Time for some more of those cool, old Variety ads. This time I've been scanning stuff from 1984 and 1985, and as usual I've consentrated on the European stuff.
Starting off with 1984:
First off is some cool artwork for Manhunt a.k.a. Cane arrabiato, an Italian action movie directed by prolific movie producer Fabrizio De Angelis under his frequent 'Larry Ludman' pseudonym. This one was shot in Arizona and features a really impressive cast: John Ethan Wayne (the Duke's son), Bo Svenson, Henry Silva, Raimund Harmstorf and Ernest Borgnine.
Treasure of the Amazon is a trashy and violent but very enjoyable jungle adventure directed by reliable Mexican schlock director Rene Cardona Jr. So technically this is a Mexican film and not a European one but I say it's close enough - especially since it stars three Hollywood veterans who all worked extensively in Italian cinema: Stuart Whitman, Donald Pleasence and John Ireland. The interesting cast also includes everyone's favorite Mexican cult actor Hugo Stiglitz (of Nightmare City fame) and Ann Sidney (Miss World 1964).
Lola's Secret is a fairly obscure film that I haven't seen and I don't know much about it either. It's obviously some sort of erotic film, though, and this is more clearly alluded to in the original Italian title, Il peccato di Lola, which translates to 'Lola's sin'. The voluptuous Donatella Damiani, who plays Lola, specialized in these kinds of film, and director Bruno Gaburro (Erika Blanc's ex-husband) made several erotic period pieces with Paola Senatore around the same time.
Here's an ad where Spanish production company Acónito Films showcases their latest releases: Panic Beats a.k.a. Latidos de pánico, The Beast and the Magic Sword a.k.a. La bestia y la espada mágica, The Last Kamikaze a.k.a. El último kamikaze, The Child and the Vagabond a.k.a. Mi amigo el vagabundo and Operation Mantis a.k.a. Operación Mantis - all starring Spanish horror legend Paul Naschy. Naschy's co-star in most of these films is the ravishing Julia Saly, who also served as producer on all of them. If you look at the bottom of the ad, you'll see that Saly was also in charge of world sales for these films under her real name, Julia Salinero.
And now for something really interesting: an action movie named Crossfire that was written by Dardano Sacchetti (otherwise best known for writing many of Lucio Fulci's gory horror movies). Unfortunately, this project was never realized, even though three big stars had been cast: Christopher Connelly, Henry Silva and Bo Svenson. Romolo Guerrieri (who had just made the trashy but fun post-apocalypse flick The Final Executioner) was supposed to direct. I don't know why the project fell apart - especially not with a script that seemed to be ready and three pretty popular leading players.
What's really interesting, though, is that two years later, Filman International was still trying to get the Crossfire project off the ground, as we can see from this 1986 ad:
If you examine the above ad you'll see that Henry Silva was still attached to the project in 1986 but Connelly and Svenson had dropped out. A certain John Stephen (who!?) seems to have taken over the leading role. Also notice how director Romolo Guerrieri had by now been replaced with 'Joseph Warren', which is a pseudonym frequently used by director Giuseppe Vari, who had made such films as the fine WW2 flick A Place in Hell (1969) and the interesting giallo/crime hybrid Who Killed the Prosecutor and Why? (1972).
This ad also reveals a few other interesting things - for example that Giuseppe Vari was also supposed to direct the WW2 adventure Wartime, which ended up being made by Umberto Lenzi instead.
And the horror movie Aenigma, which was directed by Lucio Fulci, is credited to a certain 'Frank Shannon' here. Director Franco Prosperi had occasionally used 'Frank Shannon' as a pseudonym, so it's possible that Prosperi was originally set to direct this one but got replaced by Fulci. It's also interesting that the ad says the screenplay is by Raimondo Del Balzo and Luigi Cozzi. Their script must have undergone a lot of re-working, though, because in the finished film both the story and screenplay is credited to Fulci and Giorgio Mariuzzo.
And here we have yet another unrealized Italian action movie. This one is called Primary Objective but I haven't been able to find out much about it. The production, which was to be shot in Africa, was helmed by Ettore Spagnuolo and his production company Visione Cinematografica, which had just put out Fernando Di Leo's dismal action film The Violent Breed. I'm not sure who director 'Roy Gilbert' is, though. Mario Gariazzo often directed films under the name 'Roy Garrett' so it could perhaps be him...?
At the same time, Spagnuolo was also trying to put together a film named The Hidden Eye, which was to be directed by Enzo G. Castellari. This project didn't get made either and there's no ad for it but there's a small text telling us what it was to be "a yarn of semi-horror violence about a mother and daughter both in love with an insane man." Sounds interesting! Too bad it didn't get made.
Anyway, let's move on to the 1985 ads:
And we get even more Euro-action! Above is an ad for the German/Italian co-production Commando Leopard, one of many mercenary action flicks Antonio Margheriti made in the Philippines during the 1980s. Lewis Collins and Klaus Kinski leads the cast.
Demons doesn't really need any introduction, does it? One of Lamberto Bava's finest films, this fun and super-gory horror film is one of my personal favorites. It's a real gem of a film, and this famous poster art is very nice!
Tex and the Lord of the Deep is a movie version of the extremely popular western comic series Tex Willer that was created by Gian Luigi Bonelli in 1948. Giuliano Gemma plays Tex, while William Berger fills the role of his buddy Kit Carson under the direction of Duccio Tessari, who had already made a bunch of westerns in the 1960s. This is a colorful and cool-looking film but it isn't quite as enjoyable as it ought to have been.
The Trap a.k.a. La gabbia is a somewhat kinky erotic thriller that is seriously underrated. The amazing Laura Antonelli stars alongside Tony Musante, Florinda Bolkan and Blanca Marsillach. The screenplay was co-written by Lucio Fulci, who went on to re-use many of the same ideas in his own thriller The Devil's Honey (1986), which also stars Blanca Marsillach.
If you like cheap, laughable Euro-schlock, you can always depend on the guys at Eurocine to fill your needs. Panther Squad is a classic example of Eurocine rubbish and the ad is appropriately cheesy-looking. Really great cast, though: Sybil Danning, Jack Taylor, Donal O'Brien and Karin Schubert in one of her last roles before crossing over into pornographic films.
And last but not least we've got a color ad! In 1979, Edoardo Mulargia directed Ajita Wilson and Cristina Lai in Escape From Hell and Hotel Paradise, two extremly trashy but immensely enjoyabel Italian W.I.P. movies. In 1985, Empire Pictures edited together scenes from both films, shot about ten minutes of additional footage with Linda Blair, and released this incoherent patchwork to unsuspecting audiences as Savage Island. You'll be much better off watching the two original films (they're both trash masterpieces) but at least the artwork for Empire's bastardized version is totally awesome! You really can't go wrong with a scantly dressed Linda Blair in high heels while clutching a machine gun and showing off a giant cleavage. They just don't make 'em like they used to!
Well, that's all for now but I'll be back with some stuff from 1986/87 later on - including some Bruno Mattei stuff and Spanish horror.