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Johnny LaRue's Crane Shot
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Late Night With...
Had a couple of late nights this weekend. The Drakes came into town Friday night on their way to Carbondale. A bunch of former WCIL-FM'ers were getting together in C'dale this weekend, but with my next two weekends booked up and expenses to accompany them, I decided it would be prudent for me to not make the trip. Still, I got to see Di and Young Will Friday night over at Marge's. Pearce was also in the house, and it was just a nice, quiet night of sitting outside by the hot tub and chatting 'til about 1:30am. The unfortunate side effect were the mosquito bites around my ankles making my feet all itchy the rest of the weekend.

Saturday I did some laundry and was still pondering what to do that night when Stiner called and demanded that I show her movies with "vampires and zombies". So we started with VAMPIRE CIRCUS (1971), which is a very good Hammer movie about a 19th century Eastern European village that is victimized by a curse after the townspeople burn down the castle of Count Mitterhouse (Robert Tayman). While VAMPIRE CIRCUS contains enough crosses, wooden stakes and vampire bats to please purists, the next generation of horror fans certainly will find much to like. These vamps can float through the air, transform into cat creatures and, of course, mesmerize the beautiful young women of the village. Dripping with unusual touches (like a very sexy dance involving a naked woman painted in tiger makeup), period style and enough heavy dollops of sensuality and raw violence to push the "R" rating of the day, VAMPIRE CIRCUS makes Hammer's Dracula series appear almost quaint; even the films (such as THE SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA) that were made later seem old-fashioned compared to this audacious entry.

Then came NIGHT HUNTER (1996), a Roger Corman production starring pro kickboxer Don "The Dragon" Wilson as a vampire hunter tracking a quartet of immortal Eurotrash bloodsuckers led by Christopher Guest's brother Nicholas. Not one of Don's best, but it delivers 90 minutes of chases and kung fu.

The NIGHT HUNTER tape contained a trailer for ELECTRA (1996), which I had, but had never seen. Stiner suggested we watch it, and I'm glad we did. It's pretty bad, but not boring and is easy to mock. A crippled billionaire named Roach with a pair of sexy, leather-clad, kung-fu-fighting sidekicks wants a secret serum that will allow him to walk again. It provides its subject with super-strength and -stamina, but the scientist who created it is dead, and the only person who knows anything about it is his son, a muscle-bound, long-haired wuss named Billy who lives with his widowed stepmother Lorna, played by late-night-Cinemax staple Shannon Tweed. The only way the serum can be transmitted to another human is through sexual contact (why?), which is why teenaged Billy has so far refused to give in to his horny girlfriend Mary Ann's desires. Lorna also has the hots for Billy, so when Roach eventually captures her and convinces her to seduce her son, she doesn't put up much resistance. And, stepmom or not, if you're Billy and strapped to a table and Shannon Tweed strides in, clad in an eyepopping leather ensemble, and straddles you, there's no way you're not going to perform. He does, and Shannon is transformed into an evil superpowered minx named Electra. Mary Ann, who has one of Billy's power pills in her possession, pops it and receives the same powers as Electra. She kicks the shit out of the two sexy sidekicks, pulling the heart out of one of them and feeding it to the other. She also has a battle with Tweed where the two shoot lightning out of their fingers like Dr. Doom. The sad part is that Shannon only gets naked once briefly and doesn't even disrobe for her on-top sex scene with hunky Billy.

Grady made it over for the night's closer, 1990's I COME IN PEACE. I first saw this theatrically and thought it was a lot of fun. Where's the Special Edition DVD of this? Dolph Lundgren is a Houston cop who is reluctantly teamed with a square FBI agent (Brian Benben, shortly before starring in DREAM ON) to investigate some mysteriously brutal cop killings. An albino alien with a long mullet (Matthias Hues) is struting around the city killing people, either with a high-propulsion CD with a razor-sharp edge that shoots around the room lopping off heads and ricocheting off walls or by pumping them full of stolen heroin and then sucking the adrenaline juices out of their brains with a sharp spike to the forehead. Director Craig R. Baxley, who also made the equally entertaining ACTION JACKSON (with Carl Weathers) and STONE COLD (with Brian Bosworth), blows up dozens of cars in this fast-paced action movie.

Posted by Marty at 10:52 PM CDT
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Monday, September 12, 2005 - 10:00 AM CDT

Name: Will

NIGHT HUNTER would have been cool if they didn't rely on that shakey cam effect during every fight. Ugh.

I second the love for Craig R. Baxley! His action trilogy of ACTION JACKSON, I COME IN PEACE and STONE COLD had me thinking he was the next big action hero. Instead, he veered into TV and Stephen King adaptations. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy his work (I really liked STORM OF THE CENTURY), but he sure could blow some stuff up. I read he did SNIPER 2 but haven't seen it. Have you? The only thing I remember from Luis Llosa's SNIPER was Billy Zane's incredibly bad toupee in the beginning.

Monday, September 12, 2005 - 11:39 AM CDT

Name: Di Drake

Whooooo! FINALLY made it onto the BLOG!!!!

Great seeing you Friday night, M2. Sorry you had to endure the bugbites... I felt like I had the chiggers, myself.

Monday, September 12, 2005 - 2:10 PM CDT

Name: Marty McKee

SNIPER 2 is okay, but nothing special. It's pretty low-key and didn't "need" Baxley to direct it; I get the sense that many other filmmakers could have done it just as well. SNIPER 3, directed by P.J. Pesce, is a little better.

I don't think I've ever seen a good-looking rug on Billy Zane.

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