FLESH+BLOOD
1985, Park Circus/MGM, 126 min, Dir: Paul Verhoeven

It’s 1501, and the world is full of mercenaries, peasants and pestilence. True to its title, Paul Verhoeven presents the darkest of ages, a brutally realistic story of the struggle for life, complete with rape, murder, starvation and the Black Death. Rutger Hauer, in one of his finest roles, portrays the leader of a band of mercenaries, who seeks revenge for a nobleman’s (the excellent Jack Thompson) betrayal by kidnapping and brutalizing his son's (Tom Burlinson) bride to be. Jennifer Jason Leigh shines as the strong willed Agnes. Based in part on unused material for the Dutch TV series "Floris," which Gerard Soeteman, Paul Verhoeven and Rutger Hauer collaborated on in 1969. Watch for the amazing performance by Susan Tyrell as an onlooker to one of the films most brutal and controversial scenes. The late Basil Poledouris contributes perhaps his best score. Although Verhoeven later denied any connection, some critics at the time of release pointed out allegorical similarities to Patty Hearst’s abduction by the SLA.


CUJO
1983, Paramount, 93 min, USA, Dir: Lewis Teague

When a young boy’s Saint Bernard contracts rabies, the once-friendly animal becomes a creature of hellish ferocity and lethal terror in a rural American town. Watch Beethoven go for blood in this frightfully entertaining adaptation of the Stephen King novel.


BLACK RAIN
1989, Paramount, 126 min, USA, Dir: Ridley Scott

Tough NYC cop Michael Douglas inadvertently loses extradited hood Yusaku Matsuda upon arrival in Japan, then plummets head-first down the neon rabbit hole into a nightmarish yakuza underworld. Violent, gut-wrenching pyrotechnics abound, depicted in the diamond-hard brilliance of Jan de Bont’s cinematography and top-notch performances from an excellent cast that includes Ken Takakura, Andy Garcia, Kate Capshaw and Tomisaburo Wakayama.


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