Who is Amir Shervan?
Well, if you listened to my old podcast or you, like me, have a fascination with movie’s that tread the fine line between cinematic catastrophe and comedy master-class, you will know that he is the writer and director of two of the holy grails of trash action cinema: Samurai Cop (home of the term “WAFU!”) & Hollywood Cop.
But, there are three more films to Shervan’s filmography that seem to have been lost in the ether.
Now, at first all I knew of was a film called Killing American Style, which once again stars Robert Z’dar aswell as Jim Brown. Recently I came across a trailer for the seemingly impossible to find film, and lo and behold it looks as “fantastic” as Samurai Cop. But whilst on the trail of the movie, I came across a post on http://mishkanyc.com about the greatness of Amir Shervan’s cheese fests, when I see a fella called Buck Striker in the comments section recalling his time filming Killing American Style as well as two more films for Shervan. My mind was just about blown…They are titled Young Rebels and Gypsy.
Now, I’ve been in detective mode lately…Either trying to find a place to buy these movie’s or just find out some info about them…Considering how popular clips of Samurai Cop are on YouTube, I’m sure there’s other poor souls/gluttons for punishment out there like myself who are looking for these films, so here’s what I’ve discovered in my investigations…
Killing American Style
From what I can gather, the only place you could get a legit DVD release of the movie was Germany, but the DVD was German language only and now seems to be out of print.
This wonderful picture, which looks like it should be in a catalogue that caters to troubled gay couples who are looking to adopt, was found on the aforementioned http://mishkanyc.com. In the article, the author Oh Mars, says that he recently purchased the picture on eBay from a seller based in Pakistan. He also notes that the “gentleman” in the center is a buffed up Matt Hannon…I wish it was, but Harold Diamond is credited as being in the film (Who you might remember battling Stallone in the opening stick fight of Rambo III) and that fella looks quite a bit like Mr Diamond. Shervan must’ve had a thing for folks who worked with Stallone, what with Z’dar and his role in Tango & Cash, Harold Diamond and a fact that I found out recently, that Matt “Samurai Cop” Hannon was once a bodyguard for Stallone. Mind blown again.
Lastly I found the memoirs of a chap called Baron Alexander (Alexander Virden) who acted in these three lost gems…Of Killing American Style he says
I played the younger bother of Robert Z’Dar and broke him off a prison bus. Robert was the Maniac Cop and a lot of action film watchers call him that guy with the JAW. It all ends in tears. We both die in the end. The movie was a rip off of Big Jake, and is the most coherent of the three.
You read that? “most coherent of the three”. Young Rebels and Gypsy should be OUTSTANDING then! Speaking of which…
Not much information out there about this one, apart from obviously it was available in France at some point judging by that VHS cover.
Also, according to the aforementioned Buck Striker, Tony Curtis (!?) was apparently lined up to star in the movie but changed his mind (probably saw Samurai Cop). And, seemingly “as usual” it also stars Robert Z’dar.
The film also sees the return of Aldo Ray to Shervan-Land.
Baron Alexander on Young Rebels…
In Young Rebels I played the younger brother of a guy I recognized from commercials, but I can’t remember his name. My role: I was always getting into trouble, looking for the easy way, and he had to always bail me out, but he didn’t do a very good job. I, thankfully, died about 30 minutes into the movie. This movie was, unfortunately not ripped off from anything, that I could discern, and honestly after I died, it stopped making any sense. I did meet one of the two cops from Plan 9 from Outer Space, but his acting hadn’t improved. The script was written by an Iranian, in his second language of English, so the dialogue didn’t exactly role off the tongue. It took all day for him to get his lines out and I didn’t do anything that day but laugh at first, then cringe as everyone started to get irritable. It did add a day of shooting to my scheduled, which I didn’t mind, since as a co-star I was making all of twice as much, as I made as an extra, excuse me background talent, in movies made by studios. Even though the food was so much better on the studio films that it probably made up the difference, plus there was no overtime for the co-starring roles.
(Thanks to Andrew Martin for finding the poster art)
This one is like rocking horse shit, not a trace of it anywhere…except of course Mr Virden’s recollections of his time on the movie…
Gypsy, my final big role, actually had a plot. The plot of the movie Billy Jack, I think some of the dialogue was actually lifted directly from the movie. I played, be prepared, wait for it, the younger brother who got into trouble. If you’ve seen Billy Jack, you know the role. Not particularly flattering, but I did what I could with it.
So, those are my discoveries…I’m just hoping they will be of interest to someone out there. I’m sure this is the only in depth article on the net dedicated to the lost films of Amir Shervan…I’m kinda proud of that. Should I be? Probably not…Happy hunting and more importantly, keep it warm.
Edit: I’m very pleased at the reaction this article has gotten and glad i am not alone in my obsession with the works of Shervan. Be sure to check out and join in the comments section, there are many more hidden Amir treasures to behold there.
A lot has changed since this article first went online. Wafu reader Andrew Martin started a Facebook page for fans of Shervan, tirelessly searching and compiling as much information about the man and his movies as possible, and since then Killing American Style was found thanks to a member of the page and uploaded to YouTube. So that was one down, two to go…
Then a few days ago whilst checking twitch film I saw that Cinema Epoch will be re-releasing Samurai Cop on DVD, a special edition to boot with new interviews with Z’Dar, Okumura and the films cinematographer as well as a theatrical re-release in April. Andrew then got in contact with Cinema Epoch and found out that not only will they be releasing Samurai Cop but also Killing American Style, Young Rebels..and hopefully a Shervan boxed set eventually! They are also in possession of Gypsy but are waiting on good materials before they officially announce a release.
So for all the latest news on Shervan and the releases of the once lost movies make sure you head on over to the Amir Shervan Facebook page. And make sure to pick up the special edition of Samurai Cop when its released Feb 28th (Head here to pre-order)
Thanks to all who made all of this great news possible