Spasmo (1974) is a rather atypical giallo by Umberto Lenzi. This is more of a psychological thriller, has little blood, not much nudity (breast exposure from Monica Monet) in one short scene, and a story line that manages to be confusing despite being linear. Robert Hoffmann is walking on the beach with a date, when he comes upon a woman who is unconscious. He ends up involved with her, and, at her hotel, someone breaks in. Hoffmann manages to take his gun, and shoots him, but, when he goes back to check, there is no body. For the rest of the film, everyone around him is clearly trying to convince him he is insane, which he probably is.

Lenzi, in an interview on the DVD, says he was intrigued by hereditary madness, and the fact that all of us have some hidden madness inside, which can be unleashed by some strange occurrence. IMDB readers have this at 3.5 of 10. I agree with this score. It is a nearly surreal film with no pace, and doesn't succeed in providign an thrills. THe transfer is very good, but the dubbing was awful, and the score by Ennio Morriconi was overbearing. D.

  • Thumbnails
  • Thumbnails

  • Monica Monet (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)


    Killing Me Softly (2002)


    Starring Joseph Fiennes, Killing Me Softly might be called Shakespeare in Lust, an erotic thriller which adds yet another turkey to the steadily disintegrating resume of Fiennes the Younger. Sonnet-boy is not without looks and talent, but she sure hasn't found much application for it. With his permanent 5 o'clock shadow now featured in all his screen appearances, he looks like he's ready to play Sonny Crockett in Bahamas Vice.

    I can't name a movie that has been received worse than this in the past five years. Not even Swept Away or Glitter. Killing Me Softly bombed so badly in England (BEST review 3/10, according to The Guardian's synopsis) that its North American theatrical release was delayed three times, then finally cancelled altogether. You know that if MGM spends $25 million on a movie that they aren't going to throw it away without some serious consideration. I suppose their decision was right, in that the marketing costs in the United States would have been less than the studio's share of the gross, so they would have lost even more money by releasing it, and would have had this film occupying a slot in their schedule that could have been filled with something more profitable.

    It's not as bad as the critics complained, but it isn't a good movie, that's for sure. It does have all kinds of problems.

    Let's start with the basics. Heather plays an American who is living in London, working as a web site designer. What's wrong with this picture? First of all, it is very difficult for employers to get permission to employ a foreigner unless they can demonstrate that the job can't be filled with a native. In my past positions, I had trouble getting some of our people work permits in England, and they were in positions which clearly had no trained equivalent in England. Even when we got the work permits approved, they were conditional. Perhaps they'd be issued for six months or a year, during which time we had to train someone from the UK to do the job and get rid of the Yank. How could an employer demonstrate that they had to fill the web design position with an American? Can we assume there are no web site designers in England as capable as Heather Graham?

    But that's only the first question. The second question is even more important. If we assume that it was necessary to hire an American for the position, why in the hell would the company have to move her to England? It's the friggin' internet, for heaven's sake. It's global. She could have done the job from her home in Iowa, thus saving the British company tens of thousands of dollars in moving expenses. Scoopy Jr. designed the front page for while he was living 1000 miles away from my office. Tuna is 1000 miles away. Many of our site contributors live in Europe and Australia.

    These problems all exist before the film even begins, as if there were no thought given to the premise at all. I guess that the character was originally British, but they wanted to hire an American actress who was not capable of a British accent, so they changed her nationality without giving the first thought to the fact that it made no sense. It would not have been a complicated thing to fix. It would have been a simple matter to give her a different profession, one that an English firm might need a resident American for, since her occupation was not a factor in the plot.

    If it had been my call, I would have changed Heather Graham's role in more ways than just altering her unlikely profession. Heather seems like a sweet, sensitive person on camera. She is basically always Rollergirl - an awed, wide-eyed, late adolescent dripping with naiveté. Unfortunately, this script called for a more sophisticated approach. If it had been my decision, I would have re-written the part to make her a young, innocent American Midwestern kindergarten teacher on holiday in the UK. Since her profession wasn't germane to the plot, and the irrelevant scenes at work actually slowed the movie down, a different background could have given Heather a more credible presence in the role. Since she would have had no job in the UK, it would have made her completely dependent on her husband, which could have increased her paranoia level substantially, since she'd have nothing else to occupy her mind.

    The film is about a young woman who gives up everything else in her life for lust. Alice (Heather Rollerball Graham) has a good job and a stable loving relationship with her boyfriend. Yet everything changes the day she meets a stranger crossing the street. On an impulse, Alice destroys her safe life to have an obsessed affair with a glamorous, brooding, mountaineer named Adam (Joseph Shakespeare Fiennes). She plunges into a realm of sexual pleasure in an insulated world that revolves around only her body and Adam's. They are so obsessed with each other that the mountaineer proposes marriage and she accepts, although she knows nothing at all about him except that he's a good lay. Then things start to go wrong. Alice gets a series of mysterious messages which suggest that Adam may have killed a couple of his previous girlfriends. As she pries his past life open layer by layer, Alice starts to suspect that her impulsive decision to be with Adam may have threatened her sanity and even her life.

    I haven't read the source novel, but I think they must have had some problems adapting it into a screenplay. In the film, we know nothing about either Adam or Alice, or any other character for that matter. As we watch, it seems that Alice agrees to marry a total stranger, but it doesn't matter that much to us, because she seems like a stranger as well. In the course of her mental deterioration, she never really confronts Adam with any of her suspicions, fearing that he will get upset. After she goes through an elaborate scheme to get his old love letters from a locked closet, and then gets caught, he asks, "why didn't you just ask me?". I was kind of wondering the same thing. The way it plays out in the movie, the lovers really had no connection other than sex. It seems to me that the book must have spent a great deal time on that development, or at least on Alice's awareness that she was married to a stranger, but we never got the benefit of any of that exposition.

    Without character development, what is left is basically a melodramatic, humorless erotic thriller, with a contrived over-the-top surprise ending, much like the dozens of similar films that seem to go straight to video every year. What sets this one apart from the mass of similar films? The following:

    1. The stars are genuine stars, not softcore sex specialists. It's Shakespeare and Rollergirl, for heaven's sake, and they're getting it on very enthusiastically. Heather Graham probably doesn't need to clear out her trophy case to make room for any Oscars, but she is one ultra babe, with beautiful legs, a gorgeous kewpie doll face, and a voluminous sweater full of natural flesh. The sex is shown fairly explicitly, in pretty hot scenes with two beautiful and famous people.
    2. The film has $25 million worth of production values.
    3. Although the critics didn't seem to think so, there were some moments when the suspense was managed well.


    • Thumbnails (1, 2)
    • Heather Graham (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14)
    • Some other chick
    • Comparison of widescreen and full screen versions (The full screen is a pan 'n scan, but it was panned and scanned from the full frame on the negative, not from the theatrical print. The full screen version has far more information North and South, the widescreen has more East and West. Therefore, in order to see everything, you need to watch both versions.)




    • Charlie's French Cinema Nudity Site is updated


    Other crap:

    • If you are a baseball fan and aren't already aware of it, you should bookmark Mudville Magazine
    • Rerun of Friends draws better ratings than live war coverage
    • Popeye takes on the imperial Japanese navy in this anachronistic wartime cartoon which is filled with jingoism and racism by today's standards.
    • The Smoking Gun catches the president looking silly in a raw camera feed.
    • A married duo got popped Monday by Florida cops after allegedly swiping a live lobster, valued at $8.99, from a Red Lobster in Naples. According to this Collier County Sheriff's report (a handwritten read, but worth the time), Granger, 32, grabbed the lobster, hid it under his shirt, and made a run for it.
    • SI picks The 100 Best Sports books
      • Anyone who has actually read these books knows that the ultimate football book, Dan Jenkins's hilarious, salacious, Semi-Tough should be #1. Of course. Goes without sayin'. In the list of the greatest writers of all time, Dan Jenkins is #3 behind Shakespeare and the author of The Song of Solomon, but ahead of Tolstoy, Dante, and Cervantes. And he's #3 with a bullet. Seriously, his subsequent books don't measure up to Semi-Tough, and Shakespeare had quite a few others to back up Hamlet, so I guess we have to leave ol' Billy Boy on the top of the list.
      • The book I would place at #2 is not even on the list - The Great American Baseball Card Flipping Trading and Bubble Gum Book - which is must-reading for baby boomers, uses baseball cards as a shell to discuss life in the 50s, is almost as funny as Jenkins's book, and which I have read at least twenty times, more than Semi-Tough itself.
      • Kinsella's Shoeless Joe (the source of Field of Dreams) is such a good book that people always call or write me after they finish it, to thank me for recommending it. I even recommend it to women. It is #47, and probably should be #3 or #4 (hard to choose between this and The Boys of Summer)
      • Pete Palmer's The Hidden Game of Baseball, Total Baseball (by Palmer and others), and Bill James's Historical Baseball Abstract, are three of the most important books ever written about any sport (or anything else, for that matter. George Will called James's Baseball Abstract the most important scientific work since Newton's In Principia). These three books revolutionized our understanding of the game, influence managers and general managers, and all should be in the top 50, although they are not on the list at all.
      • Fuck sports. Fred Exley's A Fan's Notes is one of the ten best books of any kind written in the last half of the 20th Century, so how could it be so low on the sports-only list? Many men who read it feel that it is their life story. In my case, it almost is. Like Exley, I came from upstate New York and had a dad who was a local sports legend and a gregarious, uncomplicated, well-loved laid-back guy. Like Exley, I loved to play and was one of those guys who barely made the team, had a few moments, but would never be a star. Like Exley, I was an outsider kind of guy who would never be at ease with people and surrounded with buddies the way my dad was. Exley's book is about coming to grips with the fact that you ain't gonna hear the cheers, that you're destined to do the cheering. It's also about a lot more: loose women, drinkin', literature, aging, self-awareness, and ... Frank Gifford (It is mostly forgotten now because his career was cut short by injury and his post-athletic career has eclipsed his activities on the field, but Gif was perhaps the greatest natural white athlete of Exley's generation).
      • Bang the Drum Slowly and The Natural always make these lists, and are overrated. I doubt if the guys who made the list have actually read them. If they did, they'd be disappointed. Both are better in theory than in execution. Malamud's book is not even written especially well, although I have read most of Malamud's "serious" books, and admire his writing.
      • Instant Replay, Jerry Kramer's Green Bay Diary, should probably be on the list.
      • The Catcher is a Spy, the biography of the brilliant, eccentric catcher Moe Berg, is about much more than sports, but still should be on the list. Berg was a genius who read a zillion languages and appeared on know-it-all radio game shows. Berg was also a spy. People in the 30's were always a bit surprised when a .210 hitting back-up catcher was chosen to tour Japan with Babe and Gehrig and Double X. Let's just say he wasn't sent to Japan for his baseball skills. In his later years, his legend grew far beyond what his actual spying contributed, but he remained supremely odd and interesting.

    What're the odds?


    MLB Regular Season Special: Will Any Batter hit 74 or more Home Runs

    Bet that any hitter will slam score 74 or more home runs in the 2003 MLB regular season. Pre and postseason games do not count.
    Closing Date: Apr 01, 2003 12:00

    Bet Selections Win Odds
    YES 14/1


    Here are the latest movie reviews available at

    • The yellow asterisks indicate that I wrote the review, and am deluded into thinking it includes humor.
    • If there is a white asterisk, it means that there isn't any significant humor, but I inexplicably determined there might be something else of interest.
    • A blue asterisk indicates the review is written by Tuna (or Lawdog or Junior or C2000 or Realist or ICMS or Mick Locke, or somebody else besides me)
    • If there is no asterisk, I wrote it, but am too ashamed to admit it.

    'Caps and comments by Hankster:

    Today we go to 1991 and a look at "Do or Die", which is an Andy Sidaris written and produced flick which translates to, you will see lots of skin.

    First up scenes of Stephanie Schick aka Pandora Peaks and those are truly huge peaks.

    • Stephanie Schick aka Pandora Peaks (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

    Next up is Dona Speir seen making it in the water with Erik Estrada.

    • Dona Speir (1, 2, 3)

    Then on to the other co-star Roberta Vasquez as she gets a little outdoor loving.

    • Roberta Vasquez (1, 2)

    Bérénice Bejo Brief breast exposure from "Histoire d'hommes" (1996).

    Catherine Vinatier Dark, but topless in the tub scenes from "Peau neuve" (1999).

    Élisabeth Bourgine
    (1, 2)

    Breasts, bum and bush in scenes from "Cours privé" (1986).

    Emmanuelle Seigner
    (1, 2)

    Topless, also in scenes from "Cours privé".

    Lara Guirao
    (1, 2, 3)

    Topless and full frontal nudity in scenes from the French movie "L.627" (1992).

    Marianne Anska
    (1, 2, 3)

    Full frontal vidcaps from "Le Bimillionnaire".

    Marie Gillain
    (1, 2, 3)

    Topless in "L'Appât" (1995).

    Romane Bohringer
    (1, 2, 3)

    The very busty French actress topless in scenes from "Total Eclipse" (1995).

    Alaina Kalanj The Canadian actress topless in scenes from "Pendulum" (2001).

    Scarlett McAlister Also in scenes from "Pendulum", but undies only, no nudity.

    Catherine McCormack Very nice breast exposure in "Shadow of the Vampire".

    Lexa Doig
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

    Non-nude scans of the "Andromeda" babe from the latest Yolk Magazine, by Brainscan.

    Beverly Lynne
    (1, 2, 3)

    The former Philadelphia Eagles cheerleader turned Skinemax babe topless, showing her lack of pubes and gettin' it on in scenes from the "Lust Takes a Holiday" episode of the late night series "Hotel Erotica".

    Pat Reeder
    Pat's comments in yellow...

    McDonald's Bought Him A Liposuction Machine - Tuesday, Don Gorske of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, ate his 19,000th Big Mac. He eats two a day, compulsively keeping track in a notebook, and drinks mostly Coke. He's already in the Guinness Book of Records, but he said he just wouldn't know what to eat if it weren't for Big Macs; and he recently had a slice of pizza, but it "just wasn't the same." Gorske is 6 feet tall and 180 pounds, and he's letting McDonald's use him in lawsuits as proof that eating Big Macs doesn't have to make you fat.

  • McDonald's loves using him as an expert witness...He works for food.
  • He also holds the records for "Greenest Teeth" and "Most Zits."