Monday, April 16, 2012

Random Thrills and Chills

Just a random selection of movies for your enjoyment (hopefully).

Let's start off with this enjoyable low key British thriller from 1981 which stars Roger Moore in a slight change of pace from his 007 persona as he plays the title role of a woman hating, cat loving needle point enthusiast who is also a specialist in anti-terrorism.  He goes up against Anthony Perkins (playing completely in type and making the most of it by this point) as a nutter who takes over an oil refinery.  Moore is fun as usual, James Mason is his usual solid self and if you go into things with an open mind, this is a genuine fun ride.

Equally fun (though not quite as good) is this Wes Craven flick that starts off as a thriller that wants to also make a statement about how lower income families are hurt by greedy landlords...but that quickly goes out the window as we get crazed death traps, hilarious overacting and Everett McGill running around in a gimp suit firing a shotgun indiscriminately.  It's not exactly a good film but by god it certainly is entertaining.

Another entertaining piece of crap is this remake of the 1991 Dutch thriller of the same name and amazingly enough, from the same director.  Keifer Sutherland plays a man whose girlfriend goes missing in Europe in the first twenty minutes, sending him on a desperate search for what happened over the next ninety.  His search leads him to Jeff Bridges sporting a really bad hairdo and even worse accent that wants to be French but instead makes him sound like he just got over a mild stroke.  It's pretty pathetic, actually since the original is a wonderfully taut piece of film making while this is merely formulaic crap.  Still, it's worth seeing just for Bridges.  He clearly was off in a much more interesting,. entertaining movie than the rest of the cast.

From crap we go to actual quality with this nicely moody and atmospheric 1973 chiller starring Christopher Lee and Edward Woodward.  Woodward is an uptight Christian cop who investigates the apparent disappearance of a young girl on a secluded Scottish island.  Things aren't quite what they seem (which tends to be the case when your group is led by Mr. Lee) and it all builds to a wonderfully dark finale.  Avoid watching the remake with Nicolas Cage (a classic of unintentional comedy) right after this, you might be driven to break something.

I love this Kenneth Branagh thriller, a nicely over the top tale of love, murder and reincarnation.  Branagh and Emma Thompson play dual roles as both a doomed couple and a private investigator/client.  Andy Garcia and Robin Williams are also on hand in good roles and I'd love to write more but this is really the sort of movie you need to experience without knowing anything about it.  It's really, really good.  Trust me.

Christopher Lee's last outing as Dracula is...Well, sort of a mixed bag, really, albeit an entertaining one.  The second Dracula outing to be set in the 70's, it is a vast improvement over Dracula A.D. 1972, but given what a mess that one was this isn't really saying anything.  Peter Cushing is back as Van Helsing's 70's descendant in a wild Avengers-esque plot concerning the bubonic plague, Dracula's plan to end the world and some general weirdness.  It's silly, stupid and way better than it has any right to be.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

VHS Memories XXV: 007 and Home Video

James Bond first hit VHS thanks to the fine folks at CBS Fox who had distribution rights to films from 20th Century Fox (naturally), MGM and United Artists in the early days of VHS.  Generally the covers were reproductions of the poster art but every now and then they went for something a little different.  Let's take a look.

I love the old CBS/FOX covers and this is one of my favorites.  The art looks really cool and it's just an overall fantastic cover.

When the films weren't going with the original artwork, they sometimes went with scenes from the movie as can be seen here and below.

This is the last one to have something a little different as from here on out, the covers are simply versions of the poster art.  After this run, MGM began releasing tapes with some interesting cover art variations.

 Great stuff.

About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.