New Year; new posts…

 

Happy New Year!

With a new year and a new need to have some sort of creative output; I’ve decided to re-start this blog. Make sure that you keep checking here soon for more reviews and overviews, and as always- comments & suggestions are appreciated…

One more way you can follow me is through my radio show. The nice folks at Cult Radio A-Go-Go (http://cultradioagogo.com) have given me a half hour to do what I wish, so I’ve turned the empty time into “Kitschen Sink Radio”  airing on Saturdays @ 7:30PM EST / 4:30 PM PST (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kitschen-Sink-Radio/123873747678483) – a show about bad music and the people that put it out. Already we’re up to 17 shows and I’ve been happy with the response, so make sure that you tune in…

Blacker than Black- “Urban Revenge” 15 movie pack…

Urban Revenge

This is my first purchase of flicks from The Garr Group (www.thegarrgroup.com , but good luck finding any useful information on their website- as it seems to be with most of these budget providers, their site is “Under Construction”), and they seem to specialize in multi-disc collections of Public Domain and ‘gray-area’ titles. After finding this, I think that I need to seek out some more of their collections if they are like this; some of the titles can be found anywhere, but others I had never seen anywhere on DVD…

 

I’ve always been a really big fan of 70’s “blaxploitation”; for a time in the early and mid 70’s some of these titles were allowed a freedom depicting an experience that other drive-in movies of that time. Most were very cheaply made, and, seams and all, showed a slice of life far from the way I was raised, but were exciting and daring (growing up we had an “inner city” drive-in that I would frequent, just so I could catch up on triple features no one else showed). Some great people came from that period of filmmaking, and some of them are still working today; people like Pam Grier (a personal favorite); Fred Williamson, Bernie Casey, Richard Roundtree and Jim Brown are just some of the names. Now, on a lower tier, people with VERY little money tried to jump on the gravy train to turn a quick buck; those are the titles (for the most part) included in this set…

 

The discs themselves come in a hard-sided double-width case with fairly serious cover art featuring Morgan Freeman (I do like on the back the little red circle that points out that “Warning- Some movies may contain explicit language, sex, violence and nudity”… REALLY? I wouldn’t have guessed that). The 15 movies are spread out between 3 discs, and as you’d expect from the dubious nature of this package, the quality is less-than-pristine. In fact, some of them are downright awful. Blurry transfers, video artifacts abound, rough prints, they’re all included here:

 

 

Disc 1-

 

1- Black Godfather (1974): A stalwart in these PD collections. Rod Perry stars in this urban take on Mafioso. Fairly flat and talky, but pretty well acted (you’ll recognize Tony Burton- Apollo’s right-hand man from the Rocky movies). Also features scenes in a warehouse, foreshadowing Reservoir Dogs. (94 min.  2 stars)

 

2- Black Hooker (1974): Not really blaxploitation; more of a drama about the cast-off son of a street walker and his life in the country, Some barnyard sex in the middle does nothing to spice up this lame and overbearing flick- shot and acted in parts like a play. Should never have been included in this set. (86 min.  1 star)

 

3- Velvet Smooth (1976): Now, this is more like it! It’s horrible and particularly badly-acted, but with the head-spinning action and the outrageous wardrobe, it makes most of its faults endurable in a bad-movie kinda way. A female detective and her co-workers are hired to takedown a gang of cardboard mask-wearing hoods. Someone thought that the lead actress (Johnnie Hill as Velvet) could carry this flick, and she did such a good job she never appeared in ANY movie again. (92 min.  2-1/2 stars)

 

4- TNT Jackson (1974): More karate chick action, this time it’s the distraught sister of a murdered man avenging her brother’s killer. Hong Kong locations give this one a different feel, and better acting by the leads (Jeannie Bell, a former Playboy Playmate, is a lot easier to look at than Velvet Smooth) as well as more professional behind the camera talent (Roger Corman produced, and Dick Miller (Bucket of Blood) wrote it) make this a not-too-bad time waster. Warning- the print used is particularly faded. (71 min.  3 stars)

 

5- Super Soul Brother (1979): AKA The Six-Thousand Dollar Nigger. Dr. Dippy (yep- Dr. Dippy) comes up with a drug that would make a normal man a “super man”. They use a bum (“Wildman” Steve) for their experiments, with comical (well, ATTEMPED comical) results. Not funny in the least, not even unintentionally. (80 min. that seem twice as long   ½ star)

 

 

Disc 2-

 

1- Jive Turkey (1974): Numbers racket action with Mafiosa trying to cut into a black racket. Not high on action at the start, and the women are not attractive at ALL, but the story isn’t bad and there’s a feel about this that seems pretty authentic. Stay tuned for the women who kills a guy with the heel of her shoe (84 min.  2-1/2 stars)

 

2- Candy Tangerine Man (1975): Some Super Pimp action with The Black Baron having to keep his bitches in line (they even get a special credit in the opening titles: “The Actual ‘Hookers’ and ‘Blades’ of the Sunset Strip in Hollywood); between on-the-lamb chicks who steal and his money, and the Mob trying to horn in on his action- what’s a poor Mack to do? With a good score and some recognizable faces (Marilyn Joi was a fixture in these kind of movies, and Buck” Flowers was in a  bunch of both John Carpenter and Bill Rebane flicks). With gratuitous ‘golden shower’ scene- thank God the print for this one is really bad and blurry. (86 min.  2 stars)

 

3- Brotherhood of Death (1976): ‘Nam soldiers vs. The Klan in this better-than-expected revenge flick. Like The Black Six, the leads were NFL football players- a gimmick that worked pretty well in this flick as, for the most part, the guys did an OK job. Well-made for what they had to work with, with an interesting story and enough action to keep things interesting. I was glad I ran across this- one of the few titles on this that I had never heard of before. (77 min.  3 stars)

 

4- Children of the Night (1985): Made-for-TV movie stars Kathleen Quinlan as a social worker out to make lives better for Hollywood hookers. Too well-made to be in this set, it can’t really be considered exploitation because, well, it’s a mid-eighties TV flick; it’s well produced and acted, and doesn’t have a predominately black cast (Mario Van Peebles is the basically lone African-American star in this). Good use of “Hell is For Children” by Pat Benatar (however, there’s no way music rights were cleared to be included this on this set) based on real-life incidences and people.  (93 min.  2-1/2 stars)

 

5- Death of a Prophet (1981): Another Made-for TV flick (more like a SHOW with its short running time); this one detailing the life of Malcolm X, interspersing real life remembrances with re-enacted parts. Morgan Freeman plays Malcolm X going about the last day of his life through his assassination, intercut with newsreel footage and narration. Again, pretty good but shouldn’t be included in this mix (59 min.  3 stars)

 

Disc 3-

 

1- Mr. Mean (1977): OK but empty Fred Williamson exploiter (he stars and directs) with The Hammer playing Mr. Mean- one bad mutha who gets caught up in an international crime ring. Mostly shot in Italy with (rumored) borrowed equipment being used to make another film he was starring in at the time (the original Inglorious Bastards); the movie rambles on like pretty much all Williamson movies do (lots of people walking in and out of doors; people on the phone, etc.) but has a clunky charm to it all. (80 min.  2-1/2 stars)

 

2- Stigma (1972): Other than the racial prejudice on display over the Phillip Michael Thomas (yes, THAT ONE- Tubbs for Miami Vice) character, this is less blaxploitation than pure exploitation as Thomas plays a defrocked doctor in this expose of sexual diseases and the fun that can be had. A seventies version of the ‘it can happen to YOU!’ 30’s VD flicks, sleazy and hard not to watch, with the hysterical acting, dopey music, and all-over-the-place messages. Not to be missed- by the director of I Drink Your Blood, another insane drive-in flick. Look for an appearance by the DJ “Cousin” Brucie. (93 min.  3 stars)

 

3- Black Jesus (1968) I had heard about this and was really looking forward to finally seeing this rarely-screened ‘cult’ item starring Woody Strode. Again, not some much blaxploitation, this is more about political persecution and, in the end, martyrdom in the Congo. Strode is an actor of great charisma (an ex-football player who wasn’t as successful an actor in the States as he was overseas) and manages to make this heavy drama compelling and interesting. Backed and Directed by an Italian crew (81 min.  3 stars)

 

4- Black Force (1975) Jumping on the karate craze of the mid-seventies, this pointless and poorly-made fodder has a group of kung-fu experts hired to retrieve African artifacts. Owen Wat-son (who also appeared in Velvet Smooth) appears as the ‘leader’ and his wooden acting and puffed-up ego are hilarious. The credits introduce the actors along with what degree black belt they are, like that would somehow make the following action more authentic I guess (even someone who only provided a PHONE VOICE gets their 2nd Degree Black Belt credited!). Didn’t work- lame to the 5th degree (black belt). Also, don’t miss the credit playing up that “All martial arts sequences are authentic” and no special effects were used. If I were the filmmakers, I would have hired George Lucas’ team to spice up some of this “action”. One of the actors with the incredible name Warhawk Tanzania went on to make the insane Gang Wars a year later. (77 min.  1-1/2 stars)

 

5- Black Force 2 (1973): This re-titled flick (originally released as Brother on the Run and on this DVD with the title Man on the Run) has no karate action whatsoever. Instead, it’s a turgidly-paced lemon following the exploits of a shoplifter on the lamb and the nice-guy teacher who wants to help him. Terry Carter is the soft-hearted teach and the only other actor in here of worth (you’ll recognize the other- James Sikking from Hill Street Blues as well as playing Doogie Howser’s Dad); he’s pretty good, but just too weak to carry a dull picture like this. Only in the annals of exploitation would a sequel have been made two years before the original!  (84 min.  1-1/2 stars)

 

 

 

One last thing- for some totally unknown reason at the bottom of the package says “NOTE: Views or opinions expressed in this product are those of their individual producers and do not necessarily represent of those of TGG Direct, LLC”. Well, since none of these have separate audio tracks (or ANY special features), the disclaimer is a bit odd- is the Distributor afraid of being sued from someone watching these flicks? They don’t want to be sued when someone innocently watches Black Hooker and decides to devote her life to turning tricks? Right. Purchased at Kmart for $4.99- a deal at twice the price…

 

Stealing DVDs for profit…

Stealing DVDs for profit
Big Lots ran a pretty nifty special in this past ad (depending how your area times it, it was either in the 7/26 (Sunday) or 7/29 (Wednesday) ad): assorted DVD Boxed Sets for $3 each. This goes with a special that they had a few weeks ago of similar savings; other boxed sets for $6 each. A little search of some of the stores around both here as well as reading various posts on forums like “DVDTalk.com” showed that these were all produced by Warner Brothers; one of the biggest arms in the Home Video market, and some incredible titles easily valued from at least 5 times the price. The previous haul had some nice finds like some Superman & Batman cartoons (as well as Scooby-Doo!); the entire Roots and Roots: The Next Generation deluxe boxed sets; Blade- The Series; and, the sweetest deal I got my hands on, the entire three season run of Wonder Woman (Ooooo- Lynda Carter!) boxed set! Six bucks was too hard to resist (the Wonder Woman set, for example, retails at $70+ at Amazon)…
…but it didn’t stop there- the more recent three dollar wave has had some pretty cherry things: The Flintstones seasons (I still need Season 5 of all six- anybody willin’ to help a brother out?) as well as the newer Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm series; a bunch of other Hanna-Barbera gems like Josie and the Pussycats entire series; Wacky Races series (and, separately, Dastardly and Muttly as well as The Perils of Penelope Pitstop); Top Cat series; Jonny Quest seasons 1 and 2 and others. They also had some live action things live the George Reeves Adventures of Superman (individual seasons); Tales From the Crypt (individually- still need seasons 6 & 7); and more recent things like various seasons of The War at Home; Lois and Clark; Everwood and Joey (Friends spinoff). There were also all kinds of cool, limited things that have been turning up (I’ve quickly come to cherish a boxed set of Popeye cartoons from 1933-1938)- but, like anything good it seems; there’s a hitch… It’s all stolen merchandise. From the Hollywood Reporter:
July 29, 2009
Warner Bros. lawsuit claims $10 million loss in brazen DVD theftBy Matthew Belloni
The home video arm of Warner Bros. has filed a $10 million lawsuit against a company the studio says agreed to destroy 2 million surplus DVDs but instead turned around and sold them on the cheap.
The complaint, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges that Agoura Hills-based IWMB, Inc. and its president, Cal Jones, were subcontracted to dispose of the excess Warner Home Video DVDs and Blu-Rays but intead hawked them to a third party who put them on the market at discount prices that significantly undercut legit retailers. At least 750,000 of the stolen units were sold and 250,000 remain unaccounted for, according to the lawsuit.
Studios periodically destroy excess DVD product, which consists of unsold discs returned from vendors and defective goods. Here, WHV says it entrusted the product to Cinram Distribution, which has a deal with Warners to handle excess inventory (and which, surprisingly, is not a defendant). Cinram subcontracted with IWMB, which is alleged to have shown Warners a “fraudulent certificate of destruction” before going out and selling the DVDs and Blu-Rays on its own.
“The resale of the Warner Product at prices that undercut the prevailing wholesale and retail prices resulted in a substantial loss of revenue to WHV, believed to exceed $10 million,” the complaint says. WHV alleges fraud, conversion and violation of California’s business code. It seeks punitive damages as well as an injunction against further sale of the stolen product.
Neither IWMB nor Jones could be reached for comment.

Warners is repped in the case by White O’Connor partners Andrew White and David Fink and associate Hajir Ardebili.”

Now WHY WB does this is obvious- they don’t want to poison their own retail arm and if the market is flooded with their product at an impossible price point, their retail partners would surely start returning unsold merchandise hand over fist, causing all sorts of issues for everyone involved. Also, as Blu-Ray is the new favorite date of late, this would surely undercut that market as well- something the fledgling new media doesn’t need right now. This is truly an odd case, and one that I’ve never heard before…
My suggestion? Take a trek to a few of the Big Lots in your area and pick up any of the titles that they have on hand that interest you- I have a gut feeling that in the next few days they will be “Gone With the Wind”…

David Carradine in the Future Force/ Future Zone Double Feature

 

 

FF and FZ

  I was a big fan of David Carradine from about 8 years old or so when I first saw him on the “Kung Fu” television show. I guess I would have been 9 or ten or so, and was struck on just how damn cool he was- kickin’ major ass while roaming the land. As I got older I would catch him in genre flicks that would trickle down to Central Florida; great stuff like Cannonball! (an underrated Roger Corman- produced car crash flick with the very yummy Veronica Hamel and the funny Gerrit Graham); Thunder and Lightning (more car hijinx- this one co-starring my favorite “Charlie’s Angel” Kate Jackson), and his most famous- the giant cult flick Deathrace 2000 (with FOUR smokin’ gals in this one: the pretty genre favorite (but barely in this) Roberta Collins (who had more screen time in things like Caged Heat & Tobe Hooper’s Eaten Alive, and who died just last year from an OD); Louisa Moritz (who’s been in a million things like Chained Heat; Lunch Wagon and New Year’s Evil- a busty blonde with a squeaky voice who you’d recognize the second you saw her); the tall-and-sexy Mary Woronov (again, in a bunch of things from Andy Warhol underground stuff to Ms. Togar in Rock and Roll High School and the waiting-to-be-discovered lost film Get Crazy) and, my favorite of the bunch (sorry, Mary) the should-have-moved-on-to-much-better-things Simone Griffeth, who later appeared in more obscure drive-in stuff like The Patriot and Hot Target. She was a stunning woman who could really act (if not necessarily shown off in Deathrace), and apparently is still acting in local theater (in between her Real Estate day job)…

 

 

   I wanted to get in some reviews of some budget Carradine titles in honor of his passing on June 3rd and remembered that I had been sitting on a two-disc set of Future Force (1989) & the sequel Future Zone (1990); a combo set that can be found for $5 at places like FYE (courtesy of the budget DVD company Echo Bridge Home Entertainment). I didn’t know much about either title other than these were made during a low (one of several) in big Dave’s career (it would be a few years before he’d appear in the big studio flick Bird on a Wire, and 15 years before getting the title role in the Kill Bill movies), and that it was directed by David Prior- a director of low budget schlock who has a list of this type of thing as long as your arm (and he’s still at it). The box art has some Lawnmower Man- type computer graphics, suggesting something very Sci-Fi. Of course, cover art has lied in the past, but surely something with the Seal of Approval of “Caine” (Carradine and his 3rd wife Gail Jensen are credited as Associate Producers) wouldn’t DECEIVE, would it? Read on, fellow travelers…

 

 

   David stars as John Tucker, an officer of the “C.O.P.S.- Civilian Operated Police Systems” (as some helpful narration at the beginning of the movie informs, because of how bad crime has gotten by the so-in-the-future 1991 (!) the government has sold police forces the privatized corporation and now most crime has been obliterated) who ends up having to guardian angel a news reporter who’s fingered a mob boss in town (an overacting ham of a human being named William Zipp). Showing the low budget nature of the movie right off the bat- do the cops wear cool armor? Well- no. Actually, the uni consists of dark Wrangler jeans, a sky blue t-shirt under a denim cutoff vest. He does have a cool steel riot glove (ala The Glove- see my earlier blog post about that Rosey Grier/John Saxon vehicle) that gives him the strength to lift things like cars, smash meal and shoot lasers. But, being a David Prior movie, it’s carried out in his consistent, cheesy way, That is, a low budget version of a basic cable TV movie (and I know- I’ve sat through some of his other offerings, like Raw Justice (ever wondered what a movie starring Pam Anderson and the guy from Airplane would be like? Wonder no further- this is it); and Raw Nerve (with Glenn Ford reaching his absolute nadir, acting with an apparently drunk Jan-Michael Vincent and a way too sober and clothed Traci Lords) …  

 

   Carradine looks bloated and a bit tired in this- simply going through the motions. And if the flick had the least bit of fun to it, it might be easier to take. Unfortunately, it takes itself DEADLY serious, and sucks the air right out of any pace or drama it tries to set up. Tucker throws out grumpy lines to convey that he’s a bad ass: “You have committed a crime and have been found guilty. You have the right to die. If you relinquish that right, you will be placed under arrest…”. Wow- harsh stuff, huh? The only other name on display here is Robert Tessier, a big, Mr. Clean- looking guy who’s been in a bunch of Burt Reynolds films (like Hooper and The Longest Yard) as well as the Bad-Guy-who-turns-into-the-Good-Guy-and-dies-for-his-efforts personal favorite cheese-fest Starcrash, as the Boss’ right arm. Just like everyone else in here (except for the above-mentioned Zipp and Dawn Wildsmith- the ex- Mrs. Fred Olen Ray as the fellow cop with a heart and slashed throat), he seems to be acting in some kind of catatonic state…

 

 

   So OK; the acting’s kinda flat and the Art Direction is uninspired- at least there’s some nifty Sci-fi effects, right? Uh, no… sorry. Lame in that department as well. The whole movie is shot with the dingy, uninspired poor man’s karate movie look, with not a hint of fantastic elements. And the library music used (lots of bass keyboard thumping) and amped-up sound effects do not help matters; instead of helping the excitement level it’s just that much more distracting. The movie is unrated, and except for a few swear words and some after-killing blood there’s nothing too rough in this (which would have probably spiced up the very long-seeming 80 minute running time). The “Flying-Glove-of-Death” is pretty funny though; you have to wait to the 68 minute mark for that, though)…

 

 

   I’m glad that he was able to regain some level of credibility before dying (but with all the speculation on HOW he died, seems to have undone that); it’s a shame that he had to survive on low-level product like this. As I was barely unable to get through the first one, the sequel Future Zone is going to have to wait for another day for me to review it- I’m still having trouble keeping food down…

 

 

Future Force- 1 out of 5*

 

K-Mart quickly becoming the Big Lots of DVDs…

 

 

kmart

 

   I know that K-Mart has been in some financial mess for some time now and I’ve always hated shopping there, so I try to avoid the place like no one’s business (the stores are always a mess; they never have ad items, etc.); however, since I’ve moved from over-populated South Florida to the more sparse southern Tennessee, I’ve found that places to shop aren’t really “just around the corner”, so I find myself at K-Mart on occasion needing normal household items. Since I have to be there anyway, I end up drifting to the Electronics section and on my last trip stumbled into a nice little Collector’s niche (and, as always, Your Mileage May Vary)…

 

   First off they have a bunch of cheap Xenon titles. Xenonis a (basically) exploitation company heavy on “Blaxploitation” and Latin titles. They’ve been around for a long time, and are still pushing out “lower-rung” titles (third-tier National Lampoon titles; Urban karate titles), but hit their stride years ago releasing the so-bad-they’re good classic Rudy Ray Moore titles like Dolemite and The Human Tornado (one of the favorites in my collection is a signed copy of Tornado by the late Rudy Ray- he died in October of 2008. Oh, and he was born in Akron just like me!). So now, at $3.99 each, they had the following Xenon titles:

 

 

   * (Avenging) Disco Godfather- The last of his string of theatrical released flicks; probably his only PG rated flick has Rudy as the town’s hottest Disco record-spinner, who also acts as a one-man force out to stamp out “wack” (PCP). Crazy and funny- must be seen!…

 

   * The Human Tornado- The sequel to Dolemite and the only true follow-up to the original; this one is probably better than the first Dolemite(as in physically well-made) but still jaw-droppingly bad. Just try to watch this chubby guy karate-chopping guys left and right (missing them entirely and yet they still fall!) without laughing- it’s impossible…

 

   * Rudy Ray Moore: Rude- Rudy started off (and made his name) as a stand-up comedian (in the tradition of Redd Foxx- lots of filthy talk about various body parts and sex acts- at the time considered shocking but now just obnoxious) and this video is his act, filmed in 1981, interspersed with his buddies like Leroy and Skillet (setting back the black cause by thirty years)…

 

   * Petey Wheatstraw: The Devil’s Son-in-Law- An absolutely INSANE flick that has Rudy battling the Devil in HELL. Please watch sober; if you are impaired watching this it may actually cause permanent brain damage, and turn you into a drooling, blubbering idiot…

 

   They also have Penetentiary 1 and 3 (however, they don’t have #2- which is my favorite of the series and borderline-insane, and Mr. T’s first on-screen appearance); the prison boxing series starring Leon Isaac Kennedyas “Too Sweet” Cordone, who can gain his freedom by boxing in the joint. Pretty entertaining…

 

   K-Mart also has a bunch of Anchor Bay titles; these are all horror and most are out of print. They are classic titles; all single-disc, and are selling for $4.99 each. They have:

 

 

   * The Original Halloween

   * Hellraiser 1 & 2

   * The Original Dawn of the Dead(the Divamax edition- superior quality)

   * The Original The Hills Have Eyes (I HATE all these remakes- I shouldn’t have to by typing “The Original in front of all of these!)

   * Creepshow 2

   * Children of the Corn

   * Re-animator

 

 

   My opinion is that you can skip Corn and the Hellraiser ones (and some people are really polarized on Creepshow 2 and yeah, it’s not nearly as great at the original, but still pretty entertaining), but if you are any kind of  horror movie fan you have to own the others- they are our generation’s Frankenstein, Dracula and The Wolfman. Snap these up while you can!

Richard Grieco hits the acting skids in “Final Payback” (2001)

 

final_payback_07

 

 

   Johnny Depp is known to be pretty much the coolest guy in movies. Not only is he probably the most entertaining guy out there with his varied roles, he seems to be just a good guy (things like recording personal messages for a young coma patient; sending pieces of his wardrobe to fans; or appearing with his former teenage bandmates for a 20-year reunion just to play music). He got his start on “21 Jump Street”; a pretty successful series for the Fox Network that was suppose to launch the career to superstardom of another actor on the series- Richard Grieco, but things didn’t turn out as planned. While Johnny hooked his star to directors like Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam and Robert Rodriguez, Richard ended up with straight-to-video “mavens” like Chuck DuBus (Fish Don’t Blink); Christian Viel (Evil Breed: The Legend of Sam Hain); and David Wu (Webs). This time he picked Art Camacho, a Stunt Coordinator and sometime Director (his biggest flick to date is the recent Half-Past Dead 2), and together they unleashed Final Payback, a DTV of a slow and talky man-on-the-run versus a corrupt-police-force-out-to-get-him flick…

 

  When Grieco goes dippin’ his ink in the company well- well, no good can ever come from that apparently, and he wakes up to his girlfriend (Priscilla Barnes, in probably the most thankless role of her life) dead in her shower. Oh, and it’s a Police Chief’s (John Saxon- SURPRISE! As another cop!) wife; the same Police Chief who had ol’ Rich bounced off the force a few years earlier. He hears cops, hops on his Honda, then scoots away, causing the lone cop car following him to flip and burst into flames…

 

   Well, after THAT, you get scenes of drug dealers and users being brought in by (drum roll, please) Martin Kove, chewing scenery from here to L.A. He grits his teeth, rolls his eyes, and sucks up major to the Mayor (Corbin Bernsen, who’s few minutes of screen time must have either been as a favor to the makers of this or commanded pocket money for a weekend in Sausalito). Kove is easily the best thing in this (maybe not BEST- let’s say “most entertaining”)- Grieco could have made this his, but with his sulking, overacting and facial ticks, it’s hard to like him. His greasy hair and earring, his oily and pudgy face, his stupid leather jacket all made me hope that they’d turn the tables and off the good guy (I don’t want to give it away, but no luck). It’s kinda fun- there are some flourishes that make this not as static as typical fare (the junkie hitmen- one played by Manuel Sanchez that is a low-rent version of the great Danny Trejo; a buddy-turned-informer trippin’ out in an alley), but in the end, it’s just a fairly-good time-waster…

 

   The flick itself is shot flat and pretty static, though nicely framed in widescreen 1:85. The most surprising thing is the lack of real stunts, but the fight scenes that are here are well-staged. This DVD is released by Digiview and can be had for a buck at pretty much every WalMart on earth. No extras, but that’s OK- I can’t picture really wanting a “Making Of” or a “Director’s Commentary” for this; nothing all that exceptional here. One last thing- for some reason most of the cursing is bleeped out (“Son of a ____”); however they left an “F-word” in.

 

 

 

Final Payback- 2-1/2 out of 5*

 

 

More cheap stuff from Dolphin Video…

dvds22

I covered these guys on a previous post from January called “More BCI-ECLIPSE- this time wholesale” (http://budgetdvdhunter.wordpress.com/2009/01/29/more-bci-eclipse-this-time-wholesale%e2%80%a6/); they’re a wholesaler who seems to sell new DVDs from closed up companies or titles which DVD manufacturers must have lost the rights for so they’re liquidating. Some of the more interesting titles currently on-hand (again though, these go pretty damn quick so if you want something snatch it up) are:

Final Exam- This one really surprised me the most as this was a new release late last year. The movie itself is not very good (I saw it when it came in 1981 at a drive-in in Casselberry Florida and didn’t like it then); an example of 50,000 stalk and slash flicks that clogged theaters in the early 80’s. It’s pretty boring; the kills aren’t all that imaginative, and from up and down screams cheap. I ended up watching this when it hit my “Netflix” cue; not for the movie itself but for the extras (I’m a huge sucker for DVD extras and will sometimes purchase a disc just for the extras), which were some interviews with the cast (none of who really went on to anything else in the movie biz) and a pretty good commentary (however, no participation from the Director- which leads me to believe that he is suitably embarrassed by his efforts here). Brand new this goes for $18 on Amazon; Dolphin has it for $2.75…

Don’t Answer the Phone- Another one that I caught at the same drive-in; this one was better than the above movie (not necessarily TECHNICALLY, but it has a veneer of overall creepiness and teeth-grinding leading performance by the late Nicholas Worth (Swamp Thing). This is the UNCUT version and am looking forward to seeing it. It also has a Directors’ commentary, a “making of” documentary, stills and trailers. This one retails around $13, but is sold discounted here for $1.50…

Crypt of Terror- Horror From South of the Border Vol. 1- This is a weird collection of seven Mexican-made horror flicks that hadn’t been released on this side of the line until now. All are of recent vintage (well, by RECENT I mean within 20 years, as opposed to the 1960’s Mexican flicks I would watch on Creature Feature growing up), and most are in their original Spanish with English subtitles. A big bargain; this is going to $23 on Amazon and selling here for $2.50…

Worth mentioning as well are some $20 Paul Naschy “Best Buy Exclusive” two disc sets (Human Beasts with Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll; which is selling for $3.25, and Lorely’s Grasp with Horror Rises from the Tomb; which is for sale for $1.75 a set). Like dumb bimbo/silly sex comedies? They’ve got you covered with Advantage: Hot Cops & Good Girls; an 8-movie set that includes all six (!) Vice Academy flicks (starring in various versions Linnea Quigley, Ginger Lynn Allen and Elizabeth Kaitain) along with two other flicks- retailing for $12; selling for $1.50. Also, a bunch of other 8-10 movie “Advantage” box sets also going for $1.50 per set with titles like Creature Features (PD horror flicks); Demons & Witches (10 direct-to-video sex and blood flicks) and The Cult Fims of Roger Corman (a collection of, I would guess, every PD Corman flick out there like The Terror; Wasp Woman, etc.)…

Don’t forget their inventory changes all the time (still lots of chop-socky and kids cartoons as well); they seem to have picked up some older wrestling titles (included midget and masked Mexican!) so keep checking and something is bound to turn up that does interest you if this round doesn’t. Minimum order of $50 (I’d recommend going halvsies with a friend if you can’t meet the minimum) and shipping starts at $10. This is a one-man operation, so be patient when it comes to delivery (however, I got mine in less than a week). Happy cheap shopping!

http://www.cdplusdolphinvideo.com/

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