Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 24th, 2011
Theatrical Release Dates: Philippines, 1969 (Stoney), Italy / France / West Germany, 1968 (The Killer Likes Candy)
Directors: Wray Davis (Stoney), Federico Chentrens, Maurice Cloche (The Killer Likes Candy)
Cast: Michael Preston, Barbara Bouchet, Michael Rennie, Richard Jaeckel, Leopoldo Salcedo, Pancho Magalona, Vic Diaz, Paraluman, Tony Dungan, Vance Skarstedt, Gerald Hardig (Stoney), Kerwin Mathews, Marilù Tolo, Venantino Venantini, Ann Smyrner, Riccardo Garrone, Werner Peters, Gordon Mitchell (The Killer Likes Candy)
DVD released: August 16th, 2011
Approximate running times: 87 minutes (Stoney), 86 minutes (The Killer Likes Candy)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen (Stoney) 4:3 full frame / Pan & Scan (The Killer Likes Candy)
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English (Both Films)
DVD Release: Code Red
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $16.98
Content wise, Stoney is more of a heist movie, than a Eurospy film. The film’s protagonist Irene Stone aka ‘Stoney’ is the girlfriend of a ruthless criminal, who will kill anyone that gets in his way. In his line of business finding someone he can trust is not an easy feat, so naturally he entrust his girlfriend with the task of recovering a long lost treasure, that just happens to be hidden on the highly guarded property of the prime minister of the Philippines. From there she uses her sex appeal to manipulate just about every man, who comes into contact with into doing what she wants them to do. Of course there is always going to one man, who does not fall prey to her seductive ways and he also just happens to become her main love interest. Also while the plot is fairly routine for a heist movie, the end result is greatly enhanced by making the main character a woman, instead of the more common male character anchoring most similar themed films.
Without a doubt the main reason for checking out this film and why it ultimately succeeds, is its leading lady Barbara Bouchet (Don’t torture a Duckling, Red Queen Kills 7 Times). Though she wear outfits that showcase of more than ample assets, the amount of nudity from her in this film is limited to one dimly lit scene, in which her character sleeps in nothing but her birthday suit. Eye candy aside, this is very good performance from Barbara Bouchet, who takes full advantage of one her larger roles. Unfortunately the rest of the cast are at best merely adequate in their respective roles. The score for Stoney was composed by Charles Bernstein, who’s other notable scores include Invasion of the Bee Girls, That Man Bolt and a Nightmare on Elm Street.
The Killer Likes Candy: A CIA agent is given the task of protecting the king of Kafiristan from assassination.
The Killer Likes Candy is later entry in the Eurospy film genre, which rose to prominence after the success of the James Bond film Dr. No. And while the James Bond film series has persevered, with a rumored twenty third installment set for release in 2012. The Eurospy film genre reached its apex in popularity by the late 1960’s and by the early 1970’s, the genre had all but imploded.
The first thing that sprang to my mind, when I first saw this film’s title ‘The Killer Likes Candy’, was the Italian film genre known as the Giallo. And not because anything content related, with the sole connection being this film’s lyrical title, which also happens to makes a key reference to killer, like the Giallo genre does.
Content wise, this film can be pretty much summed up as a cat and mouse game, between the killer and the agent assigned to protect a foreign diplomat. Beyond this description there is not much else going on in this film. It covers ground covered in countless other Eurospy film’s and the actions sequences are for the most part fairly routine. And yet despite these short comings, there is something oddly engaging about this film. If anything one can never accuse this fast paced thriller of being dull.
Cast in the film’s lead role as a American agent is actor named Kerwin Mathews, who had already appeared in a handful of Eurospy films by the time he appeared in The Killer Likes Candy. Most cult movie fans will recognize him from his performance in Michael Carreras’s Maniac. And while he does fit the secret agent role psychically, his performance does lack any depth emotionally. Other familiar faces in the cast include Marilù Tolo (Marriage Italian Style, Dario Argento’s Door Into Darkness) as the American agents love interest and Gordon Mitchell (The Giant of Metropolis) as one of the main bad guy’s henchmen.
Stoney is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original 2.35:1 ‘scope’ aspect ratio. Though colors fluctuate throughout, they tend to fare well for the most part. Black levels are at best average and at times the image lacks detail during darker scenes. Print debris is minimal, there are no problems with compression and edge enhancement while present, it is never too intrusive.
Stoney comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. Despite its limited range, this is a more than serviceable audio mix that sounds balanced and dialog comes through clearly.
The Killer Likes Candy is presented in a pan and scanned 4:3 full frame aspect ratio that has been cropped from the film’s original 2.35:1 ‘scope’ aspect ratio. Print debris is minimal, colors look muted, black levels look weak and details often look soft. It should be noted that there is some mild ‘combing’ of the image, more noticeable during heavy motion sequences and edge enhancement varies in degree throughout.
The Killer Likes Candy comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. The audio sounds flat and there is background noise that varies in degree throughout.
Extras for this release are limited to trailers for Ring of Death, Stigma, Cut-Throats Nine and Nightmare. There are three playback options for this release, play ‘Stoney’, play ‘Killer Likes Candy’ and ’42nd Street Experience’. This last options plays the two main features back two back, with two trailers before each feature. The Killer Likes Candy was released on DVD in 2008 and that release came with a irreverent audio commentary track. That audio commentary track has not been carried over for this release, don’t worry about its lack of inclusion, since you won’t be missing anything special. Overall if it weren’t for the inclusion of Stoney, I wouldn’t be able to recommend this release, because of mediocre transfer for The Killer Likes Candy.