Used Future's DVD Collection

Tools    





Firstly, Runaway is great. How can you possibly be dissing it?

Secondly, the Kolchak series is well worth your time, IMO. OK, not every episode is gold, but all but a couple are at least decent. I think I got it for about £12 and I felt it was money well spent.
__________________
5-time MoFo Award winner.



"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."



Runnaway is certainly entertaining but I don't think Crichton got the tone quite right compared to his earlier flick Coma. I think it would have been better handled by a different director who wasn't so attached to the source material. It's a great premise that just doesn't work with the 80's technology presented, and as such the film looks decidedly ridiculous whilst taking it'self far too seriously. A great example is the sequence where Selleck has to rescue a baby by storming a house in which a robot has gone rogue with a pistol. It works until you see the robot looks like the type of nerdy teen creation Craig Charles used to introduce on Robot Wars.

I saw the Kolchak TV series on sale for a fiver in the Manchester Fopp a few years back, and passed it up because the movies weren't included. Kind of regret it now.



it's a great premise that just doesn't work with the 80's technology presented, and as such the film looks decidedly ridiculous whilst taking it'self far too seriously. A great example is the sequence where Selleck has to rescue a baby by storming a house in which a robot has gone rogue with a pistol. It works until you see the robot looks like the type of nerdy teen creation Craig Charles used to introduce on Robot Wars.
See, that's what I like about it. If it didn't take itself seriously it'd be a lot less entertaining. Like the neo-grindhouse stuff.



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
Sorry I missed the last few posts. The Last Days of Man on Earth was a film I saw at the theatre when it first came out. I gave it a 2/10, but I basically couldn't remember it except that it seemed like it was missing big chunks. When I rewatched it, it seemed the same way except it appeared intentional rather than lost in translation through editing. The whole thing seems like a joke without much of a punchline - actually I felt like I was the punchline, so I still disliked it although it does have its incidental pleasures along the way. You should give it a whirl.
__________________
It's what you learn after you know it all that counts. - John Wooden
My IMDb page



[EDIT] Thanks Mark. The film does appear to be one big lark, and I'm not sure how I'll handle the narrative omissions, but it still sounds like something I should try.

Time for some more updates...



Kicking off with a Davey C triple bill of upgrades with my old dvd's included in the background. Scanners should need no introductions to sci-fi/horror fans and this gorgeous Criterion edition was a long overdue addition - thanks Kathy. Same can be said of Videodrome which I finally have uncut (yes the UK dvd is incomplete). I have to say the packaging is exceptional on these Criterion editions I don't care what Frank Henenlotter says about 'boring covers'. Lastly we have the director's cut of Clive Barker's Nightbreed (in which David Cronenberg co-stars). I'm aware Shout Factory also released an ultimate blu ray edition which includes the original theatrical cut, but seeing as it costs $80 and I already own the dvd I decided to plump for the cheaper option and just hold on to my old copy. I haven't watched this extended cut (an extra 18 mins) of the film yet, but understand it's the definitive version considering the amount of studio tampering that blighted Barker's theatrical incarnation. I'm a big fan of the film (as well as his book Cabal on which it's based) so hopefully Barker was right all along and this will be a big improvement.



I mentioned a guy called Andrew Prine in my last update and here are two of his movies from the seventies with a third unrelated horror tacked on for good measure. The first and best is the Dark Sky edition of Bruce Kessler's Simon, King of the Witches (changed my avatar especially for this post). This is actually more of a counter culture, occult-black comedy than a horror film, and was mismarketed to cash in on the Satanic movie craze that was sweeping the early seventies (the film's intended title was just Simon). Very low budget this is a satisfyingly original little curio that benefits hugely from Andrew Prine's charismatic, earnest performance as the titular white magician who wreaks havoc on the establishment when they question his power. I like the fact Kessler never makes it an 'is he or isn't he?' (the real deal that is); instead choosing to focus on the flakey hippy party scene as Simon terrorizes the smarmy upper class with a strange red ball of light. It doesn't quite stray into the realms of satire as much as I'd like, and the narrative is a little too sketchy at times, but overall this is still worthwhile for cult cinema fans looking for something a little different. Love the sub 2001: A Space Odyssey psychedelic sequence too - on the extras Kessler claims it was specially created by some of the same effects team, though it looks more like something salvaged from Kubrick's cutting room floor.

Next up another Dark Sky release. Honeykid this one should be right up your street considering the proto-slasher, sexploitation credentials on offer. Andrew Prine co-stars as a particularly creepy serial killer who dresses like a sixties hipster and likes to bump off the titular glamour models with a straight razor. The film is separated into three acts each one dedicated to a different centerfold whom Prine's character stalks and kills (before he makes the mistake of targeting Tiffany Bolling's feisty would-be-victim that is) . Sleazy in the extreme, this is certainly a step up from many of the generic Italian Gialli doing the rounds around the same period (stuff like Andrea Bianchi's Strip Nude for Your Killer and Giuliano Carnimeo's The Case of the Bloody Iris). Unfortunately however the best thing about the movie, namely Andrew Prine, is frustratingly underused, and beyond the chapter gimmick, Peyser's direction is unsurprisingly pedestrian. Still, there's plenty of skin on display and Prine's performance elevates the film considerably.

Lastly we have Armand Weston's oddly titled The Nesting which is sometimes mistaken as one of the original video nasties (it isn't) and has nothing to do with creepy crawlies or animals of any kind. Nope, this one comes off like a cut-rate rip-off of Michael Winner's The Sentinel and Fulci's The Beyond as Robin Groves moves into a unique looking octagonal house haunted by murdered prostitutes. Decent location aside, this has woefully stilted acting, and is permeated by a cheap atmosphere largely devoid of splatter and sleaze, save for the last fifteen minutes. Not a total loss, but I'd certainly recommend Winner's 1977 effort first (yes I think it's better than The Beyond).



Seeing as we're on to haunted houses I couldn't resist posting these three which I picked up for a total of £4 a few months before leaving the UK (I found the sequels in Pound Stretcher of all places). The first is probably one of the most overrated horror films of all time and only did good business because the real life story had already captured the public's imagination. Slow and dreary it's still a compulsive must see for horror fans, if only for it's fame and reputation.

I'm aware Sir Toose mentioned the sequel recently and so will just concur that it's easily the best of the series. Damiani's film pretty much rectifies everything that was wrong with the original in that there's never a dull moment - talk about giving the audience (namely horror fans) what they want. Sure it's junky, but between ample amounts of splatter, creepy moving objects, skin crawling incest, over the top makeups (that ridiculous ending) and the likes of the aforementioned Andrew Prine showing up as a priest; not to mention a great nasty performance from Burt Young as the father, and you have a highly entertaining 80's trash classic.

Sadly Richard Fleischer's Amityville 3 (originally 3-D) is one godawful cock up of a sequel that remarkably failed to kill off the series. The only one I hadn't seen; I always wondered what happened to Tony Roberts after the 70's but was shocked and disappointed to see him in this turd. Another victim of the early 80's 3-D craze (the godawful Jaws 3-D was released the same year) this one's best forgotten. Incidentally these sequels are on the budget Highfliers dvd label and are both anamorphic widescreen. Amityville II: The Possession looks really great with a clean transfer, whereas Amityville 3 has a particularly horrible grainy VHS style transfer. No loss there then.



Talking of sequels, here's some more. I'm not going into details here save to say I really like the underrated Psycho II & III (I know Shout have since released swanky Blu ray editions) and couldn't resist this set for cheap. The Poltergeist sequels are less impressive (II faring better than III during which star Heather O'Rourke famously died) and these were ultra-cheap purchases to finish my trilogy. I'll leave it there but if anyone wants to discuss them further I'll be happy to oblige.



Three more which I'll cover quickly. End of the Line is a great overlooked allegorical horror I covered in the movie tab a few months back. Highly recommended stuff - horror fans need to seek this one out. Jeepers Creepers was £1.99 second hand and should need no introductions. A nice throwback monster movie that nods Hooper's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as well as plenty of other stuff. Fred Dekker's The Monster Squad is a fun Goonies style throwback to the old Universal classic monsters, and looks nice next to my copy of his earlier Night of the Creeps which is on my 100 favourites list.



Another quickie comment on these. I reviewed Mike Hodges' Black Rainbow a couple of years back and understand this Anchor bay release is pretty hard to come by now. William Girdler's cheesy Exorcist rip-off The Manitou is a guilty pleasure fave' I've gushed about plenty of times on MoFo, and this OOP R2 edition is incredibly rare. I didn't even know it existed before finding this copy for £1.99 in a charity shop in Hyde, Manchester. I don't think my hands have ever moved so fast (no jokes please). In the middle is yet another Exorcist/Omen reworking with Carl Schultz's 1988 The Seventh Sign. Incredibly mawkish, and yet another Michael Biehn career killer - he'd starred in William Friedkin's notorious serial killer flop Rampage the previous year (I wish I could say that muddled film is underrated but it really isn't). Schultz's film has Demi Moore about to give birth to the Antichrist and Jürgen Prochnow rocking up as mushy-weirdo-stranger out to expose the truth and save the world. Loads of schmaltzy music with Biehn lost in the mix as Demi's husband (the two having absolutely no chemistry whatsoever). One of those see it to believe it turkeys this almost redeems it'self with the twist ending, but not quite.

Going to leave it there for now because I'm feeling lazy. More horror and upgrades to come...



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
The Manitou is so silly yet entertaining, and The Seventh Sign is so silly yet thuddingly-boring. People nowadays act like the original The Amityville Horror is some "classic", but I've always considered it just a camp classic. The second one is so outré, it doesn't seem related in the least.



Regarding The Amityville Horror; It never ceases to amaze me how they were able to make such a slow, miserable, ineffective film (through no fault of the cast - though Steiger is incredibly hammy) from such a sensationalised phenomenon in Jay Anson's exploitative book. Even more amazing is how the public lapped it all up, many continuing to declare the film as some sort of horror classic.

I agree Amytyville II: The Possession is such off the wall gutter trash that does pretty much everything a sleazy 80's horror should, but doesn't feel like a bonafide sequel. Equally remarkable to think it actually purports to tell the true story of the Italian family who bought the infamous house after the Lutz's. Only an Italian director could have come up with something that in your face as a sequel to such a popular mainstream film. Interesting that Damiani also directed the cult political spaghetti western A Bullet for the General.



Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
In the main, horror isn't really my thing so my decent streak of late is shattered. All I've seen there is Scanners which I didn't care for and Monster Squad which is good fun. I actually just watched that a few months back for the first time in a long while. The majority of the others don't greatly appeal, though I'll maybe check a couple of the ones you really seem to like such as Manitou and End of the Line.

If you create an X-Files thread I'll definitely drop in to nerd-out over my favourite episodes and speculate on the new stuff.

As for Kolchak I've seen The Night Stalker and The Night Strangler but not the TV series which I heard is terrible - is it? I liked the movies well enough, though The Night Strangler is really just a carbon copy of the first one with a different monster (that rotting dude who lives under the city if I remember correctly - it's been a while). Naturally I'm aware of the huge influence they had on Chris Carter and the X-Files. Darren McGavin even played Arthur Dales in the show before M. Emmet Walsh took over, as I'm sure you know.
I'll definitely need to look into making that thread someday

And I certainly don't think the TV series is terrible though I don't remember a great deal of it. Don't think I actually finished the series and it's been a few years now but I remember still enjoying it. Keep meaning to go back to it sometime. Though I do seem to like the movies more than you to begin with. Really like the first and love the second one. And yes I'm aware of Darren McGavin being on the show amongst other connections. For example the monster in the second movie served as inspiration for the Eugene Victor Tooms character. And I seem to remember that Chris Carter originally wanted McGavin to actually play Mulder's father.



In the main, horror isn't really my thing so my decent streak of late is shattered.
You're breaking my heart JD...this is all for you...this is all for you JD...*hangs self from window ledge*

Seriously though, Omen references aside, I do still have a few comedies and non-horror upgrades on the agenda. Don't give up on me man.

All I've seen there is Scanners which I didn't care for
Wha-please say it isn't so...Scanners is great. Sure Steven Lack is a lump of wood, but Michael Ironside, Cronenberg's icky direction, the great score, script and effects more than make up for it. Admittedly Lack should never have been cast though.

The majority of the others don't greatly appeal, though I'll maybe check a couple of the ones you really seem to like such as Manitou and End of the Line.
I think you'd get something out of The Manitou as long as you go into it for some unintentional laughs and nothing more. Even Mark likes it on a braindeader level.

I don't see End of the Line as your cup of tea but could be wrong considering some of the social commentary you can read into it. There's also a decent survival tale in there and I think it's a great example of low budget horror scripting i.e. how to generate tension and implied higher production values by deliberately keeping the large scale action out of sight.

And I certainly don't think the TV series is terrible though I don't remember a great deal of it. Don't think I actually finished the series and it's been a few years now but I remember still enjoying it. Keep meaning to go back to it sometime.
No offense but you and HK have done little to buoy my confidence in the merits of the Kolchak TV series. I mean I still wish I'd bought it cheap to make up my own mind. But HK says things like not every episode is gold, whilst you (an avid X-Files fan) didn't finish, and can't remember it. The prosecution rests your honor.

Though I do seem to like the movies more than you to begin with. Really like the first and love the second one. And yes I'm aware of Darren McGavin being on the show amongst other connections. For example the monster in the second movie served as inspiration for the Eugene Victor Tooms character. And I seem to remember that Chris Carter originally wanted McGavin to actually play Mulder's father.
Oh I liked the movies just fine. They definitely have a charm to them and my comments re the second being a re-tread of the first don't mean I didn't enjoy it. I just found the similarities amusing. You're right about McGavin being originally penciled in to play Mulder's father because I remember Carter mentioning something to that effect on the box set extras. It's been a few years since I saw The Night Strangler so the similarities to Eugene Tooms went over my head I'm afraid. Just for the record I think The Night Stalker is the better of the two Kolchak movies.

Thanks for dropping in again JD. I always appreciate your comments.



Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Wha-please say it isn't so...Scanners is great. Sure Steven Lack is a lump of wood, but Michael Ironside, Cronenberg's icky direction, the great score, script and effects more than make up for it. Admittedly Lack should never have been cast though.
If I remember correctly I liked Ironside and I liked the couple of examples of the actual scanning process and subsequent cranium explosions. Other than that though I think I found it a bit dull.

No offense but you and HK have done little to buoy my confidence in the merits of the Kolchak TV series. I mean I still wish I'd bought it cheap to make up my own mind. But HK says things like not every episode is gold, whilst you (an avid X-Files fan) didn't finish, and can't remember it. The prosecution rests your honor.
To be fair I often abandon and forget about shows for one reason or another. There were a couple of shows that I was on a real binge of about 5 years ago when my little dog died. I've not watched a single episode of either show since. Obviously that's an extreme example but I do go through phases of watching a show obsessively then completely dropping it. And as for not remembering much the episodes I've watched I've only seen once and not for a good few years.

As for HK's thoughts, is there any show where every episode is gold? And if HK describes something as anything other than ***** then it's doing well! And lastly, where has this obsession with 'quality' come from all of a sudden? Have you seen some of the crap you watch?!

It's been a few years since I saw The Night Strangler so the similarities to Eugene Tooms went over my head I'm afraid. Just for the record I think The Night Stalker is the better of the two Kolchak movies.
Well Tooms would emerge every 30 years to consume 5 human livers that would sustain him for another 30 years. While the killer in The Night Strangler would emerge every 21 years I think to collect the blood of his victims, turning it into an elixir that would sustain him until the next cycle begins 21 years later.

And yeah the majority of people seem to prefer The Night Stalker. I just like to go against the grain! I prefer the interesting villain of the sequel as opposed to standard vampire fare and I absolutely adore the Seattle underground set that is the killer's lair. I really like The Night Stalker but love The Night Strangler.


Oh and lastly there's a couple of films I stumbled upon recently that sounded interesting and wondered if you had seen them; sounded like they might have made it onto your radar at some point. Have you seen either The Shout (1978) or Games (1967)?



I think I found it a bit dull.


about 5 years ago when my little dog died
Oh god *swallows* you've set me off again...

As for HK's thoughts, is there any show where every episode is gold?
Fawlty Towers
Frasier
Psychoville
The League of Gentlemen
Gavin and Stacey
Peep Show
Alan Partridge
Blackadder

I was going to say Only Fools and Horses but the last episodes were rubbish.

where has this obsession with 'quality' come from all of a sudden? Have you seen some of the crap you watch?!


Have you seen either The Shout (1978)
Page six third post from the top.

or Games (1967)?
No.

[EDIT] JD, Just incase this post seems a little short; I'm just confirming that your post was taken in good spirit.



Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
[EDIT] JD, Just incase this post seems a little short; I'm just confirming that your post was taken in good spirit.
You're so lucky you threw in this disclaimer. I was so close to kicking off!

Although I still feel the need to take a dig at some of your TV gold. Of those Frasier is the only one I'd give you. Never really got the big deal about Fawlty Towers. Can't stand Gavin and Stacey. Blackadder I'd give you most of it being gold but was the first season not quite ropey? Certainly not what I'd call gold if I'm remembering it correctly. Oh and it wasn't just the last episodes, all of Only Fools and Horses was rubbish!



Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
I was going to try and respond with a funny clip from the show, something that either deflected your insult or threw an insult back at you. But then I remembered there are no funny clips from Only Fools and Horses!



That's a fine collection! I still have about 300+ DVDs myself, all boxed up in storage haha