Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Flesh and Bullets (Vinegar Syndrome DVD)

We have a miracle of modern filmmaking here though not in a way in which you would wholly expect. Ladies and gentleman I give you a Carlos Tobalina movie that is NOT a triple X rated movie. This is not a hardcore picture. The orgy stops here. I know that it is impossible to conceive, but Carlos tried to make a movie that was legit (or at least gauged to a wider audience).  Of course he is billed as Efrain Tobalina… probably to maintain his street cred as a heavy hitter from San Fran with the biggest orgies in town, but that’s speculation given his affinity for pseudonyms on all his work.

The opening is as soulful as ever featuring some lyrics that inspire emotion. “Someone gonna get hurt every time”.  Sure will. The credits swirl toward the sky which is actually moderately disorienting. What you notice right off that bat is a lack of adult film stars. Adlo Ray, Cornel Wilde and Cesar Romero (yes, the Joker from the 60’s camp classic TV show Batman) all show up to provide a true B list cast of somebodies.

Despite that fact that we are not watching a porno, you can tell that Tobalina had trouble leaving out the good stuff. There scenes framed to avoid certain gratuities though I would imagine there is a cut of the film somewhere (perhaps lost) that included these scenes. We often see adult features stripped of their genitals to gain a wider audience. One might imagine that Tobalina received funding from backers who wanted to make a movie that could screen in a wider venue which is why the movie has all the trappings of a porn but without the spankable bits of a porn.

There are some pretty laughable disguises in this one with Aldo Ray making up with his good looks what the makeup man could not take away. In fact there’s at least one lengthy dialogue of exposition that seems to trail on forever leaving on a conversation with Ray’s bedroom eyes to keep us interested. By the end of the picture you wouldn’t quite expect the twist and the old switcheroo may fool a few of you, but one thing is for certain, there’s a shaky dead guy on the screen and someone better tell him he’s overacting.

Note: there’s a terribly echo-filled baby cry in this picture that sounds like something off the Black Sabbath Sabotage album. It’s completely out of place and is probably closest related to the use of kaleidoscope in terms of inappropriateness for Tobalina’s work.  Keep and eye out for the fella who looks like Maniac Cop because it's actually him.  Enjoy the line “You Frigid Bitch”! on repeat. It’s right up there with “Bastard”! from Pieces.

You can order your copy of Flesh and Bullets now fromVinegar Syndrome. Remember… no orgies. No San Fran… just strange disguises, Aldo Ray and a alternative “Wife Contract” version taken from a VHS track. The difference in the aspect ratio may make you try to adjust the tracking on your DVD player. 

From Vinegar Syndrome:

In director Carlos Tobalina’s sex-filled re-imagining of Alfred Hitchcock’s STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, a duo of unhappily married men, both of whom have bloody pasts, meet in Las Vegas and hatch a scheme to murder each other’s ex wives. However, in the process of preparing for their deadly plot, they begin to become romantically attached to each of their targets. Will they be able to pull off the perfect murders or will love get in the way?

One of the few non-X rated films Tobalina directed, FLESH AND BULLETS is a sleazy mash up of grindhouse trash and melodrama, featuring X rated stars Mai Lin, Sharon Kelly, and Bill Margold. Also B-movie greats, Cornel Wilde, Yvonne De Carlo, and even Robert Z’Dar in one of his first roles!

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