The Fifth Day of Peace

1970, Italy

Starring:  Franco Nero (Bruno Grauber), Richard Johnson (Capt. John Miller), Helmuth Schneider (Col. von Bleicher), Bud Spencer (Jelineck)

Director: Giuliano Montaldo

Music: Ennio Morricone

Viewed:  Streaming

Transfer Quality: Horrible, VHS to digital

A transfer so bad only Franco Nero could save it? That was my only hope when I turned on this miserably low-quality VHS to digital conversion. I’m already not a big fan of war movies, well at least not poorly transferred bad ones. Of course, I love Catch-22, Apocalypse Now, Where Eagles Dare, etc. …but cropped for TV war schlock is a tough sell. I can sit through the lowest budget paper plate UFO sci-fi flick or 5th generation VHS copy of a ketchup splatter slasher and still feel like I’ve used my time productively, but bad war movies I cannot abide. Case in in point? …see my Combat Shock review, haha. Anyway, Nero’s involvement practically required me to check this one out, but honestly I wasn’t expecting to get more than 10 minutes in before switching flicks.

To my surprise—horrendous transfer aside—this turned out to be a pretty brilliant take on the war film genre that hooked me in from start to finish. Sure, there are a few vertigo inducing nighttime scenes that the VHS to digital conversion renders absolutely unwatchable, but those only kept me constantly wondering how great it would be to experience a clean 35mm print screening of this.

The film opens at the end of WWII in a Dutch concentration camp converted to house German POWs by Canadian Allies led by Captain Miller (Richard Johnson). If that weren’t ironic enough, the whole story takes place after the combat has ended. I mean, it’s a war movie with no war. Only the participants’ vestigial tension remains as they struggle to make sense of their roles in what happened and what will happen next. What’s revealed in the end is not only a commentary on the futility of war, but also on futility of the human condition: man’s eternal struggle between freedom and control.

We find Captain Miller, already ambivalent about his return to civilian life and the loss of status that will entail, simultaneously repulsed and fascinated by Nazi top officer Col. von Bleicher, masterfully portrayed by Helmut Schneider. Col. von Bleicher is obsessed with maintaining military order and continues to discipline his troops as though the stukas were still wreaking havoc over Poland. Captain Miller desperately wants to claim the moral high ground of the Allies, but is ultimately torn as he struggles to fill his role as commander and to control the camp. In contrast, we have Nero’s character, Bruno Grauber, and his fellow deserter Corp. Reiner Schultz (Larry Aubrey). Two deserters who, despite almost starving to death on their journey, enjoy a relatively blissful few days as kitchen assistants in the camp before their cover is blown and they are dragged into the POW barracks with their countrymen. The Colonel, of course, wants them executed and made an example of. Grauber, having tasted freedom, struggles to expose the absurdity of the troops still playing war as his and Schultz’s lives dangle in the balance.

Of course, Nero steals the show with his classic everyman, pushed to the brink by the injustice of it all ranting and pontificating. But, effectively, he spends most of the film relegated off screen or yelling something or other from his solitary confinement cell while the Captain and the Colonel decide his fate. In the end it’s the battle of wits between the two commanders that really drives the narrative. So meta!

Top-notch Morricone soundtrack and great performance by Bud Spencer as the kitchen supervisor, Jelineck, really rounded out the package here. Check this out!


Screen Shot 2019-12-17 at 11.47.37 PM

TIN STAR (seasons 1& 2)

TIN STAR (Seasons 1 & 2)

Directed by: 10 different asshats (maybe that’s part of the problem)

Written By: another 6 fools that probably never talked to one another about what they were doing

Staring: Tim Roth, Genevieve O’Reilly, Abigail Lawrie

Viewed: on Prime

Transfer Quality: Great Transfer

Tin Star

I had very high hopes going into this series based on the involvement of Director Chris Baugh (Bad Day For The Cut which I reviewed here).   

The first season was semi interesting to me, but the end was this cliff hanger that basically pulled me into season 2 (which was a total abortion).  Season 2 was just unwatchable and downright awful.  The story was just ludicrous and so far fetched that there was zero believability in anything about it.  The acting is pretty okay, the sets and scenery are nice, but the story is just so far out of reach that I wanted to just stop watching every episode in season 2.  But you know that feeling you get after you’ve invested so much time that you need to see it through? That was me, thinking it would suddenly make sense and get better or something.  Well, seeing it through has gotten me feeling very bitter about both seasons, and pretty much every Amazon original series that I can think of.  I don’t recall even one that I’ve liked.  They all seem sucky, or maybe just watchable.  

At any rate the story is that of a ex UK undercover cop (played by Tim Roth) who has relocated to an isolated part of Canada.  He becomes the sheriff, he becomes a criminal, and a killer with a family who somehow starts to understand him and his fucked up logic and use of violence.  It’s almost as though the writing occurred as they were filming this series.  Like they were getting drunk in the cold and writing it on the fly or something.  Believe me I will not be pulled into season 3 in 2020.  There is nothing more they could do to this show then perhaps kill everyone off and start from the beginning.  This show makes Cinemax’s Banshee seem like a realistic, award winning series.  Listen up when I say not to waste your time with this crap.  The hours I lost on this I’ll never get back, and it bums me out to even think about.  Tim Roth should go back to playing Skinheads.  (NW)

Why Is This Even Collectible? Vol. 2

Band:     Blues Creation
Title:      Demon & Eleven Children (1971)
Label:    Denon (original press w/Gatefold Cover), Blow Up (1975 reissue w/single sleeve), Various unofficial reissues

Ōsawa Hiromi – Vocals
Takeda Kazuo – Guitar
Saeki Masashi – Bass
Higuchi Masayuki – Drums


This second Blues Creation LP is a crushing beast of early-70s Japanese heavy, heavy blues tinged rock not dissimilar to Sabbath overall, but with little bits of Cream, Sir Lord Baltimore, Hendrix, and of course Mountain (whose Felix Pappalardi they would later record an LP with as “Creation”) mixed in. For this effort, guitarist and founder Takeda Kazuo wisely cleaned house, assembling an entirely new line-up and forging a new direction away from the covers-only approach of their first LP towards this true masterpiece of original compositions. Demon & Eleven Children, has somewhat looser production than stoner-friendly rivals from the States and UK of the time, but packs a two-ton wallop that will leave you reeling in awe nonetheless.

On that note, this is definitely not an album to be listened to via a YouTube video or on your shitty phone speaker. A decent set of headphones will give you a serviceable experience of this recording, but I recommend cranking your stereo up loud enough that you can feel the bass ripple through the floorboards. Grab a pillow and lie down in that good shit…settle in and let the heaviness seep deep into your pores and your being.

Blues Creation recorded just one other album after this with Japanese psych hero Carmen Maki that has its moments but, honestly, underutilizes the talents of both. Blues Creation would later morph into Creation and produce a string of quite good heavy rock LPs that litter both the cheapy bins of Disk Unions across Japan as well as my personal collection.


Why is this even collectible?

Japan only pressing for Japanese market, so incredibly scarce. Incredibly stellar LP that surpasses much of the heaviness emerging from the US and Europe at the time.

Advantage: Seller. The original Denon press (gatefold) is a holy-grail item that is nearly impossible to find complete and in good shape. This (pictured) nice 1975 repress is much more common, though the meager single-sleeve is enough of a trade-off to keep collectors dreaming of an original.

Price range: The original Denon press can grab well over $1k (oof!) if complete and in decent shape. Until recently, you could sometimes snag this press (1975 single-sleeve reissue) for $50-ish, but lately I’ve not seen a complete copy go for less than $150. A few “unofficial” vinyl reissues exist, but I’ve not encountered any to report on. I’m actually surprised this never got an Akarma high-end bootleg treatment.


1.        Atomic Bombs Away (5:30)
2.        Mississippi Mountain Blues (4:05)
3.        Just I Was Born (6:18)
4.        Sorrow (7:13)
5.        One Summer Day (2:26)
6.        Brane Baster (2:00)
7.        Sooner or Later (5:13)
8.        Demon & Eleven Children (9:15)



Pulp Fiction
Pulp Fiction at the New Beverly Cinema, November 29, 2019. 25th anniversary!                        Photo: Matt Average


Director: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Amanda Plummer, Tim Roth, Ving Rhames, Uma Thurman, Eric Stoltz, Frank Whaley, Phil LaMarr, Rosanna Arquette


GREY C.E.L.L. • Self-titled LP

Grey C.E.L.L. S/T LP

King Of The Monsters Records

GREY CELL cover_1

Eleven scorchers on this beautifully colored 12” slab. The songs go by super quickly mostly due to this being a 45 rpm record.  These dudes weren’t on my radar at all until very recently.  This is harsh as all hell Philadelphia hardcore/punk. But it still has some weird quirkiness to it that keeps me interested, and also manages things from getting to generic. This record does have a massive 90s hardcore feel to it which I think works well for them.  There is some really cool guitar stuff happening with Janis who played (plays) guitar in Citizens Arrest. The drums and bass are spot on and are just rolling together and keeping the madness together. I love the harshness of the vox, they sorta remind me of San Diego’s Run For Your Fucking Life. If you like Citizens Arrest I’d imagine you’ll dig this as two of the four members are in CXA.

The lyric sheet apparently can be cut out to be turned into a zoetrope that becomes animated if played on a turntable at 45 RPM.  I am NOT going to be trying that with my insert, because it looks really nice and it would mean I no longer had a lyric sheet.   (NW)

Hit me up on Instagram if you want to send me your release for review at: nate_gloom


Justin Dratson: JD   Nate Wilson: NW   Matt Average: MA