As discussed earlier in Cannon Fodder Part 1, I grew up a fan of Charles Bronson and I was of an age when he launched into a lengthy contract with Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus so quite naturally anytime I saw the Cannon logo it caught my attention. Even if the majority of their output was exploitation fare. For a look back at part and the trio of titles selected for my initial Cannon feature, click here to have a look.
On to the featured trio in Part 2.
Cute as a button Barbi Benton takes center stage for this Golan/Globus outing that sees the Playboy model experiencing a real live nightmare when visiting the hospital to get some test results to secure some job insurance. With a masked killer running amok and leaving bloodied bodies strewn about this one owes it’s inspiration to Michael Myers and Halloween 2. Considering Miss Barbi is taking over duties for Jamie Lee and ? is subbing in for Myers, all we needed was a Donald Pleasence.
I would think that once this hospital to stay is over for Miss Benton should she survive is going to lead to multiple malpractice suits with the amount of red herrings and unnecessary physical examinations she’s put thru. For the benefit of the male going audiences who may recall her nude layouts under Hugh’s tutelage she once again flaunts her birthday suit. On the Scream Factory blu ray there’s a fun interview with director Boaz Davidson where he recalls the many night shoots and how it’s hard to track all the movie crew’s whereabouts. Apparently not on the night of Barbi’s nude examination scene for a not so key plot point but a hell of a way to ensure some ticket buyers at the box office. It was standing room only on that particular night.
Like that masked guy from the Halloween franchise, this killer in a surgical mask is doing his best to eliminate every actor on the call sheet for the entire shoot but somehow keeps missing the mark, Miss Benton. Worse than that, of those still remaining in the hospital no one believes her when she reports of the killings and heads she’s had delivered to her as a gift. They just think she’s cracking up under the strain of what may be a fatal illness and headed to headed to a loony bin.
Mostly a rehash of pretty much any slasher film from the genre’s “glory” years there are a couple of really effective scares and one beautifully shot clip of our killer coming down a hall with a white sheet all about him as he closes in on his next unfortunate victim. Also known as Hospital Massacre, X-Ray is available on blu ray as part of a double feature from Scream Factory if you’re a fan of horrors or Miss Benton is your kind of gal.
The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood (1980)
Looking for a positive from the get go, would you believe that the 3.2/10 rating this title scores on the IMDB actually rates higher then two earlier films in the series at 2.9 and 2.7 respectively? Taking up the role of Xaviera Hollander after first being enacted by Lynn Redgrave and Joey Hetherton is former Bond/Hammer girl, Martine Beswick.
Under the banner of Cannon, this final film in the trilogy is a lame attempt at injecting an Animal House comical slant into the wonderful world of prostitution. At least that’s what this script would have us believe. And if your looking to see a movie that stars Adam West in something, anything, besides Batman, here’s where you’ll find him. The story is apparently that of our Happy Hooker’s rise to prominence in the literary world and the subsequent attempts by a shady movie producer to buy the rights to her story only to cheat her out of the profits. Who better to star as an old skin flint counting his money like Scrooge McDuck? How about Phil Silvers.
Silvers along with his offspring West and Leave It To Beaver’s Richard Deacon are out to score a box office hit and inherit the studio by staying in favor with Silvers miserly ways. No sooner does Miss Beswick arrive in town to meet the movie mogul and she’s bedding not only her chauffeur but Batman himself. West has that Bruce Wayne thing going for him here and brings that swagger to the disco dance floor for those appreciating his slick moves. When Beswick catches on to the scam, she decides to move into producing, writing and starring in her own movie as if she were Woody Allen.
This is where I suppose women’s right’s groups would go sideways on this one if we take the proceedings too seriously. Playing like a porn movie of the era with a barely larger budget, Beswick calls in her troop of hookers to raise the money needed for the production. One sex scene after another ensues with more than an abundance of bouncing breasts and every girl totally committed to loving their chosen career.
Can Martine outwit the combination of Silvers, West and Deacon with the help of Chris Lemmon to bring the film in on time and secure a five million dollar bonus and bust the Silver’s operation? What do you think? Ever heard the expression “sex sells.” It may well do just that but I have my doubts that this one turned much of a profit. Campy I suppose and I’ll admit I did smile a couple times and to see Adam West in drag decking a cop just might have been worth my 90 minutes of viewing time.
Martine Beswick? Wonderful lady and full of fun stories. Glad I got to meet her a couple years back.
Ten Little Indians (1989)
It only seems natural that Golan and Globus should find themselves working with exploitation master Harry Alan Towers who was behind this low brow take on the Agatha Christie story. Would you believe this is Harry’s third go around filming this one? He had already brought the story to movie screens in 1965 with Hugh O’Brian and 1974. The latter version with Oliver Reed, Richard Attenborough and Herbert Lom. Lom, a frequent employee of Towers actually gets carried over for this latest version as well though in a different role. Perhaps a different victim might be better suited.
The time out for Cannon, the locale has been moved from a hotel setting to an African safari. Along for the nursery rhyme about ten little Indians is one of my favorite scene stealers, Donald Pleasence. Joining him and Lom are lovely Brenda Vaccaro, the giant sized Paul Smith and STALLONE! Make that Frank Stallone. And five other actors. One of which is the very familiar face of Warren Berlinger who you’ll recognize from countless TV shows.
Not familiar with the tale? Ten people. Isolated. One by one they start dying and not of natural causes. Which one of our ten players is committing the crimes? Tensions rise and trust fades as each remaining survivor looks at those around him with suspecting eyes. Watch out for that twist ending. Did you see it coming?
There isn’t much to recommend here other than those who like me, do their best to see most any film that stars Lom or Pleasence. No harm in that even if a film is far from their best. Which is what this Cannon product is in the end. With an endless stream of movies under the Cannon label, this is one of the many that seemed to just turn up at the local video store bypassing movie houses worldwide.
If I may, why not seek out the classic version from 1945, And There Were None. Tremendous film.
Till the next trio of titles from the crazy duo who loved movies and ran the ill fated Cannon Films. Care to know more about the studio and the story of Yoram and Menahem? Look for the documentary put together called Electric Boogaloo. Weird title I know but a highly enjoyable viewing.