Well, I was hoping Blind Melon would see my last post and announce that because of me they’re releasing their fourth studio album. I was pretty sure I’d find two of those cartoon money bags on my front porch, along with a note reading “Welcome to the big time, kid. You’re a professional writer now.” containing directions to a new job. That didn’t happen — yet — so, here I am with another review of a movie ten people have heard of.
I apologize if I missed anything. They updated WordPress again and all it did was break certain features. The reader and notification bell stopped working entirely on my preferred mobile browser and are still kind of glitchy on Chrome. I can’t tell for sure if my likes go through unless I’m at home on my laptop.
Now, I’ve joked before about being an “alcaholic” and weird movie addict, but it’s finally time to admit that I have a real problem. I’m addicted to Nick Millard movies. I know they’re killing me. I can’t stop. They bring me true joy. I wake up, I Millard. I go to sleep, I Millard.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. I wasn’t having any luck finding Gunblast AKA Shotgun with Google, but knew it had to be out there. My luck changed when I switched search engines. Page 2 of the Yandex results returned a Vimeo upload. I also found The Terrorists on YouTube and have my eye on a few more of Millard’s pornos for my Sweatin’ to the Oldies series.
As I pressed play and shushed my family, two things jumped out at me. One, the quality of the upload is absolute garbage. The image is overexposed, making the light colors blindingly bright. This is no more apparent than in the first scene when a Cessna lands in an airfield and all we see is a nearly white screen. After a while, the audio comes unsynced too. The problem worsens as the movie goes on. What starts as a few-second delay turns into a thirty-or-more-second delay, leading to many instances where one person is shown talking and another is heard. There are visually choppy sections as well. Not your typical VHS tracking lines. Some kind of error.
Put simply, it’s a terrible viewing experience. Still, I have to give props to Hamilton Trash Cinema for sharing it with us at all 🙏 Man, the things I do for a fix. I’ll admit I had no idea what was going on the first time I watched this. I was able to get the gist with a subsequent viewing.
The second thing that jumped out at me is that Gunblast was shot on film. Even at 240p and with the many problems this version has, I can make out the film grain and visual noise. The opening credits are identical to Mac-10‘s, but longer, with more names, suggesting Gunblast was completed first and portions were reused for Mac-10. “Lloyd Allan” and Christina Cardan again get top billing. “Lloyd Allan” appears to have been a pseudonym Marland Proctor used for his less savory roles. Somewhere between the two movies, Millard decided it was cheaper/easier/faster to shoot on video.
Most of his works recycle music from Criminally Insane and Satan’s Black Wedding. This one boasts an original flamenco score by Anita Sheer. I want to like it. Sheer’s guitar playing is good, but her wailing vocals are a bit harsh on my ears. I wasn’t expecting to find any info on her. Lo and behold, she founded the Flamenco Society of San José, California. According to her bio on their website, she took lessons from Carlos Montoya, shared the stage with Bob Dylan, appeared on the Tonight Show, and cameoed in Coronet Blue. She arrived in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1981, meaning Gunblast was filmed no earlier than that. Some of Millard’s movies took a while to find distribution, making it difficult to date them. The Terrorists, for example, involves a plot to assassinate Jimmy Carter, but came out seven years after he left office!
Gunblast takes place over three months. It starts in August, skips September, and ends just before Halloween. Title cards break it up into five days. Ray Myles (under his full name, Ramon Milas) plays Carlos Dominguez, Governor of Tamaulipas, Mexico. He and his driver/bodyguard Geraldo await the invisible plane.
Its pilot walks up holding a box marked “California Flower”. “Buenos Días, General.” he says.
“More flowers for you. Very profitable flowers.”
The box contains Dominguez’s monthly shipment of heroin — five kilos, which he sells in the US for $500,000 and his buyers re-sell for ten times as much. It’s always the same amount, but in some scenes it takes up so much room under the seats that Dominguez has trouble getting comfortable. He transports it without fear of prosecution. His diplomatic immunity ensures he’s never stopped at the border. Geraldo later expresses concern that one day they will be caught.
Millard uses Dominguez to burn the US. “Even if [customs officials were to search the car] and found the heroin, you can be certain the judge would release us immediately. Even murderers are set free in the United States.”
A car is parked in a desert. Maria Schneider (Christina Cardan) is turned around in the driver’s seat. “Again, I warn you about Geraldo. He practices everyday for two hours with his gun.” This rigorous training consists of throwing his gun back and forth in his hands and shooting at Diet Coke bottles.
“Geraldo is already a dead man.” Albert Eskinazi snaps from the backseat. He smacks a magazine into a gun. “I don’t need any warnings about dead men.” He gets out and stands in the middle of a lonely highway with his gun drawn.
Geraldo slows to a stop. He gets out and meets Eskinazi. One side of the road is a desert. The other is a green hill. These are two different locations. You’re not fooling anyone, Millard!
“You give me the dope and then you go on your way.” Eskinazi orders. He just said Geraldo was a dead man. Is this a robbery or a homicide? Make up your mind.
Geraldo laughs disrespectfully. “This really is very funny.” He delivers some cringey, slanderous dialogue comparing Eskinazi to Wile E. Coyote. Next, he tells him he’s going to shoot off his ears and balls in that order, and does it. I’m disgusted at how easily Eskinazi is killed.
Maria makes a sound like “huh” and drives away without being seen.
Los Angeles. Marland Proctor steps off a bus. For the second time, he’s playing a convicted bank robber named Grant. There are cool tracking shots of him walking down the sidewalk past storefronts. These are some of the most cinematic shots I’ve seen from Millard. Angry motorists honk behind him as he keeps pace with his actor. Grant checks into a hotel. His shirt disappears. In his room, he picks at a can of Hormel beans and wieners. Then, he flips through a Playboy (the December, 1985 issue, safely placing this in 1986), smokes, falls asleep, flips through the Playboy some more, decides he’d rather see the real thing, and walks to a theatre where he watches clips of Uschi Digard licking her own boobs from Fancy Lady. He stands against a wall sipping a drink, just like the black actor does in Mac-10. I wish I knew that guy’s name.
When Grant gets back to his room, he finds Cardan sitting on his bed. He asks if she’s from the parole board. She tells him she’s not. She heard about him from a friend, whose brother served time with Grant in San Quentin.
“Yeah, I remember Garcia.” Grant nods. “I saved the little spic from a bunch of niggers who were gonna cut his throat.” This is one of those movies where none of the characters are good people, but some are better than others.
Maria cuts to the chase. She asks Grant if he’s interested in robbing Dominguez and splitting the money 50/50. Grant declines. He’s done taking risks. He says he made off with $27,000 from the bank he robbed and only spent $7,000, so even though he served eight years in prison, he’s going to come out ahead because he has a $3.75/hour night watchman job lined up. I’m not understanding how he comes out ahead. Was he allowed the keep the remaining $20,000? That was only one year’s income back then. What am I missing?
“I know this man’s routine. Believe me, nothing can go wrong.” the femme fatale argues. We literally just watched a man die, you lying bitch!
“Tell you what I do want.” Grant says suggestively.
Maria smiles and sees herself out.
Proctor shows some conviction here. I’m really starting to like him as an actor. It’s a shame he died so young. A few days later, Grant is passed over for the job. “It’s alright. I understand.” he says to no one. This time, when he gets home he finds Maria stripped down to her underwear. Grant eagerly tries out the boob licking techniques he learned at the movies. While lying together, Grant has a change of heart and takes Maria up on her offer. You’re supposed to make better decisions after sex 🤦♂️ That’s why they call it post-nut clarity. Will Grant ever cum to his senses?
What a horrible double standard this is, by the way. If a man broke into a woman’s home for surprise sex, he’d be gang-beaten by her neighbors, arrested, convicted, and slapped with a restraining order. Grant leaves the hotel and walks downtown to Maria’s apartment. She invites him in. The way this was edited makes me laugh. How is she home? I imagine her dashing through an underground tunnel to beat him there. I know it’s supposed to be the next day or whatever, but the movie doesn’t say that.
Maria explains how she was Dominguez’s mistress until being discarded for a younger woman named Silvia who exists only as archival footage. I can’t figure out where she’s from. However, I did locate the source of the boob-on-ball footage in Mac-10 and Dracula in Vegas. It’s Wendy’s Naughty Night (1972). Grant sees what’s going on now. Maria is robbing Dominguez as payback. Maria gets really defensive. She insists it’s not like that and tells Grant to leave.
That’s exactly what’s happening! Don’t trust her, Grant! I’d call this gaslighting, but I hate that word because young people use it for everything now. Oh, you don’t agree with me? Gaslighting! Grant apologizes. He’s under vagnosis. At one point, he asks Maria if she’s ever broken a law. She answers no. Untrue. This is conspiracy to commit armed robbery.
While Dominguez tells Silvia, i.e. footage of a woman in heavy blue eye shadow applying fake lashes, to hurry up for their meeting with the president of Mexico, Grant buys a Winchester shotgun from a pawn shop.
Elsewhere, Millard confronts Geraldo in some kind of abandoned bar. “Hey, mayn, you fucked my woman last night. I’m going to kill you.” he says in a half-assed Mexican accent. Everyone in this movie is so direct. No beating around the bush, except in the sex scenes.
“I fucked your sister last week and the week before that I fucked your mother.” Geraldo laughs.
The men blast their guns because this is Gunblast! Millard hits the dirt. Geraldo returns to his drink. That’s how you handle a motherfucker. He might as well piss in Millard’s mouth, cos that shit was humiliating.
Geraldo steps through a doorway. “The Governor General has left for Mexico city and he’s left me in charge of everything at the ranch while he’s gone. Everything.” he announces to footage of Silvia feeling herself up on a bed. Knowing Geraldo, he already watched Dominguez’s sister and mother do likewise.
“Then I must do everything you order me to do.” Millard’s wife replies on Silvia’s behalf. Does the topless woman look in Geraldo’s direction, or in any way acknowledge him? Do they interact physically? No! She’s not real.
After about twenty minutes, the movie slows down considerably. Grant and Maria drive South, stay at various hotels, formulate a plan on the fly, and have sex two more times. There’s a lot of driving and talking. The movie is one of Millard’s longest at roughly sixty-five minutes. It could have been half that. It’s missing the ridiculous dialogue of Millard’s hardcore pornos, absurdity of his shot-on-video titles, and emotional impact of Alcatraz Breakout. Overall, it’s an ok if boring road movie with flashes of brilliance. I’d be happy to reappraise it and update my screenshots if anyone knows where to watch a higher quality version. Who knows, there may be a Blu-ray sooner rather than later. Millard’s daughter Valerie told me as soon as she gets settled into her new home in Florida, she’s going to start taking steps to get all his movies back in circulation and may answer a few questions for me.
The ending is anticlimactic. Grant ambushes the heroin dealers on a desert highway in exactly the same manner Eskinazi did. He quickly loses control of the situation. This leads to a shootout between Grant and Geraldo where they take turns popping out from behind cover to fire on each other until Grant is hit in the shoulder. This forces Maria to get involved. She slowly drives toward Geraldo. He dives out of the way, allowing Grant to gain the upper hand once again. He and Maria escape with a bag full of money, effectively signing their death warrants by leaving Geraldo alive. Surely Dominguez knows Maria’s address and the addresses of her relatives. Who will survive? Just when you think it’s going to wrap up without showing Nick Millard’s house, Geraldo bursts through the front door.