Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bronx Warriors 1 & 2 - Soundtracks

A treat today for fans of Enzo G. Castellari's post-apocalyptic Bronx double. Filmed in 1981, the plot is heavily influenced by The Warriors and Escape From New York but pulled off with enough comic book verve by Castellari and a healthy Fabrizio De Angelis production crew - including their noted composers Walter Rizzati and Francesco De Masi.
In this Italo-centric view of 1990 New York, the Bronx is a lawless slum ruled by ridicoulously dressed thugs who ain't got nothin' on The Orphans! The loose plot has an heiress (Stefania Girolami, the director's daughter) venture into the Bronx badlands and the clutches of the most stupid gang you will ever see, the Zombies. Thankfully, she is rescued from their absurd appearance by tough kid Trash (Mark Gregory) who beats the crap out of them in slow motion. Trash rides with the only biker gang in town named, uh, The Riders and is played by a 17 year old with no acting experience that the director spotted at a gym. Naturally, the family want their heiress back so they send in Hammer, a no-nonsense mercenary (Vic Morrow in his second last performance) to get her back and clear out the Bronx - with extreme prejudice. Fred Williamson hams it up enormously as Ogre, the leader of fellow gang The Tigers, who teams up with Trash to face a common enemy. It all ends very abruptly with Morrow being dragged away to his doom. Sure, it's complete nonsense, but it's all very enjoyable in a comic book kinda way.
The sequel was filmed a mere 18 months later and has an almost interchangeable plot - with Henry Silva taking on the ruthless mercenary role - but probably has the edge with more action and tighter pacing than the original. There's even less of a pretense of a plot this time around, with an evil corporation enlisting the services of a tough nut ex-prison warden (Henry Silva filling in the Morrow role) to clear out the Bronx - with even more extreme prejudice. Useless bit of trivia: future porn starlet Moana Pozzi has a minor role.
These films will always hold a nostalgic charm for me. They were amongst the very first films I saw, thanks to a rich school friend who had one of the 2 or 3 vcrs in town. We're talking early eighties here. I guess I would've been about 7 at the time. Even though they charged me for the privelige (20 cents, if memory serves - explains why they were rich) I saw a swag of cheesy, violent pulp cinema that left a major impression. Thanks to the glorious early days of home video, I witnessed Cannibal Apocalypse, Mad Max, Schizoid, Happy Birthday To Me, The Soldier, Bloodsucking Freaks, The Last Hunter, Mother's Day - and this Bronx double all before my 8th birthday.
Anyway, back to the reason you came here, and that's the tunes. First up is the complete soundtrack for Walter Rizzati's score for 1990: The Bronx Warriors, and a rollicking good time it is. Following that is Francesco De Masi's score to the sequel, Escape From The Bronx / Bronx Warriors 2. Unfortunately, I haven't able to source the complete score (Beat records issued a full soundtrack on LP for the film's release - anyone out there have it to share?) so I'm presenting 'selected highlights' that were issued on CD for a De Masi comp a few years back. As per usual, there's a few bonus odds n ends to be heard at the end.

1 - Bronx 1990 (Walter Rizzati)
2 - Fire Knights (Walter Rizzati)
3 - Trash & Annie (Walter Rizzati)
4 - Radioprogramme (Walter Rizzati)
5 - Hammer Boss (Walter Rizzati)
6 - Bronx Suspense (Walter Rizzati)
7 - Learning To Die (Walter Rizzati)
8 - Bronx Traffic (Walter Rizzati)
9 - Skaters Group (Walter Rizzati)
10 - N. Y. Suspense (Walter Rizzati)
11 - Spillo's Death (Walter Rizzati)
12 - Ring Mystery (Walter Rizzati)
13 - Trash & Annie (Walter Rizzati)
14 - The Warriors (Walter Rizzati)
15 - A Bar In The Bronx (Walter Rizzati)
16 - Fear & Death (Walter Rizzati)
17 - Still & Again (Walter Rizzati)
18 - Slow Run (Walter Rizzati)
19 - Escape Sequence (Francesco De Masi)
20 - Escape Sequence 2 & 3 (Francesco De Masi)
21 - Escape Sequence 26 (Francesco De Masi)
22 - Escape Sequence 27, 28, 29, 30 (Francesco De Masi)
23 - 1990 Bronx Warriors - Trailer (edit)
24 - 1990 Bronx Warriors - choice dialogue
25 - 1990 Bronx Warriors - drum solo

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

R.I.P. Franklyes

It's just come to my attention that one of my favourite soundtrack sharing sites has bitten the dust :-( Franklyes and the many regular sharers/posters/requesters were a friendly, helpful bunch and will be sorely missed. Thank you for all the great music. It was one of the direct inspirations for this here blog and I may re-post some of that stuff somewhere down the track.

In the meantime, a handful of soundtrack blogs still exist, mine included :-) Which reminds me, anyone out there with a related blog to promote (soundtracks, cult, trash, Euro-schlock, etc...) feel free to leave a link in the comments section.