Lloyd A. Simandl - lingerie, shower & leather fetishist, purveyor of awful cinema
1 - The Filmmaker Neil Breen, The Light of This World
1. Double Down (2005) 4.5
2. I Am Here....Now (2009) 4.9
3. Fateful Findings (2013) 4.7
4. Pass Thru (2016) 5.4
Brett Kelly, the David Michael Latt of the North
5. Hell at My Heels (2011) 1.1 - also first to check
6. Rise of the Black Bat (2012) 1.2
7. Jesse James: Lawman (2015) 1.9
8. Surfacing (Claude Jutra, 1981) 4.3
9. Underwater! (John Sturges, 1955) 5.2
xx. Atlas Shrugged: Part I (Paul Johansson, 2011)
10. Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike (John Putch, 2012) 5.3
11. Atlas Shrugged: Part III (James Manera, 2014) 4.3
Don Emonds - Sultan of Sleaze
12. Tender Loving Care (1972) 4.2
13. Ilsa: She-Wolf of the S.S. (1975) (re-watch) 5.1
14. Ilsa: Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks (1976) 5.1
Alvin Rakoff - Canuck jack-of-all-genres
15. City on Fire (1979) 4.1
16. King Solomon's Treasure (1979) 4.2
17. Death Ship (1980) 4.9
18. DEFCON-4 (Paul Donovan, 1985) 4.5
This is the only image that comes up in a quick Google search:
Similarly, I can find almost no information about the guy. Born in 1948 in Poland it sez on IMDb so we'll have to go with that. All of his early films seem to have been entirely Canadian productions; later films are often Canada/Czech co-productions. If IMDb is to be trusted - and I wouldn't bet on it with a director this obscure making mostly straight-to-video stuff that virtually nobody has seen - he's done 46 feature-length films/videos between 1979 and 2011, and judging from the titles and images, most are sexploitation, frequently combined with science fiction/horror/fantasy, all done on very low budgets. Judging from the 5 films I saw - his first five - he likes to showcase beautiful women in corsets, bustiers, nylons, etc; he's got at least one shower scene in each film; he also likes to have his camera linger over asses - and he likes good-looking males also; if not an equal-opportunity exploiter he's at least conscious that maybe there are a few women or gay men in the audience; and there's some light leather/vinyl bondage fetishism here also. All but the first of these had co-directors, either Michael Mazo (on the 2nd, 4th and 5th films) or Douglas C. Nicolle. All of these were 4x3 VHS rips and the first three looked pretty bad, not that it probably matters.
19. Autumn Born
This "film" still had a little bit of a cult reputation when I was working in video stores due to a lingering fascination with the lead actress, the tragic Vancouver-born Dorothy Stratten; this was her third film and first starring role, and this is the VHS box cover which I well remember
Stratton was a Playboy Playmate and started to develop a relationship with director Peter Bogdanovich, who cast her in a significant role in the 1981 release They All Laughed
; between this film and that she made Galaxina
, her only other significant role; a jealous husband ended her life at 20 in 1980. I've never seen the Bogdanovich film, and while I've seen Galaxina
it was a long, long time ago, so I don't know what kind of actress Stratton was developing into; certainly in this film and in the next she was not cast primarily for her thespian abilities, though to be fair she's probably more competent than anyone else in this unholy mess, filmed in Winnipeg though only those really knowledgeable of the city would be likely to recognize anything from the few exterior shots. Most of this is in a couple of rooms in some remote mansion where heiress Stratton is being held and gradually mind-controlled so that she'll sign away all her money to her greedy uncle. She gets bathed and whipped (pretty gently) a lot and made to wear lots of frilly negligees. That's about it. I have less patience for softcore crap masquerading as real movies than just about anything else and this came pretty close to the limit of my patience. Oh let's have a minimal story about some girl trying to find Stratton with a minute of dialogue about it, then cut to 10 minutes of semi-nude scenes and soft-core lesbian loving, then back to our minute of plot just so we can pretend this has a story. Repeat. At least it's only 74 minutes. Worst film I've seen this month and one of the worst ever.
20. Ladies of the Lotus
What did Mr. Simandl do in the 8 years between his first and second credits, I wonder? Are there other undiscovered films out there? Did he do small, uncredited jobs on bigger films we might have heard of? Maybe he was a gopher for Atom Egoyan or Guy Maddin early in their careers? More likely he directed porn or did nude photoshoots, as this film, like the first, is really just an excuse for abundant female nudity, lingerie (it's about a modeling agency that's a front for a prostitution/slavery ring) and of course, a bit of showering. One thing I'll give it over the first film is a bit more variety - a larger number of naked women, though none of them are probably as cute as Stratton. On the other hand, though this does have slightly more plot, what it has is pretty incomprehensible and I quickly gave up trying or caring to know what was going on, if anything. I think there was a dude who was looking for his sister or girlfriend or something. I don't care and you won't either; it's no wonder mine was the first check. I rated this and the previous film both "1" and I don't know that I've ever done that for two films seen in a row, let alone two from the same director. Well done Mr. Simandl!
This is a small step up, thankfully, though it's still a Lloyd Simandl film through and through. It starts out as something resembling Psycho
very broadly, with a young man with a mother fetish living in a big house who brings women home in the hopes of pleasing her and himself, and has killed a whole bunch of them. It has some nice night-time city photography actually - an early shot over the credits is a cityscape, and then a slow pan down to an overhead of a woman running, quite nicely done. Some good cars and lights against the city backdrops too. Anyway the girl in that nice shot is the next would-be victim, Madeline, but she gets away - there follows a not horrible chase sequence (though the gun battles are your typical really low-budget type where you see a guy firing a weapon in one shot, cut to the next and see the other guy fall down) climaxing in (of course) the explosion of a boat which the killer was escaping on. BUT NOT SO FAST... at this point it becomes essentially just any generic 80s slasher movie - with lots of lingerie, a long shower sequence, and a bathtub scene - as the girl goes with her friends for a weekend in the country and the killer (somehow) follows her and kills lots of people along the way who happen to be her friends & whatnot. Like the first two films, this exists only to showcase hot babes naked or close to it, though it spices things up with a couple of hunky stripper-dudes as well. It's just slightly more interesting and does have a vaguely coherent plot, but it's still in the end quite terrible.
22. Empire of Ash
aka Empire of Ash II
23. Empire of Ash III
So this is a confusing little series of two films - the first film was retitled with the "II" when "III" came out - if I had to guess I'd say there were plans to make a prequel to the existing first film and call that "I" but I really have no clue and as with Mr. Simandl's other films there doesn't appear to be a lot of real info available in a 5-minute search, which is all I'm willing to give this crap. There are some funny reviews on Letterboxd though. Anyway these are bare-bones post-apocalyptic action films, with Melanie Kilgour - who is only in these films; Simandl's films seem filled with actors that worked with him once or twice then disappeared from the industry; I wonder why? - as a young woman initially looking for her sister after she gets separated from sis and their grandpa as they try to get away from the Mad Max rejects that run "New Idaho" (but really British Columbia). Sis gets captured by the bad leather-black t-shirt-black jeans-boots crowd, who are led in the first film by this vinyl-clad hair metal band reject
There's stuff about a virus (ooh, contemporary relevance) or plague or something that's killed off most people or turned them into mutants (we don't see any of these until the second I mean third film) and lots of pretty mediocre action, and lingerie, leather or vinyl fetish wear, and of course showering - even though it's the post-apocalypse and presumably power and running water are scarce, you can always find a little waterfall out in the woods to bathe under, particularly if you're totally hot, female, and about 20. There are a couple of Vietnam War vets we run into who turn out to be sort of good guys - they show up again in the second I mean third film but are re-cast - Kilgour is the only returning actor. And in the sequel we also have William Smith, one of the great American action character actors of the 60s-80s, best known for the 10-minute fistfight with Clint Eastwood that ends Any Which Way You Can
. Here he plays some pseudo-religious zealot because of course the bad guys have to be part of some cult with a New Bible and such. There's also a sort of primitive A.I., there's the evil girl in the second film getting oiled up by her minions, and so much more that I really don't need to remember. And bad music - mostly lame instrumental grade-z generic 80s hard rock, but both films end with Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild", as our Mad Max style cars and bikes race around a gravel pit (is there a more typical location for your standard grade z post-apocalyptic shoot?). And a castle in the middle of the woods. Both of these are steps up from the previous films but not big enough steps. Baby steps where he needed giant leaps.
I think in the end this director's films all start from a premise of "we got some cute chicks who'll get naked, now we've got to have a story around that so we can sell it to drive-ins". At least the last three of them; the first two really don't bother with the story aspect at all, and given the general level of filmmaking/acting/etc quality you're really not left with anything but the hot naked chicks, and there's porn for that.
24. The Bloody Brood
(Julian Roffman, 1959) 4.9
This is sort of a late-noir/juvie (though the main actors are all pretty far out of their teen years) set mostly in a sort of beatnik club in New York (but really Toronto where this was filmed) run by Peter Falk as a sleazy player named "Nico" who it turns out is mixed up in some organized crime. But as the film starts, it plays more like a version of the Leopold & Loeb story, with Nico and his buddy Francis (Ron Hartmann) deciding to kill a random guy just for kicks, just to see how it feels and to have that special experience - there's even a little hint of homoeroticism here, though not nearly so much as in Rope
. Anyway not much is done with that angle and most of the film is about the brother of the victim trying to find out what happened, basically doing his own detective work with the open consent of the police detective assigned to the case. This is an enjoyable enough little cheap crime drama, shot mostly on cheap sets, with Falk giving a pretty solid performance in just his second theatrical feature, and first lead role. Surprising that this film is still so obscure; it's readily available on YouTube in decent (though far from HD as advertised) copies. Run time was a dozen minutes short of the IMDb listing which could be an IMDb mistake or just a few edits - it does seem to me that there should have been an actual murder scene of some kind early on, and there is at least one later somewhat awkward edit that might be a missing bit, but it's easy enough to follow certainly and it doesn't feel like much that is really important is gone. Nowhere close to great in the final analysis but definitely one of the best films I've seen for this challenge this month and not IMO deserving of the low rating.