Wednesday, June 29th, 2022
On June 3, 1992, historians will tell you, Bill Clinton played saxophone on The Arsenio Hall Show. Arsenio made his usual big entrance, and sitting in with his house band The Posse was the former Arkansas governor, then presidential candidate, wearing sunglasses, taking a solo on “Heartbreak Hotel” and later “God Bless the Child.” Whatever you think of his playing (or politics, or whatever), Clinton’s willingness to campaign outside of the accepted outlets and methods may have helped end 12 shitty years of Republican rule.
Have you considered, though, that a more important factor might’ve been STEPFATHER 3, which premiered on HBO the very next day, June 4, 1992? Maybe its trashy mockery of phony Reaganite assholes gave the pendulum that extra push it needed. And by maybe I mean definitely, I bet. Citation needed.
Part 3 is from yet another set of filmmakers – writer/director Guy Magar (a veteran of TV shows like The Powers of Matthew Star, The A-Team and Hardcastle and McCormick) and co-writer Marc B. Ray (Lidsville, New Zoo Revue, SCREAM BLOODY MURDER, Kids Incorporated) – but this time Terry O’Quinn did not return. Accordingly, there is an escalation in tawdriness. It’s supposed to be the same character, but now he’s played a little more broadly by Robert Wightman (AMERICAN GIGOLO), the guy who took over as John-Boy for the last two seasons of The Waltons. That’s a reference I remember people making when I was a kid but honestly I never saw the show to verify my hunch that it’s pretty good stunt casting to have him play this corrupted version of a family sitcom character. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Adam Ryen, David Tom, Dennis Paladino, Guy Magar, Jay Acovone, John Ingle, made-for-cable-movies, Marc B. Ray, Mario Roccuzzo, Priscilla Barnes, Robert Wightman, Season Hubley, slashers
Posted in Horror, Reviews | 9 Comments »
Thursday, October 21st, 2021
“I don’t want to go out like that. I mean, when I die I wanna look pretty, I want to go down into the ground clean, one piece.”
Sometimes a good movie producer is a mastermind. Other times they don’t have an artistic vision themselves, but they have an eye for up and coming talent, for how to nurture them, give them opportunities to shine, protect them, help them bring their vision to life. Maybe Moustapha Akkad was one or all of those things, or maybe he just got really fuckin lucky and the kid he chose to direct “The Babysitter Murders” happened to be a genius who turned the gig into HALLOWEEN, a timeless horror masterpiece and the highest grossing independent movie of all time. I have no idea.
Whatever Akkad’s deal was, he never hit another one out of the park like the first HALLOWEEN. Eight of his twelve credits are on HALLOWEEN movies, none of them half as good as Carpenter’s. But I didn’t know what to expect from his one non-HALLOWEEN horror production, 1985’s APPOINTMENT WITH FEAR. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Alan Smithee, Andrea Saparoff, Bruce Meade, Danny Dayton, Deborah Voorhees, Douglas Rowe, Fairlight CMI, Garrick Dowhen, Kerry Remsen, Malek Akkad, Michael Wyle, Michele Little, Mike Gomez, Moustapha Akkad, Nicholas von Sternberg, Ramzi Thomas, Slasher Search, Vincent Barbour
Posted in Horror, Reviews | 29 Comments »
Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019
“I don’t get it. Why do we have to fight?”
AVENGING NINJA is a movie with no ninjas, and no vengeance. And I don’t think it’s a metaphor, either. It’s just the marketable American video title for a Taiwanese/Hong Kong production that also goes by the more accurate title ZEN KWUN DO STRIKES PARIS.
The movie, which is produced by “John Liu’s (H.K.) Film Corp.”, stars John Liu, a Taiwanese martial artist who was in the SECRET RIVALS trilogy and INVINCIBLE ARMOUR, or “successor to the immortal Bruce Lee legacy,” as the oversized VHS box calls him. And he directs, writes and produces. Also he’s playing himself, John Liu, movie actor and founder of the Zwen Kwan Do fighting system, which he pits against various champions of different disciplines and nationalities. The credits list the championships of the five top-billed actors (“JOHN LIU 1964, 1967 World Karate Champion”). Also there are three names under the category “Top French Movies & TV Stars,” and somebody named “Brigitte Mannequin.” I’m not sure who that is, but I like her.
As the movie begins it’s in the news that John Liu, the disgraced martial arts teacher now working in the Hong Kong film industry, has been summoned to Paris to investigate the kidnapping of his father, a “well known American aerospace scientist.” He’s in no hurry though. He’s still filming a movie, and is told to slow down his moves so the camera can get them, something they used to say happened to Jet Li. But maybe they said that about everybody. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Brigitte Mannequin, Dan Schwarz, John Liu, Roger Paschy
Posted in Action, Martial Arts, Reviews | 12 Comments »
Monday, April 1st, 2019
RIDING THE EDGE is an ’80s teen adventure I’de never heard of before stumbling across a VHS tape. From the box it sounded like IRON EAGLE with dirt bikes instead of fighter jets. I also noticed it had Catherine Mary Stewart, who I really liked in NIGHT OF THE COMET, and was directed by James Fargo, Clint Eastwood’s former a.d. who directed THE ENFORCER, EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE, and FORCED VENGEANCE. And VOYAGE OF THE ROCK ALIENS.
It begins in The Middle East, where an American scientist beloved by his staff and respected for his advancements in computer chip technology is kidnapped by a team of guerrillas led by a German mercenary (the original Simon Gruber). They rappel in and grab him to force his company to give them some of his chips. Because he has a photo of his son Matt (Raphael Sbarge, CARNOSAUR, THE HIDDEN II, the voice on the phone in MIRACLE MILE) at a dirt bike race in his wallet they demand that he be the courier. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Brooke Bundy, Catherine Mary Stewart, James Fargo, motorcycle, Raphael Sbarge
Posted in Action, Reviews | 4 Comments »
Thursday, November 8th, 2018
I’d like to end this not-as-rockin-as-I’d-hoped Slasher Search Rocks! mini-series with an extreme obscurity I never could’ve seen if not for the maniacs at Bleeding Skull! Video, who for some reason love shot-on-VHS movies. Though “never distributed properly on home video” (the director just sold it through ads in the back of heavy metal magazines), Bleeding Skull! gave HEAVY METAL MASSACRE (1989) a limited edition 250 copy, VHS only re-release in 2016.
This is the mostly-filler-about-a-killer story of an unnamed (as far as I noticed) loner who looks like he could be in Poison with his long, bleach blond, meticulously teased hair and studded bracelets and what not. He goes to one small brick wall bar where he picks up big-haired leather-jacket-wearing women. He sometimes uses the promise of cocaine, but very few words, and when he does talk it’s more of a working joe kinda voice than I expected to come out from behind that makeup.
He brings them to his place, which is one small room full of posters, but it supposedly connects to a series of industrial hallways and garages where he takes them to handcuff them up and then hit them with a sledge hammer.
Despite the overall ickiness of it it’s not very graphic at all – not much in the way of FX. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Bleeding Skull! Video, David DeFalco, shot on video, Slasher Search, Slasher Search Rocks
Posted in Horror, Reviews | 15 Comments »
Tuesday, July 4th, 2017
“Come on Carmen, what do you want from me? I’m just trying to do my job protecting a federal witness from being chased by a bunch of assholes who shoot at us every time I turn around!”
ACTION U.S.A. is pretty much the perfect movie title. I mean, who the fuck knows what it means, it doesn’t describe the content of the story in a traditional way, and yet it exactly describes the vibe of the movie (filmed under the title A HANDFUL OF TROUBLE, referring to some diamonds). The movie opens with a long credits scene of a Corvette with a giant engine sticking out the front, Texas license plate “SLEEK 1,” naked lady airbrushed on the hood, speeding down roads. It pulls up to a house, the driver Billy Ray (Rod Shaft) (beer in hand, gun tucked in waistband) takes his girl Carmen (Barri Murphy) inside and they start to go at it on the couch. The director credit is over a shot of the door right before it gets kicked down and two mob thugs (one lookin like Freddy Mercury) come in and drag Billy Ray to the trunk of their car. Then they take him to a helicopter and fly around dangling him by one leg. Carmen drives underneath saying “Oh my god!”
They accidentally drop him in water, he swims ashore and gets in her car for a crazy chase that involves her hanging out the door, Freddie standing up in the sunroof firing his gun, of course some workers on ladders almost getting hit, and a completely full school bus that through some act of God or careful planning has a tow truck set up as a ramp so they can jump over it. The motor home in front of the bus is not so lucky, though, and the bad guys crash through it and explode into flames of awesomeness.
That’s the beginning, and it continues like that. That’s a movie you can call ACTION U.S.A. all right. I would also accept AMERICA T.N.T. or DYNAMITE EAGLE SQUAD. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Austin, Barri Murphy, Cameron Mitchell, David Reskin, Gregory Scott Cummins, Hoke Howell, John Stewart, regional action, Ross Hagen, stunts, Waco, William Hubbard Knight, William Smith
Posted in Action, Reviews | 10 Comments »
Thursday, October 11th, 2012
There’s a pride that comes with renting a movie that I never heard of, that you never heard of, that nobody ever recommended to me before, and finding out it’s something interesting. Man, this one is not what I expected. I’m not saying I discovered an unheralded classic like I did when I stumbled across that Billy Dee Williams movie HIT! when it was only on VHS, but I definitely found an unusual one here.
And it’s all because of Slasher Search. As most of you know, every October I try to find some good slasher movies (preferably from the ’70s or ’80s, but I’m having to get lenient these days) that I’ve never seen before. Every year it gets harder, because the pool gets smaller, and I gotta look for more and more obscure ones, like the ones that haven’t even made it to DVD yet. In this case I got real desperate and ventured out of the horror section and I found this tape in Murder/Mystery/Suspense. It looked like it might be a slasher movie, seeing as how it showed a dude wearing a plastic baby mask holding an ax. Which can be used for slashing, is my contention. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Janusz Kaminski, John P. Ryan, Maureen Teefy, Michael St. Gerard, Slasher Search, slashers, Zero External Reviews on IMDb
Posted in Horror, I don't know, Reviews | 9 Comments »
Friday, April 2nd, 2010
My new review collection YIPPEE-KY YAY MOVIEGOER comes out at the end of this month, and since it’s named after Bruce Willis I figured I should celebrate by digging out some of the Bruce movies I’ve never seen or don’t remember much and write reviews of them. And what better place to start than his hour long 1987 HBO music special THE RETURN OF BRUNO? Well, I’m sure there are better places. But this is one possible place.
I believe in something called Karaoke Syndrome. It’s something that many famous actors suffer from. Everybody dreams of being a rock star, even if they’re already a movie star, so they try to use their projects as excuses to get on stage and fuck around with a guitar or microphone. One famous victim of KS is Mike Meyers, whose characters in WAYNE’S WORLD, AUSTIN POWERS and THE LOVE GURU all had to be in bands. Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi also suffered from KS (did the Blues Brothers and bee people things on SNL even count as comedy?) but luckily they channeled it into one of the best comedies of all time. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Bruce, Bruce Willis, fakumentary
Posted in Bruce, Music, Reviews | 49 Comments »
Thursday, March 25th, 2010
CITY OF GOD, CITY OF MEN and NEWS FROM A PERSONAL WAR got me interested in what’s going on in Brazil. For further research I decided to check out this video I’d always meant to see, an enlightening travel documentary about Arnold Schwarzenegger visiting Rio De Janeiro during Carnaval.
You young people probly think Schwarznegger is merely the governor of California who used to star in great movies like COMMANDO and TOTAL RECALL, but in fact he is also the former Mr. Universe and notorious horndog. This was 1983, after CONAN THE BARBARIAN but before THE TERMINATOR, and it’s the sort of video that probly mostly played after midnight on Cinemax.
(You young people probly think Cinemax was merely a channel that showed movies. In fact it was what kids used to see boobs before the invention of the internet if they couldn’t find their dad’s stash of Playboys.) (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Brazil, celebrity travelogues, softcore porn
Posted in Documentary, Reviews | 13 Comments »
Thursday, January 7th, 2010
Time for a little history lesson. Not about the American post-slavery period known as Reconstruction (which is what this movie is about) but about TV movies. It’s hard for young people to wrap their heads around now, but there was a time when TV movies actually could be big events, a major shared element of our culture. This was when there were only a few channels, and none of them were SyFy, and movies about giant komodo dragons or snakes were not yet common. Believe it or not there were even sometimes TV movies where the people making them actually tried to do a good job. In fact, there were honest to God movies on TV that put some theatrical films to shame, like Spielberg’s DUEL and Carpenter’s SOMEONE’S WATCHING ME. Of course, most of them weren’t as good as that, but alot of them were at least memorable. In the ’70s and ’80s there were true crime movies to creep the shit out of us, like THE HILLSIDE STRANGLERS, THE DELIBERATE STRANGER, I KNOW MY FIRST NAME IS STEVEN. Or if you want to get real frightening there was the nuclear war movie THE DAY AFTER.
1979’s 4-hour mini-series FREEDOM ROAD fits into the Important Historical Epics category like ROOTS or SHOGUN or I WILL FIGHT NO MORE FOREVER or some James A. Michener type shit. It’s about a man who goes from a slave to a soldier to a delegate to an educated black man to a senator and freedom fighter uniting former slaves with lower class whites to stand up against racist politicians and thugs and create a stable life for themselves. But the main reason to watch it is the star: Muhammad Ali. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Alfre Woodard, Civil War, historical drama, Kris Kristofferson, Muhammad Ali, Reconstruction, slavery, TV movies
Posted in Drama, Reviews | 31 Comments »