Monday, May 18, 2009
Review by 42nd Street Pete
2008; Directed by Toby Williams Starring Shea Whigham, Paulo Costanzo, Jill Wagner and Rachel Kerbs Released by Magnet DVD.
Considering the pile of poop that is passed off for horror movies these days, this one was a real pleasure to watch. It’s a monster movie, a real fuckin monster movie with no CG rap or handicam nonsense. One location, four principle players, gore, shocks, and, for once, a credible storyline.
A gas station attendant is opening the place for the day when he is attacked by something furry and full of spikes. A couple is heading in that direction to camp out. Also headed in the same direction is an escaped con and his junkie girl friend. The two campers are taken hostage when the Con’s car breaks down. They run over some kind of animal and blow out a tire. The animal has spikes sticking out of it like one of those sea urchins. They was also a sign by the road saying that this is a government test area.
While changing the tire, the Con gets a splinter in his finger, hence the title. The “dead” animal comes to like and the Junkie Chic freaks out. They arrive at the gas station to find it’s deserted. The Junkie find the attendant in the rest room. He begs her to kill him. She runs back to the others, but is attacked by the attendant who “rips right through her”. The Con shoots the attendant who dies. They lock themselves in the place. The Junkie seems to still be alive. The Con drags her toward the door, but she morphs into something and attacks. Her hand breaks off and gets in the place. The boyfriend, who is a biologist, sees that it feeds on blood.
He thinks it’s a fungus type parasite that uses it victims as hosts to attack others. The dead girl’s bloody corpse hammers her head into the glass door, trying to get in. It becomes a nerve racking game of cat and mouse as the creature attacks and absorbs a lady cop who shows up. The splinter in the Con’s finger starts taking him over so an amputation is performed using a Stanley knife and a cinder block. I’m not going to reveal anything else as this has to be seen. A good plot, characters that you actually care about for a change, nasty effects, and overall, a great little film. I give it four stars easily.
Review by 42nd Street Pete
Directed by Pierre Morel Starring Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace
This one was a real surprise as the usually reserved Neeson is cast against type as an ex CIA operative searching for his daughter, who is kidnapped by white slavers while vacationing in Europe. Using every dirty trick he knows to locate her, Neeson ups the violence quota by demolishing anything and anyone in his path.
Albanian white slavers( real fuckin scumbags ) kidnap teenage tourists, hook them on drugs and put them in assembly line brothels. Neeson’s daughter and friend are “taken”. Neeson is informed that if he can’t find her in a certain amount of time, he will never see her again. Neeson outwits the law and the scumbags at every turn. Seems the head scumbags are well connected with the law. When the leader tells Neeson, that “it’s not personal, it’s business”, Neeson retorts by emptying a Glock into his twitching body.
Taken has its roots firmly planted in grindhouse exploitation. The crowd cheered Neeson as he cuts his way though an army of villains and bureaucrats. One of the better scenes has Neeson drive two iron spikes through the guy, who kidnapped his daughter, thighs and then attach jumper cables to them. He zaps him a few time then, after he gets what he wants, turns the juice on full blast and leaves the guy cooking. Neeson is a one man wrecking crew as he leaves a body count worthy of Charles Bronson. A must see.
Review by 42nd Street Pete
Completely insane spoof of Batman, the Dark Night with Darian Caine as Batbabe. The Jerker, Rob Mandara, channeling Heath Ledger is completely insane as he’s hording all the porn in the city. It’s up to Batbabe to stop him. Someone on IMDB called this a “piece of excrement”, guess you can’t say shit on IMDB. Well, I’m here to tell ya that I thought it was funny. And I cameo in four roles, so whoever wrote that has no sense of humor and I get the distinct impression that he rubbed one out over Darian Caine.
Funny how these would be critics that write a blurb for Amazon or IMDB think they are the end all be all. It’s a spoof, stupid. This guy also trashed three or four other films by Bacchus. So this isn’t exactly Gone With the Wind, but Mandara’s Jerker had me laughing my ass off. This is a case of don’t believe everything you read. My attitude always has been see the film and judge it for yourself. Don’t take my word or any other critic’s word at face value because it’s just an opinion and opinions are like assholes, we all have them.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Review by Kristin Battestella
My father and uncle cringed when hoisting my heaviest trunk up my new condo’s steps, and my husband was downright appalled when he asked what was inside.
“My Dark Shadows tapes,” I told him.
All 42 taped off TV with their scribbled labels-some even with commercials! My mother was a fan growing up, so I saw reruns now and again as a child and spent most of my teen years thanking the Sci Fi Channel for airing the entire gothic soap series from beginning to end. My obsessions come and go, so I’ve never upgraded to MPI’s VHS series or the new DVD releases of Dan Curtis’ half hour daytime soap, which ran from 1966 to 1971. Every October, however, I get a hankering for Barnabas, Quentin, and that creepy theme music. Thus I rented Dark Shadows: Bloopers and Treasures.
Perhaps one of the most well known-if not THE most- known show ever for hokey production values, Dark Shadows episodes were taped live, with no time to correct mistakes, much less budget and technology of the day. Some of the bloopers presented are almost famous; the late Louis Edmunds as Roger Collins claiming, “Some of my incestors-incestors!-my ancestors are buried here.” There’s falling sets, name flubs, and just as many trick candles, cameramen, and boom mikes as there are cast members. Although some of the editing is poor, and a few of the mistakes presented are actually tough to spot. It would have been nice to have the segments divided and labeled or introduced by the cast. There’s no background music, but it’s neat that the goofs seemed to be grouped together by actor. Who’s the biggest culprit? I can’t tell you!
The music video segment opens and closes with some creepy highlight reels and poetry from Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins, but of course we have nearly all the musical segments from the show. Both incarnations of Pansy Faye and ‘I Wanna Dance For You’; Quentin’s theme and the lyrics to ‘Shadows of the Night’; even a very young Nancy Barrett grooving it up at The Blue Whale.
This compilation dates to 1991 and 1992, but Lara Parker looks quite old in her newer In Salem segment. The witch history, locations, and guests are very interesting and go hand in hand with Dark Shadows’ resident witch-who’s also pushing a new DS novel. Unfortunately, the sound and editing is poor and tough to hear.
At least there’s great fun to be had in the game show segment, although I’d never heard of The Generation Gap. (The clothes! The Hair!) Jonathan Frid’s heartthrob cheers from What’s My Line and Alex Stevens’ removal of his wolfman mask on the same show is a delight. Joan Bennett needed no introduction on Line, and it’s sad her prolific work is not known to today’s audiences. Yet it’s amazing that there’s still treats like this to be discovered from almost a fifty year old show.
The promos segment is a little misleading, however. This is Dark Shadows Bloopers after all, so the promos-which were promoting MPI video, conventions, and Dark Shadows books- are instead a reel of slip ups with Kathryn Leigh Scott, Lara Parker, and Jonathan Frid. Comedy Tonight turns the tables and presents Dark Shadows inquisitor Jerry Lacy as a vampire, and there’s even a commercial for Barnabas pillows. Alrighty then! There’s a separate section devoted to merchandise as well, including books by David Selby, and a very creepy trailer for the Dark Shadows audio dramas.
I was surprised to find this DVD widely available, although my VHS Dark Shadows Scariest Moments is just that, a VHS only. The menus and music are fun and user friendly, I like the jazzed up rendition of Quentin’s theme. Dark Shadows: Bloopers and Treasures is a must for fans young and old, but I don’t know its caliber as an introduction piece. Young folks might laugh and tune in or laugh and tune out. There’s plenty of DS material to be had for all: DVDs, books, even mouse pads from darkshadowsdvd.com. For some spooky fun, try Dark Shadows: Bloopers and Treasures one October night.