First, from the fevered mind of the notorious Jess Franco (BARBED WIRE DOLLS) comes 1987’s ANGEL OF DEATH (aka COMMANDO MENGELE), a deranged free-fall into “Nazisploitaion” that takes its cues from the blockbuster 1978 shocker THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL and delivers the sort of delirium that fans of French genre film studio Eurocine hunger for!
When an attractive pair of young Nazi hunters exploring Uruguay accidentally stumble upon the lair of the maniacal war criminal Dr. Josef Mengele, they immediately live to regret it. There, deep in the sweltering jungles, Mengele has continued his hideous human experiments, torturing, murdering and mutilating nubile virgins in the name of creating some sort of master race. Soon, mercenaries, monstrosities, femme fatales and vengeful concentration camp survivors face off, with bullets and bodies flying everywhere and Mengele holding cretinous court.
Written by (under the name D. Khunn) and co-directed by Franco and completed by Italian trash movie maverick Andrea Bianchi (BURIAL GROUND: NIGHTS OF TERROR), the pair signed off on the film as “Frank Drew White”, apparently too nervous to take credit for making this truly daft piece of unsavory exploitation. ANGEL OF DEATH is a fast-paced slice of vintage Eurocine mayhem, with an international cast that includes Franco regulars Jack Taylor, Antonio Mayans and Howard Vernon (as Mengele) along with Robert Mitchum’s son Christopher and Shirley Knight from Franco’s equally insane WHITE CANNIBAL QUEEN.
Next, check out Italian exploitation icon Joe D’Amato’s outrageous and rarely seen 1978 “mondo” movie meltdown CRAZY NIGHTS (aka Follie di notte), one the strangest snapshots of the disco era you’ll ever see. The legendary and controversial performer Amanda Lear appears here as herself, singing her signature dance floor hit “Follow Me” while D’Amato’s camera uses her as an entry point into the glamorous, eccentric, often depraved annals of Rome’s after hours nightclub scene. But that’s only scratching the surface. CRAZY NIGHTS then meanders – in true “mondo” fashion – all over the world, filling the screen with strippers, sex and ritualistic absurdity, all set to the beat of Lear’s sultry cabaret pop sound.
Lear – who famously dated David Bowie, was the cover girl for many Roxy Music records and long served as Salvador Dali’s lover and muse – was at the peak of her popularity when she signed on to film CRAZY NIGHTS. Originally pitched as a musical centered around her fame called FOLLOW ME, Lear believed the movie to be incomplete until – to her shock – it turned up in Italian theaters under the name Follie di notte. Horrified to discover that she had been tricked into starring in a full-blown exploitation film, Lear sued the producers, one of many reasons CRAZY NIGHTS has lapsed into virtual obscurity.