to be here all night debating whether or not Yor killed all those women and children accidentally or whether he drowned them for cheap kicks and sexual gratification.

The merry band, still high from the slaughter of innocents, wanders into a Tattooine-style dust area. Grandpa Seth explains that the area contains deep crevices in the earth, containing all kinds of heat and steam and stuff; Kala warns Yor not to go there, because she had a prophetic dream that showed him helpless, surrounded by fire. Yor goes anyway, the big goof.

Yor is attacked by off-brand Sand People with giant flaming cocktail forks. Straight away, Yor is helpless, surrounded by fire. This teaches us an important lesson about the dangers of ignoring prophetic dreams. One time I had a dream that my cat Scuppers and I were trying to name a hockey team, and I thought nothing of it. Scuppers is long since dead, and for all I know that hockey team is still out there somewhere, crying themselves to sleep every night because Scuppers and I never named them and they're still called something stupid like The Ontario Pennywhistles.

I just missed a bunch of shit in the movie because I was thinking about Scuppers. Anyway, Yor gets kidnapped by the phony Sand People and led to their beautiful queen, whose radiant babeness inspires Reb Brown to produce a truly toddleresque facial expression. She explains to Yor that his amulet (did I mention that he had an amulet? No?) is some kind of& special thing. She's got one too (did I mention that she has an amulet too? Yes?). She explains their meaning thusly:

"They say 'I came here together with those men. There [indicates men caught in ice next to her]. Caught in the ice. Why I am alive and they are dead, I don't know. And why the ice has formed in this parched desert is a mystery without an answer, but the little water that comes from it is vital to these people and they worship me as a divine goddess.'"

Wow, great explanation, lady. That really puts the whole fate thing into sharp focus. Good thing they were standing right by that ice when they translated those things, or they wouldn't have made a lick of sense, would they? Anyway, through some more fate bullshit, Yor decides that he and this lady represent the last of some kind of special race, so they hightail it out of yet another cave, collapse yet another cave, and destroy yet another population of people. To be fair, these people were jerks.

They meet up with Grandpa Seth and Kala, who is obviously jealous of the new lady. She offers the new lady a big fuckin' ball of moss because she hates her.

Yor gets his mack on with the new lady, because Yor has a soft spot when it comes to the ladies. It's on his skull; it never grew together properly when he was a baby, and now he has to wear the world's fluffiest Prince Valiant haircut to cover it up. Kala is pissed. She complains to Grandpa Seth about it, but he says "why can't Yor have two?" Grandpa Seth is a mack too.

Kala gets in a fight with the new lady, and they roll around a little bit, which might be kind of erotic if you're a sixth grader with a misogynist streak (or if you're like most Something Awful readers, and just have the mind of a sixth grader with a misogynist streak). The fight is broken up by yet another fight, which is slightly less erotic and significantly more boring. The bad cave dudes from the beginning are back, and they get in a little rumble with our heroes. Yor kicks their asses, but not before they mortally wound the new lady. Before she dies, she lays some jive on Yor about how their race comes from a castle on an island in the middle of "a big sea." Helpful! New lady gives her amulet to Kala, then croaks.

Our band of merry dimwits, after an arduous two-minute journey, finally reaches the beach. That dumb bitch Kala tries to drink saltwater, and everyone laughs at her. They celebrate their apathy over the death of what's-her-face with a nice little fish-fry on the beach, which is interrupted by a giant rubber lizard. Everyone runs around screaming for way, way too long, and the rubber lizard scene ends only when I finally decide to hit the fast forward button.

When I resume my plight, our heroes are chilling on the beach with a group of kids, including one kid who's kind of hot, and who Yor obviously digs. If Yor was the kind of guy who perved on teenagers, he would definitely perv on this one. You can see the side of her boob a little bit, and don't you dare think for a minute that Yor doesn't notice. He comes up with a flimsy excuse about how he already has a woman (Kala), but we know that the only reason he's not putting his big orange muscles all over her is because her dad is right there. Dad shows Yor a little talking box (a communicator) left by "the gods" (spacemen, duh).

Then the village blows up.

Distraught at the death of her father and the blown-upness of her village, Hot Teenager offers Yor her dad's flimsy wicker boat and tells him that he must seek an island in the middle of the sea, which is always surrounded by violent storms. Yor, being a big, stupid, dumb, dumb guy, decides that he'll take the wicker boat out into the violent storms.

Right now, you're probably thinking, "hey, I bet the last half hour of this movie takes place in some kind of futuristic Star Wars space city with robots and an evil guy." You're an idiot, but you're also absolutely right. It is now time to begin Act Four, wherein Yor: The Hunter from the Future stops being the movie it was before and turns into an entirely different movie.

The violent storms capsize Yor's wicker boat (ah-duuuuuhhhh), and he washes up on the mysterious island we keep hearing so much about. But what's this? Somebody is watching him through a crystal ball! Yor stands motionless on the beach, looking in bewilderment at a big rock, plotting his next move with all the horsepower his sputtering brain can muster. His dumbshit reverie is interrupted by a bunch of robots who look like a cross between Darth Vader and a cabbage. He knocks one robot's head off with a rock, but the rest surround him and incapacitate him with a Casiotone laser.

Meanwhile, The Overlord, villain of this new plot (which is conspicuously made out of leftover props from an unrelated science fiction movie) is keeping his creepy crystal-ball gaze fixed on Kala and Grandpa Seth, who have just waded from the wicker wreckage. "I want them both captured and brought here," he says, in his best hammy space-villain seize them! voice, "alive!"

So, Yor is brought in alive, and stuck on a menacing lab table, James Bond style. Some lady, who we're to presume is good because she has a white outfit, explains to him that he's a native of this strange sci-fi subplot island, and that his special amulet tells them all they need to know about him. His name is Galahad, and he's the son of some rebel hotshot whose ship was shot down years ago while he was flying Star Wars ripoff runs over Beggar's Canyon in his T-16. Yor cares; we don't. This movie is fucking long.

The Overlord minces and chews some scenery. He's pissed because he can't find Kala and Grandpa Seth; he allows Yor to be released from his James Bond table, hoping he'll lead the baddies to his buddies.

Meanwhile, the buddies have been found by some guys in white outfits (meaning they're good), who explain that their once-great civilization was destroyed by an atomic blast, and now the Overlord is leading what remains of their proud people toward more and further destruction. At this point, I am seriously pissed off at this movie for trying to cram an entire second plot into the last half hour of this movie, because this is the densest exposition I've ever seen in my life. It's like eating an entire dry brick of shredded wheat, but cheaper.

The density lets up for a solid five minutes, and is replaced by the most fearsome tedium in the history of motion pictures. Yor sneaks around. His buddies sneak around. The overlord swishes around. Eventually, they all meet up in the same room in which they started, and The Overlord reveals his Fiendish Plan".

Somehow, I can't find it in my conscience to dignify this plot with a synopsis. The next fifteen climactic minutes can be told entirely with only a few lines of dialogue; just pretend that these are liberally interspersed with the most grating, high-pitched laser sound effects in the history of cinema:

"Those fools think they can beat me, The Overlord?"

"No! Yor! It's too dangerous!"

"Somebody kill him!"

"BOOM!"

And so, the story of Yor draws to a close; Yor hops in a spaceship with his homeboys and splits the scene, blowing up the entire sci-fi island behind him, killing everyone. Can't Yor go anywhere without the blowing up the place he just left? That makes four separate cultures that have been blown up due to Yor's interference. The film leaves us with a message of hope:

"Yor returns to the primitive tribes on the mainland; he is determined to use his superior knowledge to prevent them making the same mistakes as their forefathers& will he succeed?"

No, he'll blow it up and kill everyone, the big silly doof.


MAY 8 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : THE PROWLER (1981)

This is one of the better stalk-and-slash flicks of the early 80's due to the taught direction of Joseph Zito (fresh off from making BLOODRAGE - 1980) and the splatter effects of Tom Savini (fresh off supplying effects to FRIDAY THE 13TH - 1980). After receiving a "Dear John" letter from his girlfriend Rosemary at the end of World War II, the unseen soldier murders her and her new boyfriend by impaling them on a pitchfork at a graduation dance in the small town of Avalon Bay. Thirty five years later, the graduation dance is being reinstated. You can guess what is about to happen next. Since it has been twenty five years since the last murders, the list of suspects are few since most of the major characters are barely out of their teens. Could it be: A: The sheriff (Farley Granger) who decides to go on his annual fishing trip during the dance, or B: the wheelchair-bound veteran (Lawrence Tierney) who keeps a watchful eye on a house full of co-eds? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the sheriff is the killer, but that's not the point. The true point for watching this film are Zito's suspenseful setups and Savini's masterful effects. There's the infamous bayonet through the top of the head scene, various throat slashings and pitchfork impalements and, finally, the movie's best-known scene, where Farley Granger gets his head blown off with a shotgun. Blue Underground's uncut DVD is a revelation to anyone used to seeing this film on VHS. It's sharp and crystal clear, so clear in fact that it's easy to see that there's definitely a stand-in portraying Farley as the killer. Don't let that detract you from going out and purchasing this DVD. You'll probably never see a better looking copy of this film (also known as ROSEMARY'S KILLER) in any format in the near or far future. This little-known film deserves to be in any true horror fan's collection. While I'm on the subject on things little-known, let talk a little about director Joseph Zito. This guy has gotten such a short-shrift from critics for nearly every film he has directed. I find his style to be quite refreshing, especially his action sequences. On of my favorite action films is his INVASION U.S.A. (1985), which seems more relevant today than when it was made. It's probably the best film Chuck Norris has ever made (Zito also directed him in MISSING IN ACTION - 1984) and is action-packed from start to finish. It's just plain nasty. You have to love a film where terrorists attach a bomb to a traveling school bus filled with kids, an all-out crash and burn shoot-out in a mall full of Christmas shoppers and Chuck and Richard Lynch's knock-down, drag-out finale. They don't get much better than this, even if critics were unanimous in putting it down when originally released. Avoid watching this film on regular TV, as TBS and TNT (who I give props for showing it a couple of days after the terrorist attacks of 9/11) cut the shit out of it. Zito also directed the Dolph Lundgren-starrer RED SCORPION (1989), which contains some of the bloodiest R-rated action on film; FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER (1984), the best of the sequels; ABDUCTION (1975), a retelling of the Patty Hearst kidnapping (and Zito's first film, supposedly shot with hardcore porn scenes which were deleted before it was released); DELTA FORCE ONE: THE LOST PATROL (1999), an action film which I have not seen yet, and POWER PLAY (2002), and engaging environmental thriller about a power company causing earthquakes. Mr. Zito is a talent that has been mostly neglected and THE PROWLER is one of his films that should be re-evaluated by the so-called "critics". Also starring Vicky Dawson, Christopher Goutman, Cindy Weintraub and Thom Bray. Farley Granger and Lawrence Tierney are in the film for such a short time that their appearances can be considered cameos. A Blue Underground DVD Release. Not Rated. Note: As far as I know, this film has never been shown on TV in the US. That has to be some kind of record! { text from critcononline.com }

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