Friday, August 04, 2006

Week of July 16 - 22

Okay, okay, so I’m really behind! Life intrudes. I’ll try to catch up by the end of the weekend. I’ll just become a writing fool.

Sunday, July 16, 2004
Darkness – The Vampire Version – 1993

     Shot on Super 8 mm film and blown up, but it actually looks about as good as it’s gonna. There are no subtitles, but there are THREE commentaries. Gory and juicy, it reminds me a LOT of The Dead Next Door, especially since the vampires are VERY zombie-like. I mean they behave like zombies, and they eat so sloppy, you’d think they were zombies, except that they are affected by sunlight and holy water.

The first commentary is with the cast and crew. It’s pretty enjoyable, as there is a good dynamic among them. There are some genuine funny moments here that I actually laughed out loud.  The third commentary with the director has an interesting history of the film, including the fact that he started it at 18, filmed for over a year on weekends, and then it sat for over a year. You kinda have to feel sorry for the director, his life was pretty f’ed up. Like living in an abandoned house as a teenager, to get away from his folks.

There are some featurettes as well, including cast interviews and making of special effects. This disc is worth it just for the value alone. It will take you more than one night to go thru all of it, and some parts are very educational, if you’re into low budget filming.

Monday, July 17, 2006
Something Weird Video Golden Girl Double Feature
Hollywood After Dark – 1969
     Yes, boys and girls, here we have a pair of Rue McClanahan exploitation flicks from the 60’s. Yep, Blanche on Golden Girls (which I confess I’ve never watched, but that didn’t stop me from renting the latest from SWV.

Your first thought will be, couldn’t they find any better strippers in NYC in 1968? My god, these gals couldn’t get a job today. But seeing Rue shake her bootie is a hoot!

The Rotten Apple – 1963
     This is a super weird flick. What is up with this guy wanting everyone to do pushups? And then, it’s time for Philosophy 101 as taught by  junkyard tramps. In fact, although the aka is Five Minutes to Love, it ought to be Junkyard of the Damned. Every single person in this flick talks like they are insane.

This is hands down the most psychotropic flick SWV has EVER put out. If you like the truly bizarre, get this disc for this movie alone.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Cemetery Man – 1994 – aka Dellamorte Dellamore
     Classic Italian Zombie flick with comedy, and a twist ending. I have loved this movie ever since I first saw I on cable eons ago. Well, I thought it was eons, but since it was released in ’94, it was probably only a decade. Whenever, I was VERY happy to add this to my collection.

No subtitles or commentary (which is a pity). There is a great documentary called “Death is Beautiful”. The director (Michele Soavi) credits three directors as being his inspiration: Joe D’ Amato, Dario Argento, and Terry Gilliam! There were also some interviews with Special Effects guy and others from the crew.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Kitty Krime Double Feature from SWV
Kitten in a Cage – 1966
     The audio didn’t match; the dialogue between characters doesn’t match the situations. Whoever was the sound editor for this dull piece of celluloid must have been drunk AND never done it before.

Girl from Pussycat – 1969
     A bunch of lesbians rob a bank, and then have an orgy. That’s it. And believe it or not, it’s not even as interesting as that sounds. Then a pair tortures a guy.

This disc also has the usual collection of trailers and peep show shorts. This is probably the weakest SWV collection I’ve ever seen. Just nothing interesting here.

Thursday July 20, 2006
The Quiet Earth – 1985
     Made in New Zealand (home of Peter Jackson, and also where LOTRs was shot). Minimalist sounds and dialogue. His actions and what he sees tells us the story. This is an excellent flick, with an awesome soundtrack.

No subtitles, but there is a commentary with writer/Producer Sam Pillsbury. It’s an interesting talk, an exception to the “no solo commentary” rule. It is, however, just a touch political. Evidently, I’m such an American that I didn’t even recognize the slap in the face this is supposed to be. Good thing, since I wouldn’t have liked the movie as much as I did. And I really did like it. This is an undiscovered gem. Watch it if you can.

Friday, July 21, 2006
Gwendoline – 1984
     I can’t decide what this movie is; comedy, adventure, satire? But it does feature the world’s fakest alligator (and that INCLUDES Rollergator). Okay, it’s comedy, but not American, so the humor is a little off kilter from what we might expect. This is French, and that creates some funny inconsistencies.

The subtitles keep saying Paris, but the English soundtrack keeps saying London.

In the commentary, we find that the director is VERY French, but he did do The Story of O (which he doesn’t consider porn) and the first Emmanuel. So he definitely has a funny view of sex and love. I like the fact that the director admits that “Hey, it’s been 20 years ago, I don’t remember”.

I remember seeing this on VHS as The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik Yak. This is the director’s cut, and has about 3x the nudity as the VHS. If you like breasts, this is a movie for you. There are also other extras, including an erotic Photo shoot with Tawny Kitaen, and an interview with the director.

Saturday, July 22, 2006
The Equinox
     This Criterion Collection disc contains two version of this movie.

The Equinox – A Journey Into the Supernatural – 1967
     Subtitles for a movie of this type (ultra low budget independent) is really unusual and appreciated. Shot on 16mm, with non-sync sound, it does have tons of good stop action animation. Of course, that might be because one of the guys who worked on this movie would go on to help FOUND Industrial Light and Magic.

Commentary with the original principles. It’s pretty apologetic for an early, kid-based effort. Still, I liked it. It had heart, and stop action animation.

The Equinox – 1970
     Jack Harris buys and reworks the film, and releases it theatrically. I had the impression from the ’67 commentary that everything shot was in the movie. , yet there are more than just inserts added here.

Commentary with Jack H. Harris (a Producer who seems to have a very high opinion of himself) and Jack Woods (director of the redone version). They explain that they actually pulled the original cast back together for some reshoots.

Jack Wood didn’t direct again, but has done a lot of Sound Editing, including Look Who’s Talking Too, Naked Gun 2 ½, and Star Trek VI: Undiscovered Country.

Of course, Jack Harris was the Producer of the Blob, and seems to have lived off that reputation the rest of his career.

There is a second disc of extras, including outtakes, Early screen tests, Interview with Dennis Murren (the guy who would go on to help start ILM), some shorts (one even a student film including Rick Baker), slide shows, and more.

1 comment:

Captrose said...

Glad to see you back. On to the comments:
Dellamorte Dellamore
damn, I love this movie. It's good. Never saw the twist coming, didn't even know there was one. Too bad Fangoria didn't cover this movie like they do the new Japanese "Water Horror" movies. I might still buy it.
The Quiet Earth
Friend of mine had been telling me about this movie for years. I love the "Last Man on Earth" subgenre (Thank You very much Mr. Charlton Heston). He's told me about the ending, but I can't recall what it is. I'm hoping to pick both of these up soon.
Keep 'em flying!