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Keeping It Warm – The Lost Films Of Amir Shervan

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.

There is also a French VHS release under the name American Murder.

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…

Young Rebels

Look at that damn cover! A guy who looks like Roddy Piper, a shotgun, a helicopter and an explosion. Perfect.

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. 

Gypsy

(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.

————————

UPDATE!

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

Discussion

70 thoughts on “Keeping It Warm – The Lost Films Of Amir Shervan

  1. Hell yeah! Thanks for aggregating all the info available. I’ve been trying valiantly to track down a copy of any of these (to no avail).

    Funny enough, a month ago, I found a trailer out there for Killing American Style (www.ugoto.com/video_killing_american_style_preview.html) – looks like a fantastic terrible romp, though the lead is no Matt Hannon. The website that originally posted the full movie is down, and the author doesn’t seem to be interested in responding to my messages. But I’m holding out hope.

    Posted by Nick | July 25, 2011, 7:23 pm
  2. Hi Nick, thanks for reading! Glad this article was of interest to someone haha

    I was going to include that trailer in the article, but at the time ugoto was down. Typical. I have since then downloaded it just in case it disappears for good. Just so I have proof that the movie actually exists ha.

    Let me know if you hear from the guy that posted the trailer. I MUST see this movie.

    Thanks again for reading!

    Posted by Chris | July 25, 2011, 8:04 pm
    • Great dig! I’m a huge fan of Amir Shervan and I actually manage a good-bad movie website as well.
      I would love for a late release of these gems (even samurai cop was rotting away in Rome until discovered and released)
      Check out my site, http://www.bombmovs.com
      I’m looking for passionate contributors. And any likewise fan of Amir Shervan is welcome to contribute!
      Keep it warm.

      Posted by Blake Bobechko | January 7, 2013, 9:44 pm
  3. Awesome Article… Just got to keep Samurai Cop going Viral… And maybe with enough popularity someone will Pop up with Killing American Style. Both these movies should be released in Theaters. If “The Room” can do it then this one can for sure, 10x better and stupider than The Room

    Posted by Eric | July 27, 2011, 3:53 am
  4. By the way I really hope someone finds Killing American Style, I don’t think it will top Samurai Cop, but It will be up there

    Posted by Eric | July 27, 2011, 3:54 am
  5. Joselito Rescober (mr gay cuban waiter himself!) and producer of Amir’s later movies is still kicking around! Check out the footage he posted from Killing American Style.

    Posted by Nick | July 27, 2011, 10:27 pm
  6. Fantastic! How did you manage to find that? Killing American Style isn’t the title of the vid or even in the tags. Nice work my friend.

    Posted by Chris | July 27, 2011, 10:45 pm
  7. Joselito was a producer on Amir’s other films and is still a practising doctor out in LA. I was trying to track down an address and stumbled across his portfolio.

    Posted by Nick | July 28, 2011, 2:42 pm
  8. Ah, nice one! I wonder if we pester him enough he’ll put the whole movie online?

    I’m also wondering if he has copies of Young Rebels & Gypsy too.

    Posted by Chris | July 28, 2011, 6:27 pm
  9. Im so glad I found this article. Killing American Style has been my obsession ever since I discovered Amir Shervan. Ive been searching for this damn movie everywhere with no luck.

    Posted by bukowski1980 | July 30, 2011, 7:21 pm
    • i played as an actor in this movie and have the full copy

      Posted by jesse | June 27, 2012, 1:28 am
      • Hello jesse! Are you able to post this video online or possibly make a duplicate? I don’t want to intrude on wafu’s site so I will let him contact you further on this matter but I would apprecitate it if you contact me on facebook to further discuss your role and ask you some questions if you have time. If you “like” the amir shervan facebook page I will contact you from there. If this doesn’t work for you please let me know. http://www.facebook.com/amirshervan Thank you!

        Posted by Andrew Martin | June 27, 2012, 2:00 am
    • The jobs done! Patrick Cooper first posted this with help from (I believe) Buck Striker. Then the German DVD video was combined with the English audio. Enjoy!

      Posted by Andrew Martin | January 7, 2013, 11:30 pm
  10. Hey Bukowski, welcome to Wafu.

    It’s frustrating being obsessed with Shervan’s post-Samurai Cop movies isn’t it? hehe

    Posted by Chris | July 30, 2011, 7:52 pm
  11. Dude you cant even imagine! Heres an example of my love for Shervan : I drove three hours to go see a double feature of hollywood cop and samurai cop at a movie theatre called Cinefamily in west Hollywood.It was a packed house of some people who had never seen either movie. It was such a fun night.

    Posted by bukowski1980 | July 30, 2011, 11:29 pm
  12. Ah yeah i heard about that double bill screening, bet it was fantastic!

    Posted by Chris | July 31, 2011, 12:02 am
  13. We need to get the Cinema Snob to review Samurai Cop. It would be a match made in heaven!!

    Posted by bukowski1980 | July 31, 2011, 10:50 am
  14. I get the feeling from watching the trailer and reading about killing American style that Amir was doing his own version of a movie called desperate hours.Both plots sound very similar.

    Posted by bukowski1980 | August 1, 2011, 8:18 am
  15. I’ve left a message on the good Dr’s YouTube page asking if he’ll upload more, or all, of Killing American Style. Fingers crossed!

    Posted by Chris | August 5, 2011, 10:26 pm
  16. Hi Chris, I’m doing a little research on Amir’s films, particularly Samurai Cop. Specifically, I’m interested in the status of the film rights at this point. It seems as though all distribution has completely stopped, and I don’t know enough about entertainment law to know whether or not Amir’s death has any effect on (what I could best describe as) intellectual property rights. If you have found any information as to “ownership” of the film, I’d be very interested to hear about it. Thanks for your very interesting article!

    Posted by Nancy | August 8, 2011, 7:02 am
  17. Hi Nancy, glad you enjoyed it. I did briefly see if I could find this out when I was writing the article, but couldn’t find anything. Your best bet is to contact Media-Blasters who released Samurai Cop on DVD – http://www.media-blasters.com/

    Posted by Chris | August 8, 2011, 1:44 pm
  18. Wow, so glad I found this article. Im just happy to know that Im not the only one obsessed with seeing Killing American Style. Thanks for hipping me to the other 2 Shervan movies. Now I have new unobtainable movies to obsess over…

    Posted by Tony O'Neill | August 12, 2011, 8:03 pm
  19. Bukowski, since you seem to live nearer to LA then the rest of us, maybe you should check up on Dr. Rescober. Or in true Amir fashion: hold him hostage until he hands over the movies. Just sayin’ 😉

    Posted by Nick | August 13, 2011, 1:42 am
  20. Great idea !!! i’ll go to his office with a camera and make him recite his dialogue from Samurai cop and than ill threatin him by saying that if he does’nt give me the movies ill show his patients his Oscar winning acting!!! LOL

    Posted by bukowski1980 | August 14, 2011, 9:35 am
  21. Thank you very much for this very interesting article about Amir Shervan, a man who is also legendary in France, where I live.

    I can give you a little bit more information : in january, a website called contagion movies made the movie “killing american style” shortly available. I was like crazy the day I saw that. Unfortunately, their server couldn’t handle the awesomeness of such a movie, and I never managed to download more than the 10 first minutes, which seemed quite fantastic. The people of contagion movies told me then that their site would be quickly fixed, but instead of that, they closed it. So, this means that THESE people have the movie. It’s not very helpful, but if you can find these people back, the you may find the movie.

    Otherwise, it’s good that you talk about french versions of these lost movies. I am a part of people who collects VHS movies (and dvd too). It’s called nanarland, and this website could really interrest you, because it’s full of informations and interviews (the interviews are also available in english). I will try to find the french versions and if I find them, then I will talk about it here.

    Sorry for my english, as you’ve guessed, I’m french.

    Posted by kevo42 | October 4, 2011, 12:40 pm
  22. Hey Kevo, thanks for stopping by!

    I came across Contagion’s trailer for ‘Killing American Style’ a few weeks before writing the article, right away I went looking for their website, but obviously found nothing. It’s a shame they just closed down. The movie looks looks pretty amazing.

    I’ll definetly check out Narnarland. Sounds cool!

    Posted by Chris | October 5, 2011, 4:35 pm
  23. I think I’ve found where you can buy the French VHS of Killing american style and Young Rebels.
    http://www.priceminister.com/offer/buy/1890185/American-Murder-VHS.html
    http://www.priceminister.com/offer/buy/6510893/Young-Rebels-VHS.html

    Posted by Daniel | November 8, 2011, 11:20 am
  24. Anyone have any luck finding these? Just stumbled on Samurai Cop and Hollywood Cop and my friends and I have been watching them both on repeat for the last three days. I simply must get my hands on this guy’s other films. (BTW ‘The Intruder’ is also fantastic, whoever mentioned it in the earlier post. In fact check out ALL of director Arizal’s films, particular the ones with Peter O’Bryan. Pure 80s action goodness!) Keep this thread updated if anyone comes across these films! Samurai Cop and Hollywood Cop are on Cinemageddon, but the others don’t seem to be, unless they go by other names?

    Posted by Gray | December 28, 2011, 4:04 am
  25. i want to buy young rebels movie , does anyone has it on dvd?

    Posted by jag | January 30, 2012, 8:20 am
  26. Hey! This is Oh Mars from the Mishka Bloglin. Great to see there’s so many others rabid to see KAM and thanks for correcting my name mistake.

    That “Buck Striker” gentleman did in fact email me and even sent me a disc containing two clips from KAM. Both clips featured Mr. Striker and one had Z’Dar in it as well. I’ll get the clips online at some point – I made a copy for the VHS gurus at Everything Is Terrible and they’re supposed to premiere them on their site soon.

    PS: I’m a dude.

    Posted by Patrick Cooper | February 29, 2012, 9:59 pm
  27. I have the DVD of Killing American Style, i found it in germany.
    Anyone have a copy of Young rebels or where i can buy the movie ?

    Posted by Tommy | March 31, 2012, 6:29 pm
  28. Hey guys, Hope someone gets this in time to snag a copy of this. It looks like you need to pay a 3 Euro fee to get age verified on this site.. enough to turn me away but there IS apparently one copy of Killing American Style up for auction there… I Really hope someone here is motivated enough to buy it and put it online. Thanks in advance!

    http://www.filmundo.de/raritaeten-filme-ab-18/videokassetten/***FSK%2018%20DVD%20Film***_art_3967328.html

    Posted by Andrew Martin | April 24, 2012, 2:24 pm
  29. Also, Possibly a copy of young rebels here. I can’t vouch for any of these sites: http://www.priceminister.com/offer/buy/6510893/Young-Rebels-VHS.html

    Posted by Andrew Martin | April 24, 2012, 9:52 pm
  30. sorry to blow up this thread but did anyone else notice that the guy posting the video on youtube for the Killing American Style clip above appears to be the actor from the movie himself? It also looks like he is same guy playing the flamboyant waiter role from samurai cop (based on the fact that it is in the next clip on his video portfolio). I’m assuming he personally new Amir and many of the actors , maybe he will have some insight into all things Amir including how to get a copy of his other movies to put online? Just an idea

    Posted by Andrew Martin | April 24, 2012, 10:03 pm
  31. one last thing.. looks like this is the vhs art for Gypsy (appears at the end of video 6/6 from Che’s youtube site)
    http://imgur.com/rKBDr

    Posted by Andrew Martin | April 24, 2012, 10:38 pm
  32. last, last thing: made a facebook fan page, would love to make it the place to collaborate on our efforts to get his other movies online, more info on him revealed, etc.. I think I have a pretty good start so far, please check it out: http://www.facebook.com/AmirShervan

    Posted by Andrew Martin | April 25, 2012, 6:01 am
  33. Nice work on finding the Gypsy site, Andrew.

    I’m sort of wary of using my credit card on a random european website (especially since I can’t read it), plus I don’t have any VHS player, not to mention one that could play tapes with foreign regional encoding…

    Snoog, if you want to go for it, I’m willing to cover the costs. Just shoot me your paypal info.

    Posted by Nick | April 25, 2012, 12:21 pm
  34. Hi Nick, I would got for it if it was a more reputable and well known site, but like you i’m a bit wary. Plus although I have a VHS player (a temperamental, tape eating one at that) I don’t have any way of transferring it. But if anyone else wants to go for it, I’ll also chip in for some of the cost.

    Although the only thing about the KAS and Gyspy tapes is that they’ll be dubbed in German and French.

    Awesome find Andrew, I’ll add the covert art to the article!

    Posted by Snoog | April 27, 2012, 3:17 pm
    • I was thinking the same thing, that the site looks a bit shady. It looks like killing american style will be the easiest of the 3 to obtain so I’m gonna pass on that site.. I’d be more interested if there was a buy it now option but paying 3$, euros or w/e (not to mention giving your paypal or cc info) just to be able to bid seems like a bad move. I’ve got a couple leads I’m working on but nothing for sure yet. ill post whatever i find along my journey on the facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/AmirShervan) and probably this site since this seems to be a nice gathering spot for info sharing.

      Posted by Andrew Martin | April 27, 2012, 11:11 pm
  35. Nice one sir! Loving the facebook page, been posting a couple of things on there today (Chris Armstrong 🙂

    Posted by Snoog | April 27, 2012, 11:14 pm
    • thanks chris (or do you prefer snoog?) i was actually inspired to create it after reading this page so i’m glad to hear you approve. my passion was reignited when i saw that there are 3 movies of his i haven’t seen and not just the 1 i already knew of (killing american style). After seeing this site and watching the first clip of k.a.s. i felt a fire build up in my soul that can only be extinguished by a blanket and fire extinguisher combo or by seeing those 3 movies. And I dont want my lips to be too burned to be able to talk for a couple of weeks so i’m very much hoping i can find those movies

      How did you first hear about samurai cop / hollywood cop? I bought Hollywood Cop for 50 cents in a barrel of movies that weren’t renting well at a local movie rental place almost 20 years ago, my brother and i loved the beverly hills cop series and we were waiting for part 3 to come out so it was a no brainer when i saw the box. we watched it that day i think 3 times in a row. we were laughing so hard we cried, i remember playing the part where the rapist gets his head cut off in slow motion over and over again and laughing hysterically as the styrofoam head rolled down the hill… good times. I didn’t find out about samurai cop until a few years ago when i was ordering a copy of hollywood cop for a friend but i can honestly say i haven’t had as much fun watching any other movie than either of those two.

      its a real shame that shervan died before his movies went cult classic but i wonder if he would be amused or offended by the fact that people love the movie for the wrong reasons.

      Posted by Andrew Martin | April 28, 2012, 1:45 am
  36. I came across Samurai Cop through Youtube about 3 or 4 years ago whilst just going from video to video (and as usual forgetting what I was looking for to begin with ha), being a fan of “so bad they’re good” movies it was right up my alley and got a hold of it soon after, the YT channel also had a few clips of Hollywood Cop so that went on my “must see” list too…(Here’s the channel, its a treasure trove of scenes from obscure exploitation and trailers – http://www.youtube.com/user/brujaria/videos)

    I’m not sure what Shervan would think, but maybe he would be flattered. It does seem like his films didn’t have much luck on the distribution side of things, what with his later work only being available in Europe and that story of Samurai Cop being found in a vault somewhere gathering dust until someone found it and realised they had found the holy grail of bad movies. I think he’d just be happy that people were watching and enjoying them.

    I really want to know what Matt Hannon thinks of Samurai Cop’s cult status…Would love to interview him for the blog. I’ve tried tracking him down, but either he’s dead, changed his name, or Matt Hannon wasn’t even his real name to begin with, because there isn’t a trace of him anywhere.

    Posted by Snoog | April 28, 2012, 2:06 pm
  37. I’m looking at showing Samurai Cop as part of a bad movies festival, but I need to know who still holds the copyright for the film now that Amir has passed. I know his production company Hollywood Royal Pictures owns the copyright but is it still in existence? Please help!

    Posted by Eric Capps | May 15, 2012, 7:55 am
  38. Killing American Style download: tinyurl.com/aoemz6v
    — facebook.com/AmirShervan

    Posted by Martin Andrew | December 10, 2012, 7:23 pm
  39. HI this is Alexander Virden. I just stumbled across this article and reading these quotes from one of my web pages made me feel like it came across wrong. My comments were meant to poke fun at my film career, which was limited in scope, as I’m more concerned with my writing and just did a few acting gigs. I truly enjoyed working with Amir, his crew, and the rest of the cast and I have deep respect for all of them. Sure it was campy, shoe string, movie making, but I had a lot of fun doing it and have very fond memories of it. I never expected to see my comments displayed in the fashion they are here. Amir’s films are campy fun and if you enjoy the type of film, I recommend watching them with friends and a couple of beers. I’m currently working on restoring an old rural hotel as an art center and animation school and my website is http://www.ozarts.org

    Posted by my52pickup | November 4, 2013, 12:38 am
  40. Who played the horny nurse?

    Posted by Shawn Watson | March 12, 2016, 12:11 am

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: #38 Samurai Cop (1989) | Filmjunkiene - July 16, 2012

  2. Pingback: Samurai Cop and the films of Amir Shervan | Bristol Bad Film Club - August 22, 2013

  3. Pingback: Samurai Cop (1991) - Amir Shervan, Robert Z'Dar - Worst Movies Ever Made - January 18, 2014

  4. Pingback: Killing American Style | super cult show super blog - April 26, 2014

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