Saturday, July 13, 2013

ITALIAN HORROR WEEK - It's Not Fear that Tears You Apart... IT'S GEORGE EASTMAN!!!

Guest Writer Crankenstein joins Dr. Terror for Italian Horror Week all the way from Theater of Guts.

For Italian Horror Week I decided to do a retrospective of one of the most prolific and fascinating Joe D'Amato staple character actors, George Eastman (or Luigi Montefiore)! The man is a behemoth of a dynamo, a multitalented hulking figure of a renaissance man. He's an actor, director, writer and producer, who, like his former partner D'Amato, has no shame and frequently delves into the nether world of sleaze and hyper violence. He's the brains and fingers behind such classics as Keoma, Terror Express, Michele Soavi’s StageFright, Sergio Martino directed The Great Aligator, Many of the films that he acted in he also wrote like Porno Holocaust and the wildly popular Anthropophagus series. The fetus chomping scene was nothing more than a skinned rabbit covered in organs in a delightful mélange of siracha and kayro syrup (wait, that’s a little too gourmet)!

   I think of Joe D'Amato and George Eastman as the Belushi & Aykroyd of entrails and bad sex scenes, but sadly most duos end in tragic and painful separations! Eastman needed to earn his chops and cut the umbilical chord from the “Lasagna Yacht” and gently drift away into lower depths of filth and depravity (if that's humanly possible)! He penned the surrealistic spaghetti Western Keoma, with his pal Franco Nero and certain scenes, which were too graphic were unfortunately cut out.

Skunkape warned me not to ever watch a film he acted in called Baba Yaga, Devil Witch, almost as if I will immediately start hallucinating Max Renn style and slap my girl Friday in the face and grow a vaginal opening in my belly! I take this warning very seriously, so I dare not ever see a frame!

   Eastman made this film a few years before Mario Bava's genius Rabid Dogs.(which took a long time to get a proper release). After Busting his last preverbal sex mutilation nut, he ventured into safer territory (The Apocalypse)! That's the only place he could go after slugging it out with Joey D (almost like a free conjoined twin, now separated from the bloody husk of flesh) and would never look back! For awhile he would work with other directors like Umberto Lenzi and Lamberto Bava (with Blast Fighter)! And once with Ruggero Deodato’s 80’s VHS staple The Barbarians (whose lunkheaded muscle-bound twin antics threatened to outshine, Eastman’s imposing presence). Eastman worked for Sergio Martino a few times and was very memorable in Hands Of Steel playing a Latin wife beater sporting, arm wrassler with a penchant to drive cyborg motherfuckers off into ditches. 

 Eastman’s first foray into apocalypse territory would be 1990: Bronx Warriors with Enzo Castellari then MST3K beatdown flick Warriors of The Wasteland, 2020 Texas Gladiators then covered in crepe ape hair for his role as Big Ape in 2019: After The Fall Of NY. and finally Endgame.  

   One of the most surprising moments in Eastman's career to me is when he showed up in Scalawag along with Danny Devito and Kirk Douglas, who according to the interview from, George actually condemns Douglas as a terrible director! (Hey it's possible)! He also hung out with Danny Devito, who is a vegetarian and ate a giant bloody steak, mildly irritating the pint sized star of It’s Always Sunny and Taxi.  Some other questionable career moments include an IMDB writing credit for 2 films; Hard Sensation and Dog Lay Afternoon two obvious porn titles helmed by D'Amato and written by Eastman. There's no denying the man has worn many hats and worked in various genre's (Slasher film, Porn/ gore, Caligula, Women in Prison,Westerns, Zombie flicks, Terminator ripoffs). He is a force to be reckoned with for sure.

   Next he would enter the exotic world of corpses and steamy sex with his first foray into the Emmanuelle film series with the least known seductress role taken over by Rosemarie Lindt (which would last for one film entirely). D’Amato and Laura Gemser (with the accomplished soundtrack man Nico Fidenco) would raise the erotic series into a dangerous world, where snuff, cannibals and bestiality are the order of the day! 

Eastman has plowed such hot Laura Gemser (with his bulge painfully concealed in his soaking wet jeans) during Sexy Nights Of The Living Dead. Apparently he will act in porn, but not go full throttle, making him the kind of dude who brings a full plate to a smorgasbord! He would appear a few times with Mark “Warty Balls” Shannon, they were not however a good match as a dynamic duo (or Italian Batman and Magnum P.I.)! Serena Grandi and Eastman seem to be an item (as implied in “Fotos of Giola”) and Zora Kerova (The Cannibal Ferox redhead, sans impaled hooks in breasts) appeared in Anthropophagus and Terror Express. Tisa Farrow starred in a few movies with Eastman than faded away into obscurity and awkward dinner parties with her sister’s ex husband Woody Allen!
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  In an interview conducted by German gore site, he claims inspiration for the notorious fetus scarfing Greek character from Dante's Divine Comedy. Nikos Karamanlis is a tragic character that Eastman based on Count Ugolino who ate his own children and was forced to gnaw on the skull of an enemy for all eternity. And here I thought Anthropophagus was a slow moving waste of time devoid of any substance (with a nice gooey cannibal feast tacked on at the end to justify it's tedium), but no! I was mistaken, it's got some merit and cultural weight to it! Italian horror exploitation roots run deep and there is always intent behind what seems gratuitous. Eastman assumed his bookworm role and now primarily writes, let other 80’s action stars take note and go to a community college and learn how to throw a sentence together, I don’t want to live to see as many Expendables sequels as Fast and Furious ones, blecchhhhh!

   The entire film is not as entertaining as this trailer, a subway nightmare (think Night Train Murders plus Last House with more effeminate punks)

   So next time you see a burly dude in a beard with a ravenous appetite for offal meat dining on a fetus, think of George Eastman, He-Man among Italian Supermen!

Theater of Guts was started as a tribute to Chas Balun's VHS Bootleg Catalog. Along with Skunk, the creator of trailers, promo material and celebrity interviewer, Crankenstein will have his revenge on bad cinema by ravaging it with explicit content that we should all be proud of. Please stop by THEATER OF GUTS and check out the sloshy, sickly awesome yuck that comes from horror loving fiends. Also make sure to hit up their Facebok page and give 'em a like. You'll be seeing a few more posts from the Theater of Guts fellas this week including a special video post from Skunkape and "jungle" adventure from Goat Scrote. Stay tuned!

NOTE FROM THE DOCTOR: Look what the Theater of Guts fellas put together? David Hess lives... well sort of. These guys are true fans and I hope they saved some of the brown blotter paper for me.

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