• Flesh And Bullets

    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: August 18th, 2015.
    Director: Carlos Tobalina
    Cast: Glenn McKay, Mic Morrow, Robert Z'Dar, Mai Lin, Sharon Kelly, Cornel Wilde, Yvonne De Carlo, Cesar Romero
    Year: 1985
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    The Movie:

    If you were a pornographic filmmaker looking to do a low budget remake of Strangers On A Train, would you cast a couple of female adult film stars in minor roles? Would you get Cesar Romero and Yvonne Carlo onboard for two minute cameos? Would you want Aldo Ray in your film? And would you cast Robert Z’Dar as a rapist? I would definitely do all of these things if I were in that situation, but thankfully I don’t have to because Carlos Tobalina already did. This saves me a lot of work, because instead of going out and making that dream project a reality, I can just put the DVD on and sit on my couch drinking Miller High Life – just like the guys in the movie do!

    The film begins when a down on his luck mustachioed man named Roy (Glenn McKay) puts on a fake beard and some fake eyelashes and a floppy hat. Then he rents a car from Sharon Kelly. After that he convinces two homeless guys to help him rob a bank – only they don’t know they’re doing it. My dad’s name is Roy but this guy is not my dad, he’s much craftier than my dad is. Once he pulls it off, he figures this is it, it’s his last job – but he owes a ton of money in child support and alimony. To compensate for this he goes to Las Vegas where he bangs a lovely and very polite lady of the evening (Mai Lin) before heading down to the bar for a drink.

    At the bar he brushes off yet another hooker and then makes friends with a blonde guy named Jeff (Mic Morrow) whose whispy eyebrows almost seem to disappear under his Farah Fawcett-esque locks. It turns out that he too is burdened by excessive alimony and child support payments – and so, over a drink, our two men come to an agreement: Roy will track down Jeff’s wife Delores (Cydney Hill) and knock her off while Jeff will take care of Roy’s wife Gail (Susan Silvers) and see that she exits the picture permanently.

    So for the next hour some weird stuff happens. Some cops (Aldo Rey and Cornel Wilde) shuffle around an office. We see, in flashbacks, sentences handed down to Roy and Jeff by some judges (Yvonne DeCarlo and Cesar Romero) and we see Jeff change a flat tire and wash his hands before bedding Gail. But then that relationship gets complicated because as Gail and Jeff fall for one another, we learn that Gail was raped by a guy named Dan (Robert Z’Dar, listed in the end credits as Robert West), and that he wants Jeff out of the picture. Meanwhile, Roy is falling for Delores and he goes on a sightseeing expedition with her, wins the heart of her tube-sock wearing boy and then takes her on a camping trip where they eat KFC, he saves her from a falling bolder and then gets bitten by a rattlesnake. Will either man be able to follow through on their ‘contract’ or will we witness a showdown between these two guys in which they settle things man to man with fire and steel? We won’t spoil that, but we will tell you that the big finish takes place in and around the cool old Mayan Theater (then a porno-house) and that an old lady calls some people fags before the end credits roll.

    If you look up our two leading men on the IMDB and sift through their credits, you’ll note that there aren’t any aside from this movie and it’s not really surprising to learn that after you enjoy their exploits here. Neither Glenn McKay or Mic Morrow are good actors, not in the traditional sense at least. However, like the director they served under (credited as Efrain Tobalina) for this project they do at least give it the old college try. Glenn McKay struts about like a wannabe Burt Reynolds at times, which is fun to watch, while Mic Morrow has trouble emoting or offering up any sort of expression in his work. The ladies do a bit better, and not just Mai Lin (who takes off her clothes), either. She’s fine though. And naked. But also naked are Cydney Hill, who boldly sucks the poison out of Roy’s hand after his snake bite, and Susan Silvers, who is lucky enough to get raped by the mighty Z’Dar. The two ladies really aren’t going to wow anyone but they can and do act circles around the male leads.

    As to the film’s Z’Dar factor, it takes a while to get to it but it’s solid once it gets there. Dressed in a tight and freakishly bright red shirt, the late great Maniac Cop scowls his way through his part of Dan The Rapist and even gets to indulge in some manly fisticuffs. When those fisticuffs don’t go his way we get to see Z’Dar show a weaker side, a more sensitive side. His fear becomes our fear and we share this experience with him. When he whines and pleads for his life, which is not something that Z’Dar often does, we whine and plead for our lives alongside him.

    If that weren’t enough, Tobalina regular Bill Margold shows up for an amusing cameo as a gay wrestler/Miller High Life fan, Sharon Kelly gets one line in one scene, and Aldo Rey and Cornel Wilde hit new career lows at the same time. DeCarlo and Romero probably thought they were appearing in a completely different movie than the one they wind up in. If that’s still not enough, we get a Vietnam massacre sequence clearly shot in a brushy California or Nevada location, a killer opening theme song about the perils and pains of love, weird opening credits where red words appear out of the darkness and then whoosh towards the sky, and the killer line ‘Making love to you is like fucking an iceberg… you frigid bitch!’

    This one has it all.


    Flesh And Bullets looks all sparkly clean and colorful in this 1.78.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer taken from a new 2k scan of the original 35mm negative. Colors look really nice and while the occasional nick and scratch show up, for the most part there’s very little print damage here. At the same time, the transfer is free of any noise reduction or edge enhancement. Detail is strong for a DVD presentation and all in all, the movie looks great here.

    The Dolby Digital Mono track doesn’t fare quite as well, as there are a few scenes with some muffled dialogue and a few spots where you might need to adjust the volume to hear what’s going on, but at least it’s typically free of any snaps, crackles or pops.

    Aside from a theatrical trailer (featuring an amusing ‘intro’ from Cesar Romero!) we get the alternate The Wife Contract version of the movie that actually runs a few minutes longer than the Flesh And Bullets cut of the film. The opening scene is a bit different and there are a couple of minor extensions here but it more or less follows the same story as the regular version of the movie. It does, however, remove most of the ‘celebrity cameo’ bits and replace them with different sequences using different actors. This version is presented fullframe from a VHS source with burned in subtitles, which is never ideal, but it’s interesting to at least see it included even if the feature version is obviously the one to watch.

    The Final Word:

    Flesh And Bullets is a pretty fabulous disaster of a film. It’s poorly made in pretty much every regard but it’s got a pretty fun cast and damn it all if Tobalina isn’t least trying for something more high concept than he typically tended to aim for. Vinegar Syndrome’s DVD looks great and hey, you even get an alternate version of the movie too.