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Identity (2003)
Who am i here?
19 September 2004
It's hard to believe that "Identity" Sprung forth from the same pen as that of the author of that really bad killer snowman movie "Jack Frost" and it's unwanted sequel, but hey never mind, Because in "Indentity" Michael Cooney has created a true Mystery thriller.

As i write these words, the rain outside is coming down in sheets, which gave me the notion to watch this movie again. Which i duly did. The coolest things about movies such as this, is the way they are constructed, much like "Dead End" you can theorise and guess your way through the whole, but how often do you ever get it right, i know i never have.

Anyway, the perfect premise is set when we fade and it's a dark and stormy night, off into the distance lit up by neon light we see a desolate motel and thats when the fun begins. The introduction of the ten principle characters and how they came to be was truly something, some would call it the fate of the gods.

The cast, headed by John Cusack, all aquitted themselves most admirably, especially Pruitt Taylor Vince, in the pivotal role of Malcolm Rivers, the man with the story, unfolding within his own mind.

I had a sudden notion, by the time you arrive at the conclusion, once you have deliberated over the evidence presented, you are going to ask yourself one simple question, "Who am I Here"? after you've viewed the film in it's entirety, your going to think you did it.

Now that is a mystery fit for solving. I must also add that the extras on the DVD release are pretty smart, especially the writer's commentary, i didn't realize that Michael Cooney was English, nothing wrong with that, as his commentary, the evolution of a screenplay was one of the most involving commentaries i've ever had the pleasure of listening to.

On a rating out of 10, on a dark and stormy night such as this, dare i say 10 out of 10, without hesitation.
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Hellgate (1989)
Hellgate a good film? Hell Yes!
18 September 2004
Everyone's a critic, isn't that what they say, Opinions in life are like that of a certain part of the body, we know we all have. Anyway when it comes to movies like "Hellgate" a low budget horror movie, we take one look at the cover and we find ourselves sucked in or suckered out, depending on your point of view.

Now low budget films fan's truly worth their salt, will have come into contact sometime in their cinematic life with the works of filmmakers like William Girdler[Day of The Animals, The Manitou] William Sachs[The Incredible Melting Man, Galaxina] or indeed the director of this South African lensed little gem[Oops did i give away my opinion on this movie so early] The Director's output will never send out shockwaves, although he did make "Blackenstein" and "Monaco Forever" my point is, everything the aforementioned directors have made has fallen into the category of, should i use the word exploitation, why not.

Good movies, Bad movies, it's all the same. We still feel the need to watch them, it begins with the artwork on the cover first remember. So anyway, "Hellgate" itself, it's been a long time since i've seen it, but my memories are still vivid. The notion that it was made in South Africa, is never apparent, although if you've watched many a movie made from there, you'll know the faces and not necessarily the names.

What does the movie have going in it's favour, yes it's does have it's faults, but i'm bot going to dwell on them. The Plus Points are, a snappy script, brought to life by the talents of a very droll Ron Palillo, yes i know that Abigail Wolcott looks hot, and that her acting skills weren't exactly up their with the likes of Meryl Streep, but hey that was not the reason she was hired for the movie.

The Director William Sachs, who if i may, makes a cameo appearance as a severed head in a fridge, gives the movie a competent look, and finally the soundtrack, if like me you like those golden oldies, the song that permeates throughout the movie, as well as playing out through the end credits is truly a gem, if inly i could remember the band who sings it.

Anyway, for those of you out there, who might not have seen "Hellgate" if ever you wondered, was it worth a look, is it any good, to that i say.

Hellgate a good film? Hell yes!
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Dead Clowns (2004)
Dead Clowns! Dead and Buried! And that's that
13 September 2004
There will be times in a movie collectors life, when he or she will purchase a movie based solely on hype alone, or maybe just mere whispers that they might have heard through the grapevine.

Such was the case with Steve Sessions latest movie "Dead Clowns" now if you ever visited the web site dedicated to David Decoteau, run by Eric Spudic, the man himself has never been been short of mentioning his own movies within the said site.

This was were i spotted the possible potential behind the movie itself, i believe if memory serves, Spudic served up a still of himself playing a character confined to a wheelchair, Anyway, the title alone should sell the movie. Remember movies like "Killers Klowns From Outer Space" or even "Clownhouse" Two very different movies with varying approaches to both mood and style with perhaps a dash of wit and menace thrown in for good measure.

Alas, "Dead Clowns" Presents nothing of any of those qualities. Perhaps Budgetary constraints, i guess we'll never know. However if you borrow the basic premise from John Carpenter's "The Fog" of course putting putting your own unique spin on it. You would expect to gage some sort of entertainment value from the proceedings, do anyone remember the movie "Vulgar" made by people who should have known better.

One things for sure though, for marquee value if nothing else, Sessions does know how to fill his movie, with the likes of Debbie Rochon and Brinke Stevens being his main two stars. Actually come to think of it, they were the only two stars. Utilising Brinke Stevens to tell the grisly story of how the Dead Clowns came to be fifty years previous, always a good plot devise, when you obviously don't have the money to show it.

As the the Dead Clowns themselves, a motley crew at best, wearing what clowns should wear, although bearing a very striking resemblance to the zombie's within Lucio Fulci's Zombie, The movie was just too dark, so dark you'd need a flashlight to watch it, even in this Unrated version courtesy of a Company called Crypt Keeper, the gore was obscured by the need of the director feeling like he wanted to prolong proceedings.

The version i purchased came in at 111 Minutes. Too long, very uninvolving, a very nice idea, however poorly executed. Perhaps in the hands of someone with a keen eye, and a sharper imagination, Dead Clowns could really have been something, instead, it's just another movie trying to cash in and make out, failing badly.

Dead Clowns! Dead and Buried! and that's that.
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C.H.U.D. (1984)
C.H.U.D Is F.U.N.
3 September 2004
This is a classic example of how to make a movie, without a dime in you pocket, but with a mind full of ideas, please by all means ignore the "In Name" only sequel which apparently was made with laughs in mind, alas they were not to be found where i was sitting.

Anyway, back to business, I make no apologies for saying this, but C.H.U.D. is F.U.N. the script is littered with snappy one liners, a soundtrack slightly reminiscent of Lucio Fulci's "Zombie" which is no bad thing, also present we have a number of really good performances, from the likes of Daniel Stern, looking like a real junior hairball, My personal favourite John Heard[a serious highlight as the bartender in "After Hours"] also on show albeit in minor roles, the likes of Sam McMurray, Lee Richardson and also encoring at the beginning we catch a brief glimpse of the late great Jan Saint, you know who he is!

Now the version i purchased just recently, was the Anchor Bay release, back in the day, when Chud was first released here in the U.K. The scene in the diner prompted a notion that a sequel would come along at any time, however upon viewing the DVD release, the ending in now situated in the middle, which kinda makes me feel more positive about the whole viewing experience, The positives vibes being that the intended sequel viewed through the Medusa release, was never ever going to materialise

If i were to have one quibble, it would be with the Commentary track included in the DVD, the gathering of Heard/Stern/Abbott and especially Curry should have been a little more serious, that the anorak in me there, it's always good to know the little things that went on in a movie, especially one a fun a this, but hey, at the end of the day, the film still stands tall.
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Trancers (1984)
Deth and the Maiden Voyage
28 May 2004
For as long as i can remember, this movie like so many made by Charles Band, be they made under the banner of Empire Pictures, Full Moon Pictures or even his latest venture Shadow Entertainment, the majority of his output has mostly been looked down upon as poor low brow fare, why even from those persons unknown, masquerading as fans.

For me my first introduction to the work of Charles Band was infact "Ghoulies" directed by sometime actor, sometime director Luca Bercovici, being of that teen-age, the memories of that movie, like that of their sequels still lingers. Anyhow Trancers was the movie that kick started my love and my entire collection of Fantasy or Horror Fantasy movies, the majority of my collection it must be said is that of every Charles Band Movie he's ever made.

Pardon me for deviating from my take on this movie, everyone has their view, but hey, it has the coolest tag line, you know it, so i don't have to say it. A really snappy script, written by the writing partners of Bilson/De Meo, who would later excell themselves more so with the likes of "Eliminators" and the really fun "Zone Troopers.

The Movie itself also brought Tim Thomerson out of the shadows of character acting, allowing him to bring to life the hard boiled character of Jack Deth, Presented much better here than in any of the other sequels, of which, I must give mention to part three, which was the better of all the sequels.

As for the man behind the movie, Charles Band, i think perhaps, he cuts it better as a producer rather than a director, but hey if he runs the company then he's entitled to pick up that megaphone.

Perhaps the Glory Days might be gone, time rolls on, that shining light that once shone so bright for Charles Band will shine again, of that i have no doubt, he has left a legacy and for me my maiden voyage truly began with a man named Deth, how many film fans can say that and live to tell the tale.
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Blood Dolls (1999)
Bloody Facinating!
1 May 2004
His Empire May Have Crumbled. The Full Moon might have slightly dimmed, And as for the present state of being for Charles Band and his new company Shadow Entertainment, Time will only tell, i for one will always follow.

Now As for "Blood Dolls" upon only my second viewing i was suddenly struck with the notion, now if memory serves, Ever since my viewing of "Ghoulies" which was my very first Band movie, i can never quite recall Charles Band Actually writing the movie script himself, but here he did.

So here i was, Thinking. Did Band base the Character of Virgil on himself, all the major factors were present. Here was Virgil head of his company having to safeguard his own wellbeing as well as that of his company from the nasty clutches of outside forces.

You be the judge, and wonder just how many times Charles Band has had to swim with the sharks and if like me you are a real fan, enjoy the film, it certainly made for a different kind of viewing, pleasant yes for the film itself had a kind of voyueristic feel. If in Doubt check out Meridian or Head of the Family as prime examples.
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Trancers (1984)
Rules are for Jokers, This Jack Is the Reel Deal!
31 December 2003
His Empire May Have Crumbled And the Full Moon might have slightly dipped behind the shadows, but Charles's Band's Legacy of Classics will always begin and end with this vision of Jack Deth, a rogue cop fighting for his right to live and breath in the city of angels in the year 2247.

My first introduction to the cinema of Charles Band began with the Low Budget riff on Gremlins in the shape of Ghoulies, nothing that great, just a slight distraction for eighty odd minutes, now this being the 1980's the video shops were littered with all sorts of mindless dreck cluttering up the shelves, and being of an age, with an enquiring mind, in short and even still to this day, a sucker for a good looking cover i stumbled upon Trancers, not really knowing that it was made by the same producer.

Now Comparisons have been made down through the years, that Band was lurking in the shadows of Roger Corman as the pretender to the thrown as King of the B Picture, Alas my own take on that notion, is that Corman was from another time and age, that while he still maintains a presence in the Low Budget Genre Market with all the Various Dinosaurs, Carnosaurs and bubble headed Muscleman pictures, Charles Band was the man with plan and so it was, and so it began with Trancers.

Now everyone seems to think that this movie should be compared to the likes of The Terminator, However remember this being the 80's what film didn't compare just a little like something they had just watched. This Movie written by the combo partnership of Bilson & DeMeo [the writers behind the just as brilliant Zone Troopers] had concocted a hard boiled vision of the future whereby Tim Thomerson essays the spirit of a down at heel gumshoe caught between a rock and hard place and hell hath no fury if you come between him and the answers that he seeks in his quest to save the future.

At a mere running time of 82 minutes, the standard running time for the majority of all Empire and Future Full Moon Movies, the movie benefits from a crackerjack script, bubbling over with witty one liners[Spoken by the Tim Man Himself]ably assisted on his travels by the elf like Lena, the sexy santa helper from the north pole shopping mall. I never thought about it back then, but as this arena of film-making has become Tim Thomerson's bread and Butter, does Helen Hunt still care to remember her early hike up the Hollywood Ladder by appearing in such a low budgeted but very high spirited movie.

Back then ofcourse, who knew? Then Again who was i to say that, when i was just a teenager, i would find myself hooked on low budget B movies or to be more precise, the low budget B Movie that rolled of the Charles Band Conveyor belt all those years ago and even still to this day, and it all began with the first adventure of a future cop called Jack Deth, he who said that dry hair was for squids.

The many sequels that followed down through the years may not have surpassed the class and feel of the original, but they still had Jack Deth as the main protagonist, in his world rules were for jokers, he lived by his own rules. My all time favourite from the Charles Band.

This Jack is the reel deal.If you haven't already seen it, which i seriously doubt, do yourself a favour and give it another watch, you'll see what i mean.
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Session 9 (2001)
Just what the Doctor Ordered! Wouldn't you agree Simon?
30 December 2003
Forget any references to the "Blair Witch Project" as the back of the cover dares to suggest, Enjoy for yourself, and become immersed in the dark shadowy thrills and chills and Discover just what Session 9 is all about.

Very few movies have the power to hook you right from the start, if however you've seen the likes of "The Usual Suspects" or even Frailty, you'll know what i mean. As with every movie, you have to have a narrative hook, in this case, Every Stretch of Action takes place within the haunted walls of the Danvers State Mental Hospital, Long since Abandoned, but still shrouded in scandal.

With a good cast involved, a really dark and brooding script co-written by Stephen Gevedon, who also appears in the movie, he being the one who finds the Session Tapes. It's a rare treat, Especially more so as the story evolves, and parallels as we watch the characters and listen to Mary and her inner demons converse with her doctor.

Just a little curio for you, if you remember the movie "Wendigo" the director of that Indie Sleeper also shows up towards the tail end of the movie as the character of McManus, i was never really a fan of that movie, but as ever it's always interesting to wear the proverbial Anorak and spot the who's who or play Six Degree's of Kevin Bacon when it comes to watching these genre specific movies.

So if you feel like you haven't seen anything good, you find yourself driven to utter distraction by all the really bad movies out there, and yes there are many, just set those inner demons aside, put your feet up and enjoy.

It Just what the doctor ordered, wouldn't you agree Simon!
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Dark Walker (2003 Video)
Something's gotta give here!
29 December 2003
Remember the glory days of B Cinema, the artwork for the movie was outrageous and colourful, fantastic ad campaigns pre sold the movie, and ofcourse it didn't hurt at all at the time, if your name was Andy Milligan, Al Adamson or even the grandfather of gore himself H.G Lewis, Alas however names such as these have long gone, either onto pastures new(i.e H.G Lewis)or past beyond.

Such flights of fancy are still maintained today, as when first viewed when you look at the cover for the latest slice of straight to video terror not only directed By Danny Draven, but upon looking through the list of credits, to note, but he also co-edited, was also the Dp and he also worked on the sound.

May one suggest that if he ever decides to forsake the art of Film-Making, perhaps he could pick up a trade more meaningful in life, say perhaps, maybe an optometrist, as yet again, i believe, he has found himself involved in another assault on the human senses with such a boring excuse for a horror movie.

I don't think it helps as the movie was shot on Digital video, but for the love of all that's unholy, i'm not to bothered if the characters paraded on the screen encompase the A to Z of Blonde bimbo's, Bill & Ted Stoners or hell even a Marilyn Manson Groupie Wannabe, but please allow the poor viewer some crumb of comfort, with something enjoyable to watch.

Anyway as it stands. It's Halloween at Hobbs Grove, a dying town is about to get the kick start it needs, with the arrival of haunted fairground amusement park, Several Jobs are up for Grabs, so we see the various auditions for the girl school screamers required, and once assembled they are given the low down, except that is for the little known fact the Haunted House Of Horrors was built on Sacred Ground.

An Intriguing idea indeed, Ably handled yes, even the gusto shown by the producer Chuck Williams hiding under the DarkWalker Costume should be applauded, however as this was a Chuck Williams production, that theory is always there, that he donned the costume to keep a close eye on the production, too bad it wasn't close enough, that even he couldn't smell that this turkey was looking slightly undercooked.

As ever with these films, if you thought you'd seen anything, apart from the non-existing ending, stick around just after the film finishes, just before the credits, we are threatened with the notion that DarkWalker 2 is just around the corner.

Just the mere thought, sends a shiver down my spine and that's all the horror i can take...

Ps. Some fools have all the luck, as ever the sucker, i bought the movie based upon the cover alone, i had high hopes, as i'm sure the producers did too, and as long as we are, for we i mean me is fool enough to buy into such disappointments, they will always be made.

Pps. Lets here it for the glory days! Because Something's gotta give!
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Dust Devil (1992)
Don't you be left in the Dust!
6 August 2003
Leaving behind the metal fatigued Badlands of Hardware, Director Richard Stanley emerges from the hue almost without notice. A shame really as i consider this movie in it's director's [cut] form as a cross breed hybrid employing the visual technique's of Argento and Leone to be far superior, to either Hardware or dare i even say The Island of Dr Moreau, Although one get's the feeling that the way in which Stanley was usurped from his pet project, The production history of that film will linger far longer in the memories of film anoraks, than anything that emerged from the cine delight that was Dust Devil.

How would you describe Dust Devil to that most jaded of film fan who might have found themselves submerged in the mire of half baked, totally deluded big blockbuster or small ballbuster films, that they might have had to endure down through the years, that would make them want to watch this, Hmmm let me see.

Taking his cue from those aforementioned masters of "Chills and Spills" Messrs Argento/Leone, this film would be sumised as a Psycho-Killer Spaghetti western whose basic premise plays on the many facets of the dark side, with Robert John Burke portraying the title character, simply known as Hitch, who trawls through the sprawling plains of the Great Namib Desert, searching out and decimating towns which no longer have the will to live, his reason for doing this? an undying need ro quench his tortured soul, which for the most part within the movie appears in the form of mortal man.

The film begins in narrative fashion with an old desert bushman expositioning on the genesis that details the mythological boundaries in which the Dust Devil conforms to, down through the years the township locals believe that the devils strength is aided by the howling winds that blow so fierce.

Coming from the pop music background, Richard Stanley utillises every trick in the book, as indeed he did with Hardware, the difference between the two, was that Hardware was a pop video, Dust Devil had story and visuals, and dare i say more depth. I remember reading an article years, in which Stanley stated that his lead Actor was a bit too Hollywood for his liking, I'm inclined to think, not quite, as yes Burke has travelled in those circles, but let's not forget he did make his mark in two early Hal Hartley films The Unbelievable Truth and Simple Men, to me he essayed just that right amount of cool and menace.

Using these two essential techniques, Stanley's camera prowls like a panther through the nomadic setting as the titular character waits by the roadside for his latest victim, in this instance, this will be his first victim, as what follows is an energetic sex scene whereby the victim dies in mid pleasure from a broken neck, he then proceeds to decorate her house with the contents of her body, ofcourse not forgetting to take a little bodily souvenir for his troubles.

Once the initial set piece has been revealed, the second narrative plot strand involving Chelsea[Prison]Field as disenchanted housewife, Wendy trying to escape her from her less than happy home, leaving her bemused hubby in her wake as she tears away in the family car, off into unknown, ofcourse as we now, for the story to develop, the characters of Wendy and the Dust Devil will meet, the husband will search in vain for answers as to why his has left him.

Until they do meet, the film's scenery is chewed up by such horror stalwarts as William[Hardware/Death Machine/Flash Gordon] Hootkins, and Zakes[Serpent and the Rainbow] Mokae appearing as two hard bitten South African Law Enforcers, also if you can look out for the actor, Russell Copley as Cpl Dutoit, as when Richard Stanley made Dust Devil as a student short, he played the original Devil of the title.

Have i sold it to you yet, i haven't given too much away, lest i say, if you want watch the screen, as it welters in a sea of blood and exploding heads. So even if like me you didn't take to the brashness of Hardware, check out Dust Devil and get involved in the mysticism of it all, before you're left in the DUST!
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A Truly Lurid Movie, Too Cheap To Call It A Classic!
4 August 2003
I have to say, at one time in my life, as a confirmed fan of genre cinema, i'm not ashamed to say that i also included in my collection, the many movies and their sequels made under the umbrella of Axis Films International, Not just because they were soft core porn flicks, but because they had that little something more behind them, as was the case with the majority of the Axis catalogue, many directed by the great man himself Gregory Dark/Hippolyte and produced by Andrew [Maniac Garroni.

I guess when the film slate rises, they have to farm out certain ideas, or foster in other talent, as in the case of "Sexual Outlaws" directed by Edwin Brown and written by him and i guess his wife Summer Brown. I had never of Edwin Brown, so i scanned through his biography on the movie database, and found and very small but very select list of credits much akin to that of Gregory Dark.

Now i've seen many movies made by Mr Dark but Alas not that many by Mr Brown, but having viewed "Outlaws" on many occasions down through the years, it is safe to say, that the director of this movie doesn't have the same visual eye or dare i say sexual flair for a movie of this kind.

Perhaps i'm wrong, maybe this is the way the film was meant to come across, i mean the Sexual Outlaws of the title refers to an Adult meeting magazine, but i have to say, this was a truly lurid movie too cheap to call it a classic of its brethern kind.

The cheesy delight that can be gleamed from this movie, is simply for the sight of former olympic gymnast Mitch Gaylord parading around as a voyueristic, mute photographer who only communicates via a pencil and paper, and who carries around in his bag apart from his camera equipment, sultry lingerie for his models to wear.

However his models aren't what you'd call sweet young innocents but rather ladies of the night. Anyhow what pictures that he takes he submits to the magazine of the film's title, and yes former Olympic gymnast Gaylord does indeed do a very different sort of gymnastics within this movie [for another Gaylord highlight, please check out the very first "Animal Instincts" movie] but on this very night the very model that he chooses ends up dead at the hands of....

Hang on a minute, i would never spoil a movie as bad as this for anyone who wishes to idle away the odd 80 to 90 minutes to wit this movie runs, it's just a shame it was in the same league as "Undercover" or "Pamela Principle"

Anyway i'll give it a very 6/10 for aiding and abetting the sleaze factor, and yes that does include the very arresting artwork on the cover, always to the forefront in every Axis film, that it would appear they use to make.
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Skinheads (1989)
A Bucket Of S..H.I.T has more depth than movie!
23 July 2003
Please forgive my summary note, as to be honest, ever since my teenage years, my time has been spent watching movies not necessarily of this genre, but in the way they were made. The director Greydon Clarke, whose catalogue of films have never been blockbusters, have always contained ideas far beyond the box office buck.

Movies that come to mind "Joysticks" (A Comedy) "The Warning" (A horror) Clarke was never one to shy away from the topics favoured by the audience of today or even yesterday, as Clarke learned his craft from the grand Master Himself "Al Adamson" (If you Haven't seen it, check out "Cinderella 2000")

Anyway, sidetracking aside, does Skinheads have anything to offer, to the undemanding film fan, there in lies the hook. Yes this film arrived here first long before "Romper Stomper" or even "Pariah" The Acting isn't isn't bad, the likes of Brian Brophy, Gene Mitchell and Frank Noon are no shots in the dark, however as is the case with film's of this nature, and please take into account, that no film with such subject matter would ever see the break of dawn if it were not for the participation of (Apologies) has been stars, or more politely put stars of yesterday, Chuck Connors or Barbara Bain.

Film Directors like Al Adamson or even Fred Olen Ray have always used this ploy to sell their movies, the storyline might be weak but as long as you have a headliner, or someone whom the budget could afford why not sell that movie for all it's worth.

Storyline wise, does a storyline exist, yes of course it does, but a film with a limited budget, cannot really propel true depth into character or story if the money is not there, yes i know this not an epic retelling of the Greatest Story Ever Told, but like i've always said, admiration must always go towards the man or woman who ever gets the chance to make that movie, no matter if that movie less depth than a bucket of S.H.I.T!

However lets be honest, admirers of bad movies everywhere should rejoice, as bad as it is, sit back with a six pack and enjoy, as i have when i tried to write this review. As a footnote may i recommend the movie "Flipping" directed by Gene Mitchell, whom i'm sure gleaned some inspiration for his movie making debut.

4 out of 10
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Roxanna (2002 Video)
For Seduction, see Misty, Misty Mundae that is!
12 January 2003
My first introduction to the dizzy heights of Seduction Sinema's slate of Soft core cinematic spoofs was "Playmate of The Apes" With it's inspired cover artwork, before you set down to watch the movie, the cover more or less set the tone for the movie.

So here we are, and here i find what looks like Seduction Cinema Striving for something akin to respectability, by truly harking back to past for there latest, skin fest. Starring the very innocent looking Misty Mundae.

I was first alerted to the imminent release to tape of "Roxanna" when i went looking for Section Cinema's web site, to finally set to rest my curiousity about the young lady Misty, the art work certainly caught my attention and Misty looks most attractive, but as ever the image on the cover was more or less evoking the natural beauty of Misty Mundae and Recalling the Initial aspects of the Roxanna character from the original Nick Phillips soft core original.

To be honest, i've never seen the original, but on the dvd, we were treated to a rare extra, rare that is for Seduction, who i can only recall putting out the "Making Of" on "Playmate" and "Women In Black", ofcourse i could be wrong about that, but anyway, the extra in question was that of an interview with 42nd St Pete, who took us on a guided tour of what the original "Roxanna" was all about, as well as give us the viewer a brief history on the origins of the 70's exploration of the skin flick.

42nd Pete said on the dvd, that he watched the remake with Misty, and said that it stood up pretty well to the original, he also if i recall, said that Nick Phillips always tried to put a little plot into the movie's proceedings, and while watching the first opening beats of this redux, i thought i was going to be party to something quite unique, especially as the distributor was Seduction.

I would suppose, like all their other production's that this was shot on videotape, but it looked real nice, with the opening, hypnotic shots of Roxanna, staring off into space, then we dissolve into ominious looking clouds racing through the sky, followed by the descent of a burning sun.

Alas to no avail, after the initial promise, with Misty really putting on the style, she suddenly disappears, and we're left with the usual picnic assortment of scantily clad beautys doing what they do best in the arena of Seduction.

I'm not going to rag on the movie, at the end of the day, it entertained in the only way it knows how, and as for Misty Mundae, for the cover artwork alone, even if you don't care for the movie. When the Boomtown Rats said that they didn't like mondays, They hadn't met Misty! if only every monday could be like Mundae.
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The Stickup (2002)
Who Are Promark? And What Do they Want!
8 January 2003
Are far back as i can remember, whenever i caught sight of the Promark Logo, i found myself intrigued, one for the fact that the movies that they made always attracted have decent names and two, the directors behind the movies had always done something that stuck in the film fan's memory.

A case in point, "The StickUp" Directed by Rowdy Herrington, had begun his filmmaking career under the watchful eye of Cassian Elwes and Elliot Kastner, when Palasade Pictures was up and running as too did John McTiernan when he made his debut feature "Nomads" but back to where i was, but Herrington's feature "Jacks Back" Starring James Spader, was what i thought would have been a long a fruitful career pitch into other subjects within that dark rooted thriller genre, much like McTiernan....However

Time Is a funny thing, Herrington went on to make Bruce Willis action thriller and McTiernan, well we all know where he ended up, you know if i didn't know any better, this review would almost feel like one of those six degrees scenarios, McTiernan/Herrington/Willis/Spader, as very wild mix.

However the thing to which i was aspiring to say with regards to the company Promark, as diverse as they are, mixing the concepts with every movie, they just don't seem to very good, it's not that anything they make is bad, is just a simple case of what are we doing here, haven't we seen this all before?

Such is the problem this movie, Spader a cop on the edge, a marriage breakup and a dead partner, decides to skip the bright lights and seedy streets of the big smoke for the quiet tranquil of small town americana, whilst there he meets a nurse in a bar, sleeps with her, does her dishes and then disappears of to the local bank dressed a Bozo the clown and proceeds to rob it, or does he?

I Guess i'm treading the same ground when i say, haven't we seen this all before, the dvd i watched this on had no extras, so i could hear no excuses from said director or star on why they would commit to such a same old movie, in saying that, Herrington was responsible for writing this movie, and Promark where responsible for releasing it.

As i said the dvd, had no extras, but it did have about have a dozen trailers of forthcoming Promark Product, Oh Dear Me! I'm sure the make money back through selling these movies on video, because there is no way on earth, they would ever make a bean on the big screen, even if this movie did have David Keith masquerading as a good guy deputy sheriff who isn't quite.

In the end of the day, it was a movie, take it or leave it, my appetite will not be diminished by "The StickUp" poor attempt to entertain because i'm that the next movie will do just the same, especially if it hails from under the wing of Promark.

I think i'll save my money, and maybe make my own movie, that sounds like a Neat Idea, who should i call, Let me think.
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A very strange brew, but a very fun one too!
8 January 2003
Picture this if you will, just before the dawning of the new year, here's me and a bottle of the finest Jack Daniels, no Ice! Just straight up, and there i sit, popped in the dvd release of "Love And A Bullet".

I Had no idea who Treach was, or to be honest still is, aside from hearing that he'd turned up in "Jason's Lyric" and the cover reminded me somewhat of the Keenan Ivory Wayans Flick, "A Low Down Dirty Shame", But these rather shallow points aside, there i sat, a glass of jack in one hand and the dvd remote control in the other.

As the movie gathered a pace, i'll be honest, the whole thing resembled a mish mash of everything, no bad thing, to anyone who ever saw the Bokeem Woodbine movie, "BlackMale" Released over here in Brittain as "BlackMail" a movie like the one in question, that is just so overloaded with everything, you just have to see it to believe it.

Treach's character, Malik Bishop has risen through the ranks of hoodlum hitman to professional Hitman, who suffers a crises of conscience, which is something that we are let in on, as we fade in at the beginning, then we flash back to where it all began.

Where do we go from there? I think at that point the Jack Daniels was really kicking in, because what unfolded, was so wild and wacky, it all kinda made sense. This was a movie consisting of comedic moments, Kung Fu, some serious gun play and a very strange take on Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream speech, as spoken by Malik's white Boss.

A really good soundtrack throughout, and a very, very good first time out performance by Sam Scarber as the Zen/Svengali Hitman, Buddy entrusted with the task of showing Bishop the finer points to being a hitman, more importantly, how to make a really good capuccino!

In the morning, after the jack had slightly worn off, i watched the DVD again, however with the director's commentary, and you know what, the movie was even better. What can i say, yes the alcohol made things easier, but even with or without, this was a very easy movie to watch, even more so second time around.
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Deathbed (2002 Video)
Deathbed! Can you hear the sounds of screaming? Hmmmm!
29 December 2002
A Movie about a possessed bed! A novel idea indeed, Interesting artwork, that certainly sold the movie to me, but my main reason for watching this movie, was the presence of Stuart Gordon and Charles Band.

As it stands, the cover read "Stuart Gordon Presents" But what exactly does he present, and this i swear, to the end of my days, i'll forever be a fan of Charles Band work, but heaven help me, when they both got together to work on this endeavour.

The Film opens with an old style scenario capturing the essence of a silent movie, of a man slowly seducing a beautiful woman on a bed,to the eerie strains of haunting music, finally ending with the woman being strangled with a silk scarf, this is followed by a slow fade to black, not however before i realised that the man committing the crime,was one time stalwart of Fred Olen Ray's band of film makers,Michael (D) Sonye (Aka Dukey Flyswatter) and if memory serves did he not write, Ray's "Deepspace" but also voice the titular character in Charles Band's "Sorority Babes in The Slime Bowlarama.

Intriguing Indeed, and as for the rest of his scenes, he never has one word of dialogue, which means he didn't have to try to hard to put his character up there on scene, as the scene set his character, i can't however say the same for the rest of the characters in the movie.

Who should i blame, nobody really as all i did was watch the movie, and power to all involved as we should never dismiss the true art of film making, and the efforts invovled in putting it all together, but Danny Draven (Where was Trent Hagga?)along with John Strysik the writer and hand model in the movie have crafted nothing of note.

A Movie littered with all the usual false scares, interesting use of lighting effects and a little light titillation, nothing new on show here except for the concept, So how real was the presence of Charles Band and Stuart Gordon, I'd say about as real As Joe Estevez's turn as the caretaker of the fancy building that the young couple movie into, Now thats the real horror on show here!!!
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Book of Love (1990)
Witty, Nostalgic and just downright Brilliant!
18 September 2002
Here is a well worn scenario, I as the viewer, view the movie first and

then read the book thereafter. Cynics would cast judgement by saying that the movie could never hold a candle to the written source or vice versa is almost common place in today's transworld transference of book's into movie's.

For myself, i had always been a fan of this nostalgia genre, whereby characters hark back to the past so as to rekindle that something they think is missing. Movies like "Back To The Future" "Mischief" and "Stand By Me" with the exception of the first named the last two were good old fashioned trips down memory lane.

Based on the book "Jack In The Box" by the author William Kotzwinkle, who also wrote the script, The movie is a veritable cavalcade of what was best and somewhat naughty about being a teenager living in the 1950's, and who better to adapt the source novel than that of the original scribe himself, who one gets a sneaky suspicion the lead character is based.

Now the curious thing about this whole production is that looking at it now, compared to then, this movie represents a who's who, who went onto what in the genre field. Firstly the company behind the movie and the director Robert Shaye, produced (i make no apologies for missing out the obvious) the classic "Alone In The Dark" and "Xtro". The Scripter surprisingly penned the story/script for "Nightmare On Elm Street 4" (Theory installed here was a two picture deal, scribble a story for Freddy and then we'll translate the novel).

As for the cast Chris Young turned up in "Runestone" "Warlock 2" Danny Nucci appeared in "The Rock" and some other overblown Simpson/Bruckheimer productions. Finally John Cameron Mitchell transformed his offbroadway musical "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" into a really offbeat movie experience.

In the novel there exists only one main character, that of Jack Twiller, an extreme dreamer from another age, everything he went through in the book was by turns funny and very graphic, but what the author did, was split the character of Jack into two character's giving Jack in the movie a younger brother named Peanut, who discovers like Jack did in the novel all things sexual.

Regardless of what those jaded persons out there unknown might think of this movie and others like it, you just can't beat, it represents an age we children of another time (myself being a seventies child) never new. A great soundtrack, well rounded characters, outlandish scenes of major pornography allbeit of a PG13 nature pushing the envelope of an R rating.

To this day "Book Of Love" is a movie that i cherish dearly, discover it and discover yourself, set aside that critic and appreciate a movie where everything works.

A resounding 10 out of 10
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Not A Very Happy Homecoming
18 August 2002
Having been a movie fan or should i say horror film fan for more years than i can remember, i had never seen a Halloween movie in the cinema, until the seventh installment H20 came around, regardless of how well the film came across it was pretty interesting to see how the people invovlved tried to reinvent the wheel, allbeit with the spectre of scream lurking in the background, trying to give the movie some street cred with those young hip and trendy types unfamiliar with a movie that tries to scare as well as try to tell a half decent story.

However just when you thought it was safe to light up that Jack o Lantern, Here comes Michael Myers back again in the aptly titled Homecoming. Like the makers of Jason X, The creative force behind this latest frightfest have tried rock the boat by bringing the Myers saga into the twenty-first century by putting him into Reality Television, does it work? Hmmm, herein lies my bug bear, you see i'm the kinda guy who'll go to see a movie, if it's written by a certain someone or likewise directed.

Homecoming was written,including the original story by Larry Brand, Now he was the man, who in a former life, who remade the Roger Corman remake of the "Masque of The Red Death" starring if memory serves Adrian(Highlander & Highlander Endgame) Paul plus the Miles O'Keefe psycho thriller "The Drifter" now both the film's linger in the mind for the one simple fact that both were made with a snail's eye view to pacing and storytelling.

This however cannot be said to be the same of the eighth incarnation of terror, a lightning fast paced story, which if i was to be honest, when you watch the opening, you feel like you were watching the ending, which brings back Jamie Lee Curtis if only briefly, Plus it also allows time for those who might have forgotten how H20 ended, with a brief recap, although within that brief interlude the writer somehow as he does manages to tell us the viewer that Jamie Lee did not infact decapitate her brother Michael, but some other poor unfortunate.

This for me had me groaning as indeed was the fact that the Tick Rosenthal, than man behind part two had returned to the director's chair for this one. If anyone out there remembers the opening credits of the second one, the old time song Mr Sandman played at the beginning, it also turned up likewise at the start of H20.

It has become apparent that with Rosenthal, that what you see is what you get, just like Halloween 2, Halloween 8 is a rehash of the do's and don't that should not apply to the horror film, specifically Rosenthal's film. Although in fairness he didn't write the film. However anyone thinking that putting this writer and director together on this particular film, should only take a quick glance at their respective filmographies, not a single winner between them.

But hey! This is a horror film with an already established franchise, and yes thei idea of reality t.v. is a winner, the execution is very tiresome. Incase i forget, for fans of Italian Horror, In Particular Dario Argento, listen out for periodical outbursts of the child like theme that was present in Argento's "Deep Red"

P.S Should i rate this film something out of ten, Hhhmm, 7/10 for the story but -0/10 for the execution.
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True Blue (2001)
This isn't a movie it's just a steak dinner
14 May 2002
Anyone familiar with the works of writer/director J.S. Cardone will doubtless know that the man never seems to rest on his laurels for long, having filmed this cop thriller hot on the heels of his vampire yarn "The Forsaken".

Now herein lies the question, director Cardone is prolific yes, dabbling in a variety of genres, now aside from gigs like "Shadowzone" "The Slayer" and "Crash And Burn" written or directed by Cardone down through the last two decades, the vast majority of the man's work has mainly consisted of dark and brooding thrillers, whereby deep beneath the surface of the story, lurks many a festering heart.

Such is the case with "True Blue" starring Tom Berenger as Detective Rembrandt "Rem" Macy another one of those hard drinking,chain smoking cops on the edge. Now when i first looked at the cover for this movie, i thought to myself, where is Tom Berenger, Looking at the front of the cover you'll find a cosmetically reconstructed Tom looking kinda like Huckleberry Hound, when you flip over to read the synopsis, you catch sight of the real Mr Berenger, gone to pot and a looking like both "Platoon" and "Someone To Watch Over Me" had never hapened!

If you were to say that this was thriller, reading the front and back of the video/dvd cover would indeed make you believe so. However this is just another steak dinner swimming around in Tom's gut.

No harm no fowl to anybody involved in this movie, as i like anyone, loves a good yarn, but Cardone has not done us any favours here by parading an endless dislay of situations wrapped up in a scenario that could've popped up in anything from Homicide to NYPD Blue.

An Ironic twist kicking around in this movie, is the lead character's name, unlike his famous other, Rem Macy is most definitely no oil painting, which was also mirrored in his living habits. I guess in hindsight the casting of Berenger was a stroke of genius, as he was looking in need of the work.

Watch this movie and remember the scene in "Platoon" when Berenger's character and Willem Dafoe's square off in the vietnamese village, you wonder could Dafoe maybe sometime pay Berenger a visit and slap some sense into him, and perhaps be a bit more choosy about his next role, which judging by his character's chain smoking habit, could be the next advert warning upon the perils of killing your lungs!

But hey this was only a movie, take it or leave it, until J.S. Cardone conjurs up his next slice of over ripe hokum.
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A truly scarey movie indeed, but for all the wrong reasons
19 March 2002
Sometimes its true what they say, you reap what you sow, so indeed you get what you hire.

The makers of this movie like so many they have produced in house truly have concoted a wholly uninspired movie, which by ten minutes or so by the end my jaw had dropped to the floor in complete disbelief.

You might be thinking, So much bitterness, but why? David Decouteau and his Rapid Heart Production company have done nothing but churn out in "Rapid Fire" fashion a glut of movies so bereft of any orignal thought or execution its a wonder they are still producing films.

The Opening of this movie reminded me of "The Karate Kid" widowed mother and her maladjusted teenage son move to a new town to start again....Do you know where i'm going with this.

As is director Decouteau's habit, he fills the screen with pretty young things, who do nothing, but hey it's the scriptwriter's job to give them something to do, however Matthew Jason Walsh, the purveyor of this film, gives them nothing but hot air, and we don't want to watch a hot air baloon trying to fly now do we?

As for the ending, why was my jaw so near the floor, Should i spoil, should you really hire this movie. In their wisdom, the filmmakers have borrowed the plot-line, sucker punch from "The Sixth Sense" The only highlight for me in this film was catching sight of Brinke Stevens playing the young lead's mother.

Even after all these years, she still oozes class and sophistication which alas is noth something that can be said for this sorry excuse.
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Confidential (1986)
A Perfect Chiller for a Winters Eve.
25 December 2001
Imagine if you will, the clouds begin to gather. Your breath shimmers in the blackness of the night. You look up into the sky and see the first fallings of snow.

Keep that image in mind when you watch "Confidential" a truly superior low budget noir thriller written and directed by Bruce Pittman, whose only other film i had seen was "The Haunting Of Hamilton High - Prom Night 2, a sequel far better than the original.

What Pittman's film offers the viewer, is a parade of characters, well represented by the landscape that surrounds them, Cold and calculating. I've always been a fan of film noir's that present a puzzle before your very eyes, even more so when you reach the final frame and find yourself still scratching your head, you just gotta love those kind of movies.

Bruce Pittman really cooked up a perfect brew, an excellent script, perfect casting, everyone involved aided by their period costumes, really looked like they belonged, and dare i say August Shellenberg, long before his encore with a certain sea mammal really rocks with a cool subtlety.

Your probably wondering so where is the review for this movie, as is the rule of thumb with a dark edged thrillers, you can never give more than what you'll get and with "Confidential" all i can say is wrap up warm, turn up the fire, and when the movie is finished and you find yourself looking out over your own cold covered landscape.

Think about the mystery of Emma Porter, the titular character within the confines of "Confidential" and baffle just like i did, but like i always have evertime i sit down to watch this thriller from Canada with the coldest of hearts, but with the most intriguing of stories.
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Street Trash (1987)
Hypnotic! Dripping in class, and really very well done
14 December 2001
Warning: Spoilers
If you've ever seen the cover for this movie, either sitting on a shelf in some video store or found it hidden in the bargain bin underneath the likes of 'What Lies Beneath' or Titanic' and you've simply thought, no way will i ever let this gross looking booger grace my v.c.r, friends let me just say, you'll be missing out on the treat of a lifetime.

It's strange when you discover movies and to what degree they affect you, for me it was writing down every line of dialogue that i found amusing and memorable, and from the first scene to the last, every line is a gem, the camerawork is fluid and precise, who knew that years later the director James(Jim)Muro would later lend his steadicam talents to such high brow fare as Strange Days, Heat and even more so Point Break, will he ever consider taking another shot in the directors chair?

As for the acting, spot on, these guys were total unkowns to me, apart from R.L. Ryan who turned up in stuff like The Toxic Avenger and Eat and Run, but everyone involved infront of the camera as well as behind really took the bull by the proverbials, and this is the legacy that they have left us.

Also if you like me like watching out for Producer's or Directors turning up in they're own films, watch out for writer/producer Roy Frumkes as the poor unfortunate buisnessman who gets himself covered in Viper Gue and then proceeds to melt.

If you ever wanted to see a movie where the cop beats up on a susicious person and then proceeds to throw up on them, or a gang of junkyard bums playing catch with a severed penis, say no more, pay the money for the movie in that bargain bin, because a bargain you are going to get, in every sense of they way
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The Kill-Off (1989)
Forget the Grifters, This is the reel deal!
4 December 2001
Murder, Sex, Lies and Plenty of Sleaze are intertwined to reveal a variety of characters each in their own unique and twisted way infatuated by Lust, Corruption and Revenge.

I was never a big fan of The Grifters, browsing through the shelves of my local video store many years ago I saw this little beauty sitting crying out to be hired, so naturally I did the decent thing, and WOW! was I bowled over.

From the script, the pitch perfect casting and the soundtrack, this is one of those whereby when you watch, you can feel yourself become uncomfortable.

The Director Maggie Greenwald made an impressive directing debut, and brought a touch of romantic sleaze to the proceedings. Go on and try it, and then go for a ten hour shower afterwards, Jim Thompson would be proud.
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Barfly (1987)
A gob of spit in the face of art, make mine a double
4 December 2001
Mickey Rourke proves once and for all, that even if life is tough, life as a Barfly is even tougher! Rourke plays Henry; part-time writer, full time drunk.

Sharing in his inebriated lifestyle is Wanda essayed by Faye Dunaway. This is one gritty hard-edged comice drama on the pressures of life, which i first saw upon it's initial cinematic release. To be honest it's hard to belive that it was produced by the now Defunct Cannon Pictures. Purveyors of such action fare as American Ninja and Delta Force.

However do not let that sway you from checking out this movie, be you a fan of Mickey Rourke or Faye Dunaway, because everything rocks about this film. My sole reason for seeing it rested on the fact that it was the first and only script written by the master himself Charles Bukowski himself.

If you look closely in the scene where Henry first meets Wanda you'll see the man sitting on a bar stool having a Budweiser. My College days were never the same once i started reading Hank's exploits, and watching this movie, will only make you want for more. As for me i'll be at the bar.
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Miracle Mile (1988)
Devastating and Very Very well done
2 December 2001
Picture It. After thirty years of searching, you've finally found your perfect girl. Harry Washello thought he had, but fate is a funny thing. Harry's just found that it's only fifty-nine minutes to meltdown. It's time to face to the unthinkable. This movie i remember vividly for one single fact, when it was first in cinemas i was only one of three people who saw it.

I guess you could call it one of those "Sleeper" movies. It first came to my attention in a review/interview with the director Steve De Jarnatt in a now defunct British Horror magazine called "Fear" and after playing a few select horror/sci-fi circuits it found it's way to the ordinary cinema arena.

From the opening beats of Dr Bio Brain showing us how life began, to the heartstopping and hair-raising phonecall taken by Anthony Edwards Character outside the diner, this movie is sheer class, as well as having saprkling dialogue to boot, especially the final scene between Harry and Julie.

This is one Miracle Mile well worth stretching your legs won't regret it, and you certainly won't forget it...
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