"We're still at war, Plissken. We need him alive."

"I don't give a fuck about your war... or your president."

Angel

tn_angelANGEL is a story about a young girl named Molly (Donna Wilkes from JAWS 2 and GROTESQUE) who lives near Hollywood Boulevard and buses out to the North Oaks Prep School. She gets straight A’s, she seems very innocent, and when a super nerd at school (who looks easily 35, but it’s okay because she’s 24 in real life) asks her on a date she turns him down by saying her mom says she’s too young to date. I thought she might be telling the truth, but after school she goes back to the boulevard, where everyone calls her Angel, she puts on makeup and starts walking the strip. Yep, our little angel is a teenage prostitute. It quickly becomes clear that she’s paying her own way through school, and that there’s a reason she’s not letting anyone into the room where she says her paralyzed mother is holed up.

“High School Honor Student by Day. Hollywood Hooker by Night,” is the tagline on the poster. That sounds like it’s supposed to be a shocking and gritty portrait of Hollywood’s seedy underbelly, but that’s not the approach the movie takes. It’s completely sympathetic to the prostitutes, and it’s a love letter to the eccentrics of that neighborhood, the weird lifestyles that sprout up in the wake of failed dreams. Angel’s best friends are a guy who says he’s Kit Carson (played by the prolific western actor Rory Calhoun), a guy who does yo yo tricks (Steven M. Porter, LEPRECHAUN IN THE HOOD), and a fellow lady of the night named Mae who is what I guess you would call a female impersonator (played by Dick Shawn, the voice of Snow Miser, and face of the hologram that Hooter throws an egg on in CAPTAIN EO).

Susan Tyrrell as landlord Solly
Susan Tyrrell as landlord Solly

Angel is friends with the street performers, the 24 hour diner owners and the people who scrub the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She walks by jugglers, street preachers, Hare Krishnas, rollerskaters and a guy on one of those old timey bicycles with a giant wheel on the front. Her landlord is Susan Tyrrell, rocking crazy makeup, spiked hair and suspenders. Angel butters her up by hanging her terrible paintings in the apartment.

At school Angel deals with normal problems. Some asshole jocks call her a slut when she turns them down, her teacher (Elaine Giftos) wants her to take part in extracurricular activities, stuff like that. But not surprisingly her night life is worse. Some psycho is going around chopping up prostitutes. Of course nobody knows who it is, but we keep seeing him, some weirdo who works out shirtless, manically scrubs himself with a brush and lustily sucks raw eggs straight out of the shells. He’s played by John Diehl (KICKBOXER 2, FIRE DOWN BELOW). We hear that he’s a necrophile, and when he’s about to live up to the description the soundtrack acts like it’s a romantic love scene.

mp_angelOf course the killer gets some of Angel’s friends, and Angel gets mad. Lieutenant Andrews (Cliff Gorman, GHOST DOG) is on the trail, but not making much headway. He’s introduced talking about the case with a beat cop while eating an ice cream cone, then he hands the cone to the other officer when he leaves.

Andrews starts following Angel around after she sees the killer. It’s from a distance and in the dark, but she’s the best lead he has. He gets a lucky break when he puts the killer in a lineup. Angel doesn’t recognize him, but he’s crazy enough to steal a cop’s gun and shoot his way out.

So the killer is specifically after her now, and she’s not gonna take it lightly. She buys a gun from the black market (delivered to her hidden in a  box of fried chicken) and gets Kit to train her how to shoot. That comes in handy when the assholes from school see her on the street and try to gang rape her. Two birds with one stone.

It’s not a straight-up action or revenge movie, but I really like it. It’s all about friendship between outcasts and weirdos. And it has great on-location shooting, really showing the personality of touristy Hollywood at the time – the architecture, the lights, the signage, the people, and an appropriately ’80s soundtrack. A good time capsule. Just when I was trying to place exactly which stretch of the ’80s this was filmed in I noticed this fancy RETURN OF THE JEDI marquee (upper left corner):
still_angel1
And later this one for BLUE THUNDER:
still_angel_bluethunder
The plot is nothing out of the ordinary, but it’s peppered with lots of fun strangeness. There’s Mae, wearing a dress but no wig, in a knock down, apartment smashing brawl with the killer, who’s disguised as a Hare Krishna. Angel terrifying tourists by walking down the crowded sidewalk at night holding a gun – I’m convinced some or all of those people were real. Kit Carson riding bitch with some random biker looking for her. Any scene with Susan Tyrrell. Even the standard scene where the Lieutenant is telling the skeptical locals to give him a call if they have any information seems unique because these are the locals:

still_angel_locals
Director/co-writer Robert Vincent O’Neill wrote THE MIGHTY GORGA and the sorta-similar-to-this VICE SQUAD. The director of photography was ABOVE THE LAW/UNDER SIEGE director Andrew Davis, his last in that role as he was transitioning to director, and that’s probly why it looks a little slicker than your average b-movie of the era.

Something about that cover always put me off, I pictured this being one of those terrible movies with a big-haired Playboy model doing slow kicks and firing guns, delivering lines like she’s reading off a card. In fact Wilkes is very natural and likable in the role, young and girlish (though not as young as she’s playing) but good humored and sure of herself. You can see why all these weirdos like her and are protective of her. And yes, it’s got the gratuitous shower shots and what not that you’d expect, but it never feels like exploitation is high on the list of goals. It has way more heart than it has sleaze. But a little sleaze, don’t get me wrong. It’s a special little movie.

Special thanks to Franchise Fred, who suggested this when I asked for a good movie series to follow up the LETHAL WEAPONs with.


This entry was posted on Monday, January 20th, 2014 at 1:32 pm and is filed under Crime, Reviews, Thriller. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

65 Responses to “Angel”

  1. I put off seeing this one for years because it seemed more like a Skinemax flick than a film of badass cinema. But a friend who knows her trash finally convince me to watch it, and like Vern, I was instantly won over by its heart and atmosphere. Most movies of this bent (what my buddy Drew Barnhardt of MURDER LOVES KILLERS TOO fame would call a “Neon Slime” film) have a moralistic streak, where you’re supposed to get a sick, voyeuristic thrill from all the depravity on display without actually getting your hands dirty by having to sympathize with anybody. They turn the people lurking on the outer fringes of society into cackling subhumans who must be exterminated. But ANGEL treats them all both as individuals and as a community. It’s an insider’s view of outsiders that makes life on the edge seem surprisingly warm and welcoming. I’ve rarely seen an exploitation movie with this much heart.

    Plus that fight between the killer and the drag queen is really awesome. I love all the leaps and bounds that fight choreography has undergone in the last 30 years, but I think we lost something when they stopped making know down drag out brawls full of haymakers and broken coffee tables.

  2. Since this is available on YouTube I might check this one out. Sounds like a good slice of sleaze.

  3. Seeing the movie poster (which was the same as the VHS cover) I’m immediately transported back to my childhood, standing in the video section at the local Mini Mart while my parents pump gas. I never would’ve even dared hand that box to my mom for rental. I can’t imagine the look or lecture I would’ve gotten, but I always wondered about it.

    By the way, for those in the States, Gina Carano will be on the next episode of Fox’s ALMOST HUMAN, which airs 2/3. It’s been a fun show so far. I hope they use her to her badass potential.

    Here’s a promo for it:

    http://youtu.be/oZjvphuTgnM

  4. “Seeing the movie poster (which was the same as the VHS cover) I’m immediately transported back to my childhood, standing in the video section at the local Mini Mart while my parents pump gas. I never would’ve even dared hand that box to my mom for rental. I can’t imagine the look or lecture I would’ve gotten, but I always wondered about it.”

    Same here. Every time I went to a video store as a kid, the box would catch my eye.

  5. I was working in a video store when this came out, after school job, and I had seen it in the theaters with my degenerate friend Sam. So I knew specifically who I could and who I couldn’t recommend this to. I never wound up recommending the sequel(s?). But for 80’s New World/Cannon B movie goodness. There was definitely a crowd.
    Granted it was the 80’s so we didn’t know what a special time we were living through, but this was something we could all get behind. I even got my mom to watch it BECAUSE of Dick Shawn. She loved him in IT’S A MAD,MAD,MAD WORLD with his whole, “Momma, I’m comin’ !” Sub-subplot. And from his comedy act where he pretended to be the creator of the latest Rock ‘n Roll dance craze, “Do the Cockamamie”. In other words, a film for the whole family.

  6. I caught my mom looking at this movie when I was a kid. She was reading the back, when she realized that I was looking up at the front of the VHS cover. She quickly put it away.

    We ended up watching it about halfway through one night when I was older and liked it. I think I remember a sequel being on the rental shelves.

  7. I own one of the sequels “Avenging Angel” on VHS. I haven’t watched it in years, and maybe only once. So take this as a possibly inaccurate spoiler: as far as I can recall, “Avenging Angel” contains no nudity. That was the reason I bought the damned thing for a dollar at Woolworths. Sorry to jump the gun if Vern is planning a retrospective of the series.

    But I am intrigued by this review. The presence of Dick Shawn is enough to make me watch it, too. And Vice Squad is a terrific grimy treat.

  8. After watching the sleazy SAVAGE STREETS with Linda Blair the ANGEL series became a bit too tame for me back in the day.

  9. SAVAGE STREETS is amazing sleaze. I have a special edition of that with commentaries and interviews. Good stuff.

  10. Shoot, do they explain what the hell’s up with John Vernon? He looks and sounds plain crazy in most of his scenes.

  11. I can´t recall. To be honest I have not gone through all the extras yet. But I suppose some explanation should exist somewhere on the dvd. But you can get the swedish dvd extremely cheap (thanks to the guys at the ironically titled distribution company Studio S ) I highly recommend that one!

  12. Maybe he thought he was still playing Dean Vernon Wormer? For those not in the knowing, Vernon acts like he’s just been awakened after a three day bender and says things like “Go fuck an iceberg”. Priceless.

  13. My sister loved this movie. She watched it as often as boys her age watched STAR WARS. I think the whole dual life aspect really appealed to her. She also liked FOXES with Jodi Foster and the one where Whoopi Goldberg goes undercover with Sam Elliott.

    Speaking of “angels”, here are some brief thoughts on Buffy Seasons 5 and 6:

    I like Season 5 a lot, probably more than Season 4. Surely that episode with Dracula is a fan favourite? The season-long antagonist was hilarious, and I love the way Buffy bitch-slapped the Council. They got rid of Potato Head Soldier at exactly the moment he had outlived his usefulness.

    Robot Buffy deserved her own show. She was awesome.

    That was a hell of a thing that they did to Joyce.

    I’m guessing that the Fake Kid Sister character is contentious among the show’s fans. I like the way she was brought into the show, and I think the actor fit the tone of the show well. I think the kid has good comedic timing.

    The writers floundered a bit with Spike, but his chemistry with Fake Kid Sister was almost sweet.

    I was expecting the worst for Season 6. While there are certainly problems with it, I don’t think it’s as joyless and sloppy as I had been led to believe (of course, I like MILLENNIUM, so “joylessness” isn’t necessarily a bad thing in my book). The season constantly surprised me. For example, the long-brewing romance between Spike and Buffy always seemed like a dumb idea, but I have to admit that the moment when Buffy realized she was using Spike for all the wrong reasons, and she addresses this concern to him with compassion and dignity, it was kind of touching. Likewise, the magic-as-addiction stuff was pretty heavy handed, but it resulted in a very compelling season climax (which resembled X-MEN more than Buffy). It’s certainly the most invested in the big final conflict that I’ve been.

    I also like how Former Demon Girl became a demon again. It’s a nice organic way to introduce interesting challenges for the character in the future.

    Most importantly: they completely sidelined their best character (Giles). It was almost worth it for his badass return at the end, but it certainly changed the tone of the episodes without him.

    Does anyone know what the deal is with that? Was the actor occupied with something else? Were they working on a reduced budget? Or did the writers just decide that the show’s patriarch couldn’t be around if they were going to successfully ruin every character’s life for the duration of the season?

    I don’t think the season suffered from too much misery, but rather from the near-identical trajectories each major character underwent. It was a bit inert dramatically. But at least there was Pig Face Guy hanging around. That guy is hilarious.

    And I really like how the Dork Squad villains weren’t immune from the dangers of getting too close to power.

    How cool is it that Potato head Soldier came back as a badass? And he has a badass wife! That was neat.

    Was there a contingent of fans who were angry that Stuttering Witch Girlfriend died? I could see that. It was one of those deaths that was too baldly in service of the plot. She deserved better.

  14. Forgot to mention: The Knights Who Say Key in Season 5 were great. Were they supposed to be hilarious? I don’t know. But I laughed whenever they showed up. That moment in the motor home when Spike grabs one of their swords was the most badass moment in the series.

  15. More badass than that thing Giles does at the end of Season 5? “She’s not like us. She’s a hero.” Giles is a cold motherfucker, no doubt.

    Yes, people hated Dawn and were pissed that Tara died the way she did. The general butt-hurt consensus at the time was that BUFFY was supposed to be about quips and romance, not adult responsibility and devastating emotional trauma, so they just wanted the show to be fun again. I see where they were coming from now, but I started watching with Season 5 so it all seemed perfectly normal to me.

    My favorite pop culture joke reference in the entire series is when Xander refers to Riley and his spy wife as “Nick and Nora Fury.”

  16. I had forgotten about that “not like us” moment. Utterly badass. The actor has such gravity, like when he calls Willow a “rank, arrogant amateur”. For a few moments at the end of Season 6, when I thought they were going to kill off Giles, I was pretty sure I’d never make it through Season 7 without him.

    I had to google the phrase “Giles Willow amateur” in order to get the quote above correct. The first search result was “Giles Willow romantic fan fiction.” And that’s why I confine my discussion of the show to this web site only.

    My favourite joke happened way back at the start of Season 2: “I guess we never knew how much you liked that chair.”

  17. Idi Amin never jacked a thread to talk about Buffy.

  18. I failed internet math. Does that make us better or worse than Hitler?

  19. Well, since the title of the movie in question is ANGEL and from what I understand there is a character in BUFFY called Angel so obviously this was inevitably. There is your math.

  20. I’ve got all three ANGEL movies at home but haven’t got around to seeing them yet. Thanks for the push Vern.

    Pegsman/Shoot, SAVAGE STREETS has been on my radar for a while, I’m gonna track it down. I wanna watch Linda Blair go all Sudden Impact on some arses.

  21. Darren, I hate to break it to you, but there are four ANGEL movies.

  22. Darren- You won´t be disappointed. When it comes to 80´s sleaze that movie gets high marks in that department.

  23. Just curious, Majestyk: Did you watch Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal t.v. show?

  24. Darren, SAVAGE STREETS is on youtube, if you wanna take a look.

  25. Don’t be ridiculous Pegsman, we all know that when a movie in a series such as ANGEL tags itself ‘THE FINAL CHAPTER’, that there will never ever EVER be another one.

  26. Pegs, by the way , what’s it called? I can’t find it on Amazon….

  27. Jareth: Not yet, but I’m curious. Which is incredible in itself, because I’m the guy who thought the character has been so horribly diluted since Ridley Scott butchered him as artlessly as Jamie Gumm did his own victims that he should be retired for, oh, about a hundred years. Yet people keep saying that it’s a good show, with a eye toward the aesthetics of gore, and that intrigues me.

    Shoot: Then there’s the fact that somebody mentioned AVENGING ANGEL, which sounds like a mashup between Whedon’s two most successful franchises, and it was pretty much inevitable.

  28. Yeah, I really like the HANNIBAL tv show. Such great atmosphere. The gory tableaus are baroque and ridiculous in the best way and it has some of the best dream sequences I’ve seen. YMMV depending on your tolerance for CSI-type killer-of-the-week procedurals (mine is pretty low, but I was able to get over it).

    I saw the ANGEL movies available to stream on Crackle or something but they looked a bit too soft-porny for my tastes and I thought the tagline/poster was stupid.

  29. HANNIBAL was my favorite new show from last year, and an utter and total surprise to me. It’s really turned the killer-of-the-week shows on it’s head. The 2nd season starts up next month and I’m very much looking forward to it to say the least.

  30. The wikipedia page for this bad boy is a gem.

    “The film is also at fault for spawning the incredibly bad Disney show named Hannah Montana and is indirectly also the reason that Miley Cyrus is now a complete lunatic.”

  31. Jarrah, I remember the Dracula episode being torn apart by fans and fanboys alike. The biggest criticism was that Dracula was portrayed as the cliche Eurotrash look, which seemed to me to be the point. Spike and the others resented him for, essentially, being too flashy and famewhoring. I admit that I was looking forward to an “epic battle,” and came out underwhelmed, but I didn’t hate the episode.

    Then again, I forgave Buffy a lot during its run, even for Dawn and the whole witchcraft-as-drug-metaphor BS.

  32. I do like that someone took the time to add (reference needed) at the end. At least use a [citation needed] tag, that’s what it’s for.

  33. Darren, ANGEL 4: UNDERCOVER

  34. Majestyk: You’ll be going into HANNIBAL with your eye focussed on its key strength, the “the aesthetics of gore.” If you didn’t mind MILLENNIUM’s baroque take on the genre, HANNIBAL will be a lot of fun for you. Somehow it took less than one episode for me to forget every iteration of the characters that came before it, even SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. There are problems, but some surprising strengths as well.

    ANoniMouse: Why did the Buffy fans hate Fake Kid Sister? To my untrained eyes, she fit quite seamlessly into the show. Was it the preposterous backstory? And did they change their minds in Season 7 when she becomes a hilarious Junior-Asskicker-In-Training?

  35. They hated Dawn because of what she was: a daughter surrogate who forced the protagonist to grow up. Since the fan base at the time was largely comprised of stunted adolescents desperately clinging to emotional immaturity through the liberal application of Manic Panic hair dye, they resented Dawn for making Buffy (the character) into an adult and removing BUFFY (the show) from its roots in the teen angst genre. When Dawn arrived, the show’s concerns went far beyond who Buffy was boinking at any given moment, and a big chunk of the audience couldn’t keep up.

    I’ll admit that she could be kind of annoying. But I have three little sisters myself so she seemed perfectly normal to me. And you’re right for recognize that her relationship to Spike was quite touching. Of course, Spike has phenomenal chemistry with every single female character he’s paired with, from Drusilla and Buffy to Joyce and Anya. Even that one scene he had with Willow in Season 3 was a career highlight for both. Spike just has a way with the ladies that brings out the best in all parties.

  36. They hated Dawn because she was petulant and annoying and whiny and basically a teenager, and in the view of a lot of fans BUFFY had already grown past that. Injecting a teenager into the show, especially the (hilarious) way they did, had a bit of a Cousin Oliver stink to it, and they saw Dawn as a distraction to Buffy’s real adventures instead of, like, the whole point. I didn’t like Dawn much at the time either, to be honest, but upon rewatching years later I was much more appreciative of what they were trying to do.

  37. We ran in different circles because I didn’t know a single fan of Buffy and Angel that hated Dawn because it forced Buffy to become an adult. I think they hated Dawn was because she was whiney at the beginning and some people don’t like when they introduce new characters into shows with major importance like that. That and “Dawn’s in trouble? Must be Tuesday” that annoyed some fans.

  38. That’s just my little pet theory about the psychology behind why people hated her. She fundamentally changed the show by portraying how teenagers actually are (petty, annoying, selfish, not very bright) as opposed to how the show had treated them in the past (noble, charming, heroic, the smartest people in the room). It mirrors how we view our own adolescences: While we’re going through them, we think adults are idiots and we’re these amazing unique snowflakes whose problems are literally the most important things in the entire world. Then we grow older and look at the next generation and see them all as a bunch of whiny little snots who need to get over themselves. Some people have a hard time accepting the idea that their formative years were not the epic adventure they saw them as at the time, but just the awkward fumblings of people who didn’t know who they were or what they were doing. When Dawn showed up, BUFFY could no longer be a show about the glorious solipsism of growing up, because she made it clear that Buffy and her friends already had grown up. Which isn’t as much fun to watch, nor should it be. And that might not be what most people signed on for when they started watching a show called BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER.

  39. Majestyk: I think for similar reasons that’s why they hated her getting with Spike. It shined a light on bad relationship choices we make. (Despite some wicked sex.)

  40. Majestyk, since I started watching the series as an adult I saw everything from a different angle than the fans you’re referring to. And that’s probably why I took the changes better than most. People grow up, that’s life.

  41. Yeah, I was in my mid twenties when I started watching the show, so I totally connected with what the characters were going through at the time. When I backtracked I could see that the first few seasons were superior, but I still think the later years are underrated. There’s some true, true shit going on in there that I haven’t seen many other shows tackle.

    As for the Spike thing, I always liked that it was a case of “Careful what you wish for” fan service. Oh, you shippers want Spike and Buffy to happen? No problem. It’ll just be so creepy that it’ll make your skin crawl. Happy?

  42. You’d think that the same people who disliked Fake Kid Sister because she disrupted the youth-centred solipsism of the show would have really hated that they killed off Joyce. Was that also the case? And did they hate Giles for leaving in order to better facilitate Buffy’s maturation?

    Also, good point about how unique Spike’s relationship with each character is. Remember that flighty girl who showed up as an incompetent vampire girlfriend from time to time in seasons 4 and 5? His barely-contained exasperation was really funny stuff. I’d even extend it to the male characters. Bickering with Giles and Dork Boy is always enjoyable to watch. It was also hilarious to watch him act circles around Angel when they had scenes together.

    But I’m sure all that fans agree that Pig Face Guy was the best, right?

  43. Ah, Harmony. If you continue on to ANGEL (which you should. A weirder show you’re not likely to see.) you’ll see more of her.

    It continues to baffle me that James Marsters is not in everything. He’s a great utility player, able to adapt to any character development and not only shine, but lend some of that shine to his fellow actors. And with a flawless fake British accent, too. I still get disappointed every time I see that the perfectly fine but nothing special James Marsden gets cast in like 14 movies a year when there’s a far superior substitute lurking just four letters away.

    You know what’s pretty good, too? That movie ANGEL.

  44. Nice to see that Clutzy Vampire Girl shows up on ANGEL. Strangely, I’m also looking forward to seeing what they do with Mean Girl. If they develop the characters on ANGEL as much as they did on the parent show, it could be fun.

    I first saw Marsters on an episode of MILLENNIUM. He was terrifying; his performance was mostly limited to brutally precise physical movements. I was disappointed that it wasn’t him playing Kennedy in THE BUTLER.

    I was thinking about your interpretation of the Buffy/Spike romance as a cautionary message to the fans who really wanted to see that pairing happen. I suppose you could see the Buffy Robot in the same light: she represents the kind of Buffy that some fans wanted to see, a Buffy that never changes or matures or develops.

  45. How good was Gellar as the Buffybot? I think she’s a really underrated actress. She’s got great timing, and she can do a lot with body language and facial expressions. She can be pretty one-note as the stalwart hero (Don’t believe me? You still haven’t witnessed Season 7’s innumerable self-righteous pre-battle speeches, which got so insufferable that the show itself started making fun of them) but whenever she’s given something left-of-center to play, like Cave Buffy or Faith Buffy or Love Spell Buffy #1, #2 and #3, she nails it. I get the feeling she’d be happier as a character actor than a leading lady.

    And yes, if you’re into character development, watch ANGEL. Everybody who gets imported from BUFFY grows in ways you never would have guessed.

  46. Jareth- The latter BUFFY seasons are hugely divisive for all the stories you referenced. And it’s hard to argue that (whether you loved those seasons or hated them [I love 5 and 7, find 6 hugely problematic]) Whedon and Co. more or less broke the show in pursuit of something stranger, weirder and richer.

  47. I disliked Dawn because it changed the entire relationship dynamic Buffy had with the others, most specifically her mom. It also kind of felt like it voided everything we’d seen up to that point, because their memories of what happened were altered in some way and who knows how the addition of Dawn, and thus the altered relationships, changed those moments. Like the everything with her family leading up to when Buffy ran away from home – feeling abandoned by her father, with his literal abandonment, and her mother, with her figurative abandonment by not seeing Buffy for what she really was for so long – a slayer and then not accepting it when she was forced to see it. Plus she was whiney. I didn’t hate her, but I didn’t love her. I did love her relationship with Spike, but that was all due to Spike. He could’ve had that relationship with a tree stump and made me buy it.

  48. I don’t think the false memories changed anything. If they did, it was never mentioned. I’d wager the monks made it a point to make Dawn as unobtrusive as possible so as not to make any of the more magic-sensitive members of the Scooby gang twig to what had happened. I imagine everything happened exactly as the show depicted it, except there was an annoying little girl hanging around, possibly spouting adorable malapropisms at inappropriate times.

    Jareth: Did you catch any of the clues announcing Dawn’s coming? They started as early as Season 3, if you can believe it. That’s why the kneejerk reaction to Dawn being shoehorned in to cater to a younger audience always struck me as laughable. You don’t start counting down the days to a character’s big moment more than two years ahead of time if your only goal is to pander.

  49. I meant to add this link: http://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/11798/what-were-the-clues-foreshadowing-dawn-summers-appearing

    I don’t know if there were any clues foreshadowing Angel’s respawning as an older, hotter chick in AVENGING ANGEL or the other sequels but I bet there were. These exploitationeers were clearly playing the long game.

  50. Majestyk: Did you watch either of the SCOOBIE DO movies?

    Brendan: I suspect that fans who champion the early seasons are forgetting how flawed they are. I think the messiness of the show is one of its most endearing defining features.

    Maggie: I can see how fans would feel cheated at the necessary retcon that Fake Kid Sister brought with her. I guess if I was invested at all in the versimilitude of the show it would bother me too. But I see the show as a puzzle that can be taken apart and rearranged on a whim – like when that Nerd Kid magically inserted himself as the lead character for an entire episode, even commandeering the credits.

  51. Yeah, I never took the plotting of BUFFY all that seriously. It’s all about what it means for the characters, not whether it makes consistent logical sense. It’s Herzog’s “ecstatic truth” vs. “the accountant’s truth.”

    Fun fact: Jonathan a.k.a. Nerd Kid grew up to be Emmy-winning screenwriter Danny Strong (GAME CHANGE), writer of LEE DANIEL’S THE BUTLER and the next two HUNGER GAMES movies. Little man is all grows up.

  52. Considering the episode I just watch ends with Nerd Kid taking a knife to the gut, I’d say that counts as a hell of a comeback.

  53. There was a great piece in SFX Vampire Special a few years back, where they named the 50 coolest vampires in movie/TV history – and Spike won. In the victory interview James Marsters said that Joss Whedon disliked both Angel and Spike when they came onboard. He wanted vampires to represent the troubles teenagers go through and that they should die a horrible death at the end of each show. But both Angel and Spike kind of grew on him. Still, all the shit with Spike – the chip, the wheelchair etc – was invented by Whedon to keep him down. A fully functioning Spike would grab so much attention that it would leave little room for the other characters. My wife used to say “girls love Angel, but women og for Spike”. And she’s always right.

  54. Majestyk: I had no idea about the clues leading up to the arrival of Fake Kid Sister. I just assumed that the writers liked the episode where Nerd Kid Johnathan becomes the lead character so much that they stretched to conceit into a more daring adjustment to the show. But now that I see the text you linked to it makes sense. I guess I got into the habit of not listening to anything Dollhouse had to say.

    I did, however, notice that Giles was becoming too awesome and that the writers fitfully alluded to their inability to contain his awesomeness by occasionally preparing the viewer for his departure prior to it happening.

    A buddy just told me that they didn’t know if the show would be picked up for a 6th season, so the death scene at the end of the 5th season was meant to be a series finale. That would explain the righteous epitaph they put on her tombstone.

  55. They actually jumped networks after the 5th season. It went from the WB (is that even still around?) to the CW. They had no idea if they were going to be picked up or where.

    I think I remember that the actor who played Giles wanted to lighten his schedule. He had a family back in England that I’m sure he didn’t get to see much. I think his leaving was a combination of that and Joss Whedon wanting to push Buffy into the adult role, without so much support.

  56. Wasn’t there supposed to be a Giles spinoff with the BBC? Ripper or something? I remember being excited about that 10 years ago when it was being talked about.

  57. Crap, it went from UPN to WB.

  58. I meant WB to UPN. I’m done now.

  59. No, it was the reverse. WB to UPN. Neither of which exist anymore. BUFFY salted the earth when it left.

  60. Beat ’em or burn ’em. Only way to be sure.

  61. Jareth- That, and I think the early seasons are more fun, and based around wish-fulfillment tropes that the later seasons (which grow much, MUCH darker) move away from.

  62. To get back to the movie Angel, I have an answer on why the serial killer was killing. I was an avid viewer of this movie and a friend just gave it to me on dvd and it has made me so happy to see her go and get that gun again. So, at some point in the movie, the police folk are profiling him and say that his mom was a possibly a hooker and either messed with him sexually or he was made to watch her with her johns. When he eats the raw egg, he smears some of it on a picture of of a woman and a little boy, basically enforcing the theory that his mom messed him up sexually. Avenging Angel changed most of the class, including Angel, who was played by Betsy Russel, who also starred in Tomboy. From that sequel on, it becomes what you expected Angel to be from the beginning. So excited that this movie is getting recognized all these years later. If you want something not quite as good but with the perfect “can’t take your eyes off of the trainwreck” mentality, watch the Pia Zadora tour de force “The Lonely Lady”

  63. pegsman/Shoot – my region 2 Studio S DVD of SAVAGE STREETS arrived a few days ago. You guys are right. Awesome 80’s sleaze-pie. Some highlights –

    – Naked cat-fights in the girls shower room.

    – More bush than a rainforest in summer.

    – John Vernon as the insensitive prick School Principal(his response to a weeping female student in his office “Would you PLEASE STOP CRYING! Blow your nose and get the hell out of here!”)

    I like how in the beginning when the girls are out on the town, for no apparent reason, they all stop at the window of a weapons store and admire the guns, crossbows and a fucking BEAR TRAP!! You know, like most girls would do on a night out. Of course, this fits within the law of economy of props that will be required later in the film.

  64. And Linda Blair has a classic badass line –

    LB “Too bad you’re not double-jointed.”

    Rapist “Why?”

    LB “Cause you’d be able to bend over and kiss your ass goodbye.”

    (rapist cops an arrow in the throat)

  65. Glad you liked it,darren. It has some amazing moments in it and as pegsman prviously mentioned has a really strange but entertaining performance from John Vernon and the overall sleaziness of the piece made me almost take a shower after I saw it the first time. I seem to appriciate it as a great exploitation/revenge flick even more each time I see it. Brilliant stuff!

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