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The blog below was under an older name of Hollyweird. I have kept the numbering the same so that I could keep track of my posts, but this is where it all begin back in the heyday of 2012…
“In the beginning
Back in nineteen fifty five
Man didn’t know ’bout a rock ‘n’ roll show
An’ all that jive
The white man had the schmaltz
The black man had the blues
No one knew what they was gonna do
But Tchaikovsky had the news. He said…
Let there be sound, and there was sound
Let there be light, and there was light
Let there be drums, there was drums
Let there be guitar, there was guitar, ah
Let there be ROCK!!!”
Rock N’ Roll should be…. Raw; Physical; Filthy.
A Post-Apocalyptic Future would be….. Raw; Physical; Filthy.
Martial Arts movies could be…. Raw; Physical; Filthy.
Porn films are… Raw; Physical; Filthy.
Whoa, porn???? I meant Indie cinema. I swear! My mind just wandered…. Wandered like a lone figure in a post apocalyptic wasteland… wandered like a Six String Samurai.
In a world where those evil Red Ruskies nuked America in the 50’s, what is left is a wasteland. Elvis, the former ruler of Lost Vegas has died. Now the States needs a new leader- and every man with a guitar and a dream is fighting to become the new King. Enter a mysterious stranger, equally skilled at 50’s riffs and Sword strikes. Aided by a orphaned kid, the two heads to Vegas to claim his throne, but little do they know that Death is following them- literally. Death loves Heavy Metal, and wants to eradicate Rock ‘ n Roll. But only one of them can become the new King…..
Six String Samurai is like Mad Max as played by Eddie Cochran. It’s even sillier than it sounds, and if you happen to love rock and Samurai- and luckily I do- then it’s also even better than it sounds.
On the one hand it’s incredibly derivative. Nothing here is original as such, but the way everything is thrown together keeps it simultaneously fresh and vintage. In a way it”s like akin to if Tarantino made Kill Bill as his début with the budget of Reservoir Dogs.
This film dips rock from every pore. The hero is called Buddy, complete with thick black specs. On his trail is the Grim Reaper, a Metal riff-machine when the mood takes him. On their travels, characters discuss hollow body guitars. Mariachi’s wander into scenes, and the somewhat obscure band, The Red Elvises cameo in the film appear in it as a killer band (literally). Which is fitting since they also scored the Soundtrack. In fact there is also possibly a cameo by Frank Black. It look like Francis and sounds like Francis, but since he’s uncredited he could just be some fat, bald dude. (AKA me in 15years). So yeah, this film definitely has the credentials to make Chris Isaak weep with joy.
Still, ol’ Six String Sammy is amateur- make no mistake about that. Sometimes the natural lighting changes drastically between cuts in the same scene. Clearly there was not time for continuity- it was shoot what you can, whilst you can.
The dialogue is hard to make out, and shockingly even the music feels like it needs cranking up a lot harder at times.
Narratively the ‘cute’ child sidekick is every bit as irritating as you’d expect (Daigoro he is not, Shogun Assassin fans). In fact the whole film is pretty repetitive.
So with all these problems, why do I enjoy it so much? Because if it was any more polished it simply wouldn’t be as rock n’ roll. It looks and sounds cheap, surviving alone by the sheer lunacy of it all- hell, AC/DC would damn well approve. Much like Alex Cox’s Straight To Hell– a Spaghetti Western littered with rock stars that dreams big, plays loose and kicks booty this film is just more fun for its rawness. In cinematic/aural terms, some people may crave the well polished production of David Lean/The Beatles, but I’m always going to go with the good spirited roughness of Jarmusch/Ramones. And this is far more Ramones.
Honestly, for all its faults I cannot believe that this film is not better known. In an age of craptacular straight to DVD films, I’m actually shocked this film doesn’t have a sequel. Still, it did manage a pretty poor Comic run of …. one issue. I tracked it down, and I’m sorry to say it wasn’t worth the hassle. (Although it did become packing paper for a sale on ebay, so it wasn’t a total waste). Slightly more impressively, the film is referenced in the smash hit video game of Fallout: New Vegas where an achievement is called the “New Vegas Samurai” complete with an image based on Six String Samurai’s movie poster. So whilst the film may not be famous, at least it had some impact. Besides, like the best bands it always leave you smiling but wanting more.
Now do yourself a favour; put on some Rocket From the Crypt or some Dan Sartain. Un-cap a bottle of JD, take a slug straight up from the bottle and splutter a thank you to the God of Rock ‘n Roll. Then click your fingers three times and settle back for some fun with Buddy. And no we’re not back to porn- I mean all you rock n’ roll, martial art, low budget loving sons of gun may want to bop along to Six String Samurai. You dig?!?!
Next time- Well we’re halfway to X-Mas folks. What could be better than X-Mas? How about an X-Mas based around a wrestler, mass murder and Demons??
Thanks for reading.