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Johnny LaRue's Crane Shot
Monday, July 25, 2005
Oops, I Did It Again
Now Playing: UNSUB
I couldn't resist. I went back to Rentertainment this afternoon and bought more tapes. 40 altogether for a total of $108. Not bad, I suppose. Of course, I don't know how bad some of these movies are yet. I did watch one of yesterday's haul, THE HITMAN, tonight. It's still not very good, coming at the end of Cannon's reign as the King of Schlock Cinema (Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus were gone from Cannon by 1991, I believe). THE HITMAN is a Canadian-lensed feature starring Chuck Norris as a detective who is waylaid by his crooked partner (played by KILL BILL's Michael Parks) and left for dead. Chuck survives the attack, however, and pops up three years later in the employ of Seattle mobster Al Waxman (CAGNEY & LACEY) as an undercover operative. This means Chuck has to act all tough and surly and mean, and he doesn't pull it off very well. He's just too nice of a guy. It doesn't help that his character gets dragged into a sappy subplot involving the black latchkey kid across the hall whom he builds models with and teaches to fight the neighborhood racist. The supporting cast appears to be all Canuck actors, including Alberta Watson (24) and a bit by William B. Davis, best known as the Cigarette-Smoking Man from THE X-FILES, as a doctor.

OK, here's what I picked up from That's Rentertainment on their final sale day. As before, tell me what you think:

XTRO--This notorious shocker from Great Britain is one of the sickest, most tasteless SF films of the early '80s. XTRO isn't particularly scary, but it's awfully amazing in terms of just how far it will go to deliver something crazier than what we've already seen. It may not work as SF, but it's one heck of a geek show. Wait 'til you see the "childbirth" scene!

XTRO II: THE SECOND ENCOUNTER--I've seen the dull XTRO 3, but not this unrelated sequel. It stars Jan-Michael Vincent. I wonder how hammered he was during shooting.

THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS--This is one of the most hilarious SF flicks of the '50s. John Agar is an OTT hoot as a scientist possessed by a brain from outer space that forces him to use his mental powers to crash airplanes and blow up bridges. It's all so he can rule the world. Lotta laughs.

RED SCORPION--Dolph Lundgren stars in this action movie with Tom Savini gore effects that had to be cut to avoid an X rating. I was hit-and-miss with it the first time I saw it, and I'm intrigued to watch it again.

END OF THE WORLD--Little-known '70s SF with Christopher Lee, who has reportedly trashed it (he's known for that).

DOLLMAN--Tim Thomerson is a six-inch-tall Dirty Harry in this gimmicky, R-rated Full Moon action movie with cheapo effects. Directed by Albert Pyun, so you know going in what to expect. Thomerson is basically playing a less dimensional Jack Deth.

I COME IN PEACE--Dolph again in his wild, action-packed SF/action movie with crazy stunts directed by former stuntman Craig Baxley. Lundgren and Brian Benben are the world's unlikeliest cop partners, and there's a killer CD that slashes throats. "I come in peace." "And you go in pieces, asshole."

ZONE TROOPERS--More Thomerson in this lighthearted SF movie about G.I.'s in WWII Italy who meet aliens. From the writer/producer/director team of Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo, the creative gentlemen who created TRANCERS, THE FLASH and THE SENTINEL. Hard to believe they're stuck writing video game scenarios now. They've still got a lot of offer.

DICK TRACY VS. CRIME INC., DICK TRACY'S G-MEN and DICK TRACY RETURNS--Three Republic serials that followed DICK TRACY starring Ralph Byrd as Chester Gould's comic strip dick. I'll watch any Republic serial, and DICK TRACY was one of their better chapterplays.

SCHIZOID--Klaus Kinski is a psycho shrink in this topsy-turvy thriller with Christopher Lloyd, Craig Wasson and nude scenes by Donna Wilkes (ANGEL) and Marianna Hill. It isn't bad, although the red herrings probably won't fool you much.

NEW YEAR'S EVIL--Another Cannon slasher movie, this one stars Pinky Tuscadero herself (!)--actress Roz Kelly--as a punk singer battling a psychopath on New Year's Eve. I've seen the trailer a million times; we'll see if the feature stacks up.

WOMEN IN CELLBLOCK 7--A European women-in-prison picture directed by the mildly talented cult filmmaker Jess Franco. I don't know about this one, but who knows if this one will pop up on DVD.

THE X FROM OUTER SPACE--A Japanese monster movie about a giant chicken monster. It's a pretty goofy-looking creature, and the movie looks like fun.

NIGHT SCHOOL--A slasher movie directed by the classy Brit Kenneth Hughes and starring a young pre-THORN BIRDS Rachel Ward.

RED HEAT--Linda Blair follows up the great CHAINED HEAT with another WIP, this one made in Europe with EMMANUELLE star Sylvia Kristel. No, it can't possibly be as great as CHAINED HEAT.

ONE MAN FORCE--The late Oakland Raider John Matuszak stars in the action flick with a good cast including Ronny Cox and Charles Napier.

I also picked up six volumes of THE BEST OF MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE with two hour-long episodes on each tape. This is one of TV's greatest dramatic series, and it's inconceivable that it's not out on DVD yet. I suppose they're waiting for the Tom Cruise movie to come out in the summer of 2006.

Whew! So where do I start?

Posted by Marty at 11:20 PM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (4) | Permalink

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - 6:16 PM CDT

Name: J Hall

Wow!!! That's quite a list !!!

I'd start with a couple episodes of's been a long time since I've seen an episode of this series ... or ... one of the DICK TRACY serials.
DICK TRACY RETURNS has one of the best first episodes ever and features Charles Middleton in a great role as Pa Stark while the other two serials have some great action scenes as well.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - 11:03 PM CDT

Name: Will

Marty, you are officially my hero! I visited some friends out in Illinois (Aurora to be exact) a few years ago and they had the best video stores ever! It looked like the owners bought every VHS release available and never tossed out anything. That sounds like quite a score you got there. I agree with you about Bilson & DeMeo. Those are two imaginative guys. I thought for sure they were going to take off (pardon the pun) after THE ROCKETEER. But nothing. Sad.

And I don't want to hear any bitching about humidity until it hits the 90s!

Thursday, July 28, 2005 - 11:37 PM CDT

Name: Marty McKee

Will, have any thoughts on THE SENTINEL? This market didn't have a UPN affiliate during most of its run, so I have only seen that show a couple of times. It seemed pretty decent, and I liked its old-school look and tone.

Thursday, July 28, 2005 - 11:39 PM CDT

Name: Marty McKee

Cool. Middleton is great as the heavy 39013 in Republic's awesome DAREDEVILS OF THE RED CIRCLE.

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