One of the world's most notorious and widely banned animal bloodsports may have found its cinematic masterpiece in Monte Hellman's Cockfighter, but the award for the weirdest film on the subject has to be Supercock, also circulated on VHS from Paragon under the title Fowl Play. Shot in the Philippines with much of the cast and crew from Wonder Women, it's mostly an amiable goofball comedy about an unsavory subject -- at least until it comes time to show the big match for real in the last ten minutes, when it turns into a disturbing act of animal sadism. However, at the time that wasn't considered such a big deal (and definitely nowhere near the levels of Italian cannibal films), so the film got off with a PG rating (never mind the dozens of "cock" puns throughout)... and will likely never be released in the U.K. in any form. Today it's most valuable as a vehicle for late star Ross Hagen, a drive-in movie and TV perennial who appeared in everything from The Mini-Skirt Mob to Star Slammer and a wave of '90s erotic thrillers.
Here Hagen has one of his most genial roles as Seth Calhoun, who brings his prize fighter, Friendly, to Manila to compete in the country's biggest cockfighting competition. Though he's sure he has the strongest, most determined cock around, the Nono brothers have a fix on the local competition and will go to any lengths to ensure that this foreign cowboy's cock doesn't come out on top. That means anything from trying to swipe Friendly on the street to engaging in gunfire, but Seth finds an ally in one of the brothers' helpers, Yuki (Kwan), which whom he becomes romantically entangled, and over-the-hill vet fixer G.I. Joe (Lorea), who teaches him the local tricks of the trade and the pitfalls of mingling with people who aren't afraid to get down and dirty.
Complete with an animated main title sequence or more local color than a dozen Vic Diaz films, Supercock is a time capsule like no other and a far cry from anything you'd see being made for the mainstream market today. It's a little difficult to make out exactly who this was originally intended for, but that's also part of the charm as the tone veers from crime film to slapstick comedy to romance to savage animal competition document. How much of that works will be up to the individual viewer's taste, but there's never been anything else quite like it.
Fortunately Garagehouse Pictures saw the value in this film and didn't cock it up on its way to Blu-ray in 2019, taken from the sole surviving film element (a print in Hagen's possession). All things considered it looks great; colors are understandably on the faded side but it's in fine condition with very minimal damage and great detail. It's certainly the best this has looked in decades, if one ever had a chance to even see it at all. The main titles are letterboxed at 1.66:1, wit the rest of the feature at 1.78:1. The DTS-HD MA English mono audio is also obviously limited by the source material but clean and pleasant all the same. Complete with an insert mini-poster, the Blu-ray also comes with two substantial bonus features, starting off with an audio commentary Fred Olen Ray. He had no connection to this film but did work a lot with Hagen and rubbed shoulders with a lot of the people involved, so he's full of stories about the heyday of scrappy U.S./Filipino filmmaking. Incidentally, this film was the directorial handiwork of Gus Trikonis, a familiar name to drive-in patrons thanks to a slew of films he churned out right after this including The Swinging Barmaids, Nashville Girl, Moonshine County Express, and The Evil. Also included is an archival 2007 audio interview with Hagen (10m10s) by Mike Malloy about the actor's time in the Philippines where he ended up alongside other stars like John Ashley and Pam Grier. As usual, you also get a Garagehouse trailer reel including The Intruder, The Dismembered, The Satanist, Ninja Busters, and the first two Trailer Trauma volumes.