Hey, bud... sheltering in place? Living in the isolation, talking only by phones and Google Hangouts. But mostly.... mostly... watching movies online? Got Amazon Prime? Why not g'head and dig these three gonzo drive-in greats, from Mexico, Italy, and godforsaken Utah.
THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE
"El Triangulo Diaboloico de las Bermudas"
(1978) Dir. Rene Cardona
*** / Amazon Image - B+
Everything cool about the 70s waits for us in the depths of this Mexican-Italian co-production made at the height of the craze for all things Bermuda Triangle. Not only do we get a killer doll picked up from floating in the sea by a rich man's child, but lots of old sea monster... etchings... floating face down in the waves. So met. Directed by Rene "Mexican Schaffner" Cardona Jr.. starring the ever slovenly Hugo Stiglitz as the charter yacht captain and John Huston as the aging patriarch in search of Atlantis in the middle of a certain triangle. We never really know as we're never off the boat or see land, and its groovy. Naturally an aging Bond girl is aboard (Claudine Auger, still foxy but orange is not her color) here an as the bitter wife of drunken doctor Carlos East. Huston's other, younger smokin' hot daughter with nice legs (for awhile) is played by Gloria Guida. The doll (who in some creepy shots is doubled with the Linda Blair-ish face of Nailea Norvind) tells the kid when everyone on the boat will die and drinks the blood of attacking parrots and later the ship's cook, whose jagged death is blamed on falling ketchup bottles. Meta shit like that and the sea monster etchings leave us much to ponder
Part of a cornucopia of late-70s films--including recently-reviewed and loved by this site, Bermuda Depths (also 1978), triggered by the immensely popular Leonard Nimoy-hosted TV show In Search Of...,(which covered the Triangle a year prior - we all saw it), and with a memorable albeit familiar Stevio Cipriani score (and sound effects when things get all triangle-weird lifted directly from Forbidden Planet), this Triangle never dull mix of sea folklore, bitchy histrionics, creative deaths and strange events (including a parrot attack).
The Visitor-- it triumphs in the end through sheer abundance of weird happenings: everything from a parrot attack to a mysterious magnetic force that almost capsizes the boat while they investigate a mysterious SOS from a ship lost at sea for a decade (a lengthy nighttime sequence full of odd boat tilting and magnetic disturbance); there is also a mighty hurricane, and even a convincing underwater visit to ruined Atlantis.
EYE IN THE LABYRINTH
"L'occhio nel labirinto"
(1972) Dir. Mario Caiano
*** / Amazon Image - B
Rosemary Dexter is Julie the devoted secretary of a missing scoundrel Luca (the silver-eyed krimi star Horst Frank); a weird dream in which she's being chased through a white labyrinth convinces her to leave the office and drive out to the coastal town druggie artist colony where he was last spotted. Soon she's set and setting with the resident bunch of languid hedonists. They spend the day sunning themselves and their nights lunging at each other's throats and/or zippers (ala that old Michael Musto saying about Fire Island etiquette: "fork on the right, spoon in the nose, knife in the back"). Alida Vialli is her usual astringent self as the villa's owner and her terrifying but sexy-gruff Teutonic rasp of a voice is in full flower, and super insecure about her handsome younger lover (Gigi Rizzi) who starts taking Julie for long boat rides and strolls along the rocky coast. Someone shoots a harpoon gun at them - but from where? Someone is trying to kill her and in the process people turn up dead around her. What's going on, and why is Adolfo Celli always around to rescue her, aside from the obvious reason of wanting to sleep with her?
At night, around the cocktails at Vialli's, Julie hears tales of her beloved boss's odious blackmailing, rapey ways--including outing the trans Corrine (played by Peter Kranz) which is mad uncool. Sybl Danning is one of the enclave. The music by Roberto Nicolosi is a kind of trumpet-driven "Silent Way"-style languid jazz, giving it all a kind of broadside post-noir ennui which I am not sure does it any favors. When the suspense ratchet into gear, the music sort of cascades over its the side in drizzles of cymbals and glistening harp swirls. You'll either pick up on it right away or never guess the killer or what's going on, but don't worry, it's all very pretty and Vialli has a great time sinking her big German teeth into the role of a vicious older queen bitch fighting to keep her favorite boytoy. Dexter and Rizzi are both easy on the eyes and appropriately blank and the action is fluid. It may not be the film that kickstarts a giallo marathon at your home DVD / Prime binging weekend, but it won't kill one off either. And if you have Prime, you'll be glad to find it free and looking good (and it's not on Blu-ray or DVD so now or never).
HIGHWAY TO HELL
(1991) Dir Ate de Jong
***/ Amazon Image - A
Thanks to a surplus of over-the-top action, towheads driving dusty vehicles, and long straight desert highways, you'd be forgiven for thinking Highway to Hell is Australian. Actually it's one of the last big American designated cult pics, a relic of a time when big studios shared drive-in screens with indie distributors and wildly unhinged 80s drive-in ready gonzo classics actually made money, or lost it, but either way they went for it. The golden era of 80s cult films, man, thanks to Prime their legacy endures (see here for more Prime options). Though it's from 1991, it's sooo 80s, occupying a comfy zone between a bigger budget version of Hell Comes to Frogtown or the 1982 She, both personal favorites.
So, if it's not too much trouble: surrender to this loud action-horror-comedy's quirky mix of thrills, insight and dumb sight gags (whizzing by too fast to elicit any groans) and crazy car chase and brawling action and you're bound to wind up exhilarated. The Prime print is A-okay.
The post-end title "where are they now" crawl seems tacked on by producers after some test screening audience cards asked too many questions.
Man, some folks just can't let shit hang.
PS - Turns out HIGHWAY TO HELL isn't available on Prime at the time of this posting. Well, you could check out a few choice recommendations instead, like the 1982 SHE starring Sandahl Bergman! or RAIDERS OF ATLANTIS (1982)
More Recommendations and Review of Available-on-Prime Hidden Gems:
12 Weird/Cool Italian Films
and so much more.... somewhere