Ángel de Fuego (1992)

Within a depressing Mexico City circus, 13-year-old Alma is a fire-breathing, trapeze-swinging young woman who is in love with her father Renato, a dying clown. She wants to give birth to the child they’ve conceived together and their sin of incest leads to her walking the streets. There, she joins a group of puppeteers who present shows that preach the word of God. However, even in this new world, Alma cannot escape the sin that she feels will never be absolved.

Once she learns that she will never be accepted in this new church, Alma becomes the despoiler and the destroyer, leaving behind only flames.

I’ve seen this compared to Santa Sangre, which I feel was a much better film. This is interesting but never seems to reach the heights of that film. That said, you should check it out and see what you think.

You can watch this on YouTube.

El Psicopata Asesino (1992)

Ruben Galindo Jr. made Don’t PanicCementerio del Terror and Ladrones de Tumbas, all movies more than worthy of praise. This is a mix of a cop film, a slasher and some occult themes, as the killer is a psychiatrist who is able to influence the minds of his patients.

This feels more like an Americanized direct to video cop on the tail of a killer with something extra — The First Power, if you need an example — which here ends up being mental powers.

Sadly, this movie does not live up to the first three of Galindo’s films that I enjoyed so much. But I’m not giving up on him, especially when he has movies like Mutantes del Ano 2000, where a giant mutant rat runs while in a teacher’s house, and Resucitare Para Matarlos, where a bullied kid learns how to kill all the soccer players once he comes back from the dead.

Muerte Infernal (1992)

Why would I spend weeks of my life preparing for this barrage of Mexican weirdness for you, dear reader? Just so I could tell you all about this movie, which is a veritable pot luck dinner of the things that both enthrall and upset me in movies.

Mexico, as horror filmmakers, rarely does subtle. And they rarely just do one thing when other horrifying elements can be layer on, like the scariest tasting seven-layer burrito ever burrito’d.

It would be enough if this movie was a ripoff of Child’s Play. But no, that’s too easy for director Roberto Guinar. No, instead, the doll shows up for a man named Lorenzo, who can’t perform sexually with anyone but his mother. Yes, that’s right. If you’re not creeped out by human dolls running around and killing people, this movie tosses in a side dish of incest. And not implied. Oh no. No, no, no. This incest is driven into your eyes and heart with all the fervor and subtlety of a Mexican soap opera from Hell.

Yes, Yermo has entered the House of Dolls, the store where Lorenzo and his ladylove mother call home. When our hero — is he our hero? — takes him to a children’s show, all the doll will do is fart. And fart. And fart some more.

The music in this is insane, like cowboy music with synths at times and screams and growls at others, all in English for a movie shot in Spanish that looks and feels like a latmodelrl scumbag Italian film but came out years after it was made and was only available in bootleg bins in Mexican stores in the U.S.

Everything in the above paragraph is why I am both fascinated and upset by this movie, which we all know means that I will be talking about it non-stop to anyone dumb enough to listen.

Most of this movie is Yermo and the lunatic son lying on the floor and laughing, as if you have a window in to their baffling world. I want to know more. In the perfect world of my dreams, this movie would have had at least two sequels to explain more. And no, the budget, aesthetics and sheer incomprehesinbility of this would not have been altered a lick in between installments.

This movie was near-impossible for me to find, but if you want to come over to my house, I’ll mix you cocktails spiked with hallucinogenics and we can scream at one another about this movie for as long as it takes.

Wayne’s World (1992)

It does seem like an audacious gamble, taking a sketch that previously only existed as a short take on public access TV and getting the director of The Decline of Western Civilization to make a full-length story, but hey — Wayne’s World is the most successful of all the Saturday Night Live movies. It gets by on heart, on weirdness and on the likeability of its leads.

Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar (Mike Myers and Dana Carvey) are on the cusp of making it, if making it is selling the rights to their public access show for $10,000. Wayne is trying to escape his last girlfriend Stacy (Lara Flynn Boyle) and has fallen for Crucial Taunt lead singer Cassandra Wong (Tia Carrere), a knockout who learned English from the Police Academy movies.

The rest of the movie is basically a collection of great small scenes strung together with put the tiniest of plots, including a moment where Alice Cooper explains that Milwaukee is Algonquin for the good land. Ed O’Neil also has a great cameo as the manager of Stan Mikita’s Donuts, with several asides to how death and murder have entered his life.

Wayne’s World is the second film that Coleen Camp appears in that has three endings. She’s also Yvette the maid in Clue. Please enjoy my trivial knowledge that will help no one.

Mom and Dad Save the World (1992)

Ever seen License to Drive? That’s a Greg Beeman movie, too. This one, he got Jeffrey Jones, usually the villain, to play the heroic dad opposite Terri Garr. Of course it bombed. But it ended up becoming an HBO and video store favorite.

Emperor Tod Spengo (Jon Lovitz) rules the planet Spengo, the leader of idiots who have created a Super Death Ray Laser that will destroy our planet. That’s all before he fell in love with the aforementioned mother.

Once they arrive on Spengo, courtesy of the Magnobeam, Marge is waited on by servants with fish or dog heads, while Dick is stuck in the dungeon, where he meets Raff (Eric Idle), who is the real leader and goes into the desert to find his son White Bird and the rebels.

Jon Lovitz left Saturday Night Live to make this film. I’d compare it to Flash Gordon but you know, Jeffrey Jones instead of Sam J. Jones.

Straight Talk (1992)

Straight Talk has been sitting on my shelf, part of a Mill Creek set along with VI Washawski, just taunting me, knowing that someday, somehow, someway that it would end up sitting in my DVD player, ready to cast its magic spell.

Writer Craig Bolotin often worked uncredited on films like Desperately Seeking Susan before writing this film. He’d go on to also write and executive produce Black Rain. This one was directed by Barnet Kellman, who is more well-known for his TV work.

The real draw, of course, is Dolly Parton. She plays Shirlee Kenyon, a dance instructor wallowing in Arkansas with her boyfriend, who is played by Michael Madsen. Yes, in the same year that he played Mr. Blonde, Madsen was the backwoods drunk beau of Dolly in a movie that no one remembers.

But he’s not the love interest. Oh no, that’d be James Woods, who plays a crusading reporter who has lost his way. He saves Dolly early in the film when she tries to fish a Jackson off a bridge. Then, of course, she talked a young Teri Hatcher into dumping Mr. Woods, who of course falls for our girl, who falls into a job as a talk radio psychotherapist.

She’s not a doctor, you may yell. Guess what, pal? You just realized the dramatic issue here. Can Dolly keep the job she’s best at? Will Woods divine her secret? Will Madsen screw it all up? And what the hell is up with this amazing supporting cast, which boasts Griffin Dunne, Tony Award-winners Tracy Letts, Amy Morton and Philip Bosco, Jerry Orbach, John Sayles (yes, the man who wrote PiranhaThe Howling and Battle Beyond the Stars), Spalding Grey in a cameo as a rival shrink, Charles Fleischer (Roger Rabbit’s voice), Jay Thomas (who was a real radio man himself and plays Zim Zimmerman here)?

It’s also Ron Livingston’s screen debut. So it has that going for it.

Seriously, Straght Talk is way better than it seems that it will be. I don’t think that it presents the right path to radio — it completely rips off an old WKRP In Cincinnati episode’s plot, too — but it’s a quick movie that’s helped by Parton’s limitless charm. Yep — I’ve been front row for several of her shows and an unabashed fan, so your mileage may vary.

RADIO WEEK REWIND: Bad Channels (1992)

Ted Nicolaou directed Subspecies, TerrorVision and The Dungeonmaster in addition to this film, where two aliens named Cosmo and Lump take over Superstation 66, a small radio station in Pahoota, California. Meanwhile, DJ Dan O’Dare and Flip Humble have a scam going on that involves a car and polka records. If you haven’t figured out by now that Bad Channels is weird, here’s your confirmation.

Most of Bad Channels is made up of music video performances from DMT, Blind Faith and Sykotik Sinfoney, dancing fungus and humans getting shrunk down. Original MTV VJ Martha Quinn shows up. There’s also a nun playing guitar in a shopping cart.

Even crazier, Blue Öyster Cult scored this entire movie!

When Becca and I first started dating, she was looking everywhere for a copy of this movie. I got it for her and it solidified our relationship. Therefore, I love this movie a lot more than your average person.

It amazes me that this movie was made in 1992 and not at any time in the 1980’s. Nurse Ginger from this movie would return in 1993’s Dollman vs. Demonic Toys, a crossover film of Full Moon properties.

Night Rhythms (1992)

Nick West (Martin Hewitt) is a nighttime jazz disc jockey of the Dave Garver variety (Play Misty for Me, 1973): as he spins songs, he coos to lonely, sexually frustrated women who, to listen to the Nickster on the radio, must attire themselves in the latest Victoria Secret fashions. Hey, this isn’t KRML 1410 on your AM dial. This is KHPY 108.9 FM.

Yeah, it’s that type of movie: bogus frequency, babes, and boobs.

One night after his show, Nick ends up at a strip club to visit Cinnamon, his latest girlfriend-bartender squeeze, where he comes to the rescue of Honey, a stripper damsel-in-distress—and humiliates Vincent, the club’s owner and her pimp (David Carradine?!?), in the process (with a realistic 45-Revolver squirt gun that he uses to drink water from while on-the-air, you know, as “character development”).

Yeah, it’s that type of movie: bogus guns, babes, and stripper poles.

The next night, to show her appreciation, Honey (Shannon Tweed’s sister, Tracy) comes to the station—and they have sex in the studio, Eric Swann-style (FM, 1978). Nick’s listeners are shocked when the moaning and groaning turns into choking. Meanwhile, back in the studio, Nick’s passed out on the floor next to Honey’s dead body. So Nick goes on the run with Cinnamon to clear his name. But not to worry: Nick may be on the run for his life, but there’s still time in between the sleuthing for hot, sexual encounters.

Yeah, it’s that type of movie: bogus sleuthing, boobs, and FCC violations.

The questions abound: Did all of Nick’s promiscuous sex, chain smoking, booze and drugs lead to a psychotic break? Is it the station manager from his last station that lost its license over Nick’s antics? Is it one of the jealous, profanity-spewing male listeners who call into his show? Did Bridgette, his career-driven, dog-collar wearing producer, do it? Did Vincent set him up? Did Cinnamon set him up? Was it Jackson, a holier than thou cop (Sam Jones) with a grudge against Nick’s on-air antics? What’s that? Honey and Bridgette are undercover lovers?

Yeah, it’s that type of movie: red herrings, boobs, and no 7-second air-delay.

Now, with a down-on-their luck exploitation cast featuring Hewitt, Jones, Carradine, and Gene Simmons’s sister-in-law, you’re thinking this is a video fringe wet dream: only if you’re a David Carradine completest or if you thrive on the bungled careers of others and experience schadenfreude as once popular actors slum for a paycheck.

Martin Hewitt and Sam Jones are a long ways away from their starring roles in their major studio, feature film debuts of Flash Gordon (1980) and Endless Love (1981)—so there’s something to be said of checking your arrogance and ego at the door. And we all know how far David Carradine had fallen, but to end up in this Basic Instinct (1992) backwashed porn slop?

You can call Night Rhythms a “soft-core erotic thriller” all you want. You can market the film in a very hard “R” version for cable, a soft “X” version for a home video release, an “NR” to stick behind the beaded curtain, or cut out 15-minutes of the gratuitous (including ménage and lesbian) sex scenes and stick it on the shelf of a local Blockbuster Video. No matter how you cut the print, it’s disheartening to see Martin Hewitt go from working with Academy Award-nominated Italian director Franco Zeffirelli (1968’s Romeo and Juliet) on Endless Love—which served as the feature film debut of Tom Cruise—to rolling around in cringe-inducing, gratuitous sex scenes.

Yeah, it’s that type of movie: four crappy versions, boobs, and gratuitous everything. And it’s also the type of movie I love.

Sure, Night Rhythms made money. And the acting, directing and cinematography are solid and above porn-grade, but . . . Basic Instinct is a neo-noir masterpiece recognized for its groundbreaking depictions of sex on film. We experienced sympathy, while feeling distain, for Michael Douglas’s dysfunctional cop (also named Nick!). We were engrossed by the cat-and-mouse game between Douglas and Sharon Stone’s Catherine Trammel. But the same couldn’t be said for the 1993 Madonna-starring knockoff Body of Evidence or William Friedkin’s 1995 knockoff, Jade. And Night Rhythms, which substitutes the trouble cop of those films for a trouble radio disc jockey, doesn’t come close in its goals to exist in a world where “Basic Instinct meets Play Misty For Me.”

Yeah, it’s that type of movie: a great pitch, a worn-out fast forward button, and an ending that should have shown Nick the Dick’s set-up punk ass in a prison cell, listening to the producer who set him up, hosting his old radio show. It’s also that type of movie where your producer wears fishnet shirts and a studded collar, and gums up the control room’s electronics with cigarette smoke.

But alas! Wings Hauser fans take note: Director Gregory Dark also wrote and directed the popular B-action sci-fi video rentals Dead Man Walking (1988; full movie) and Street Asylum (1990; full movie). After working with Martin Hewitt on another soft-erotic thriller, 1992’s Secret Games (trailer), Dark reinvented himself as a go-to music video director with Linkin Park’s “One Step Closer,” Stone Sour’s “Inhale,” and Sublime’s “Wrong Way. His long list of clients also includes Breaking Benjamin, Ice Cube, Mandy Moore, and Xzibit. One of the few adult filmmakers (Google “The Dark Brothers” at your own peril) to successfully transition into mainstream Hollywood, Dark had his biggest success with the WWE Films and Lionsgate Entertainment co-production See No Evil. Directed by Dark, the 2006 film starring professional wrestler Kane grossed more than $60 million dollars in worldwide box office. Not a bad day’s work for a film that was produced for $8 million.

Today, Martin Hewitt is retired from the business as a divorced father of two and runs a successful home inspection business in Southern California. Sam Jones is still in the business with two new films in the marketplace: Decapitarium (based on the writings of Edgar Allan Poe; trailer) and Axcellerator (a car thief involved in government intrigue with Sean Young and Maxwell Caufield; trailer). Tom Cruise, who worked under Martin Hewitt in Endless Love and came up Hollywood’s ranks alongside Maxwell Caufield and Sam Jones, is back in theaters on June 26, 2020, with Top Gun: Maverick.

That’s how life, rolls.

Two new flicks starring Sam “Flash Gordon” Jones are out now.

Amazingly, Charles Band’s Full Moon Pictures has the rights to Night Rhythms and streams it on their Full Moon Amazon Prime page. Based on its 84-minute runtime, and the fact that Amazon is streaming it, we’ll guess that it’s the edited Blockbuster Video version, but to be on the safe side: discretionary viewing is suggested. (The naughty version runs 99-minutes.)

About the Author: You can read the music and film reviews of R.D Francis on Medium and learn more about his work on Facebook.

Body Puzzle (1992)

At least this Lamberto Bava film has a unique premise: A detective discovers that a serial killer’s murders are all connected by the late husband of a beautiful widow. After all, his organs have been transplanted into each dead body!

That said — there is a great scene where the killer eviscerates a schoolteacher victim in front of her class of blind students, spraying one of them with plasma. If only the rest of the film lived up to its premise like this scene!

That said, there are plenty of Italian exploitation faves in this one.

Polish actress Joanna Pacula was in Virus with Jamie Lee Curtis (it’s an early comic book film, based on a Dark Horse comic) and Gorky Park. She plays the lead, Tracy and in real life, once dated Roman Polanski.

Tomas Arana — who is on The New Pope these days — is better known to our readers for appearing in The Church, He and Pacula were also in Tombstone together.

Look out! There’s Gianni Garko, who is beloved here for his work in movies like DevilfishThe Psychic, four of the five legit Sartana films (If You Meet Sartana…Pray for Your Death; I Am Sartana, Your Angel of DeathHave a Good Funeral, My Friend…Sartana Will Pay and Light the Fuse…Sartana Is Coming), Encounters In the Deep and Star Odyssey. There’s Erika Blanc (Kill, Baby… Kill!, The George Hilton-starring Sartana’s Here…Trade Your Pistol for a Coffin, The Night Evelyn Came Out of Her GraveA Dragonfly for Each Corpse)! And Giovanni Lombardo Radice, always a great scumbag in movies like The House on the Edge of the Park and its sequel where he was the main focus, as well as Stagefright, City of the Living DeadCannibal Ferox and Phantom of Death.

Jasmine Maimone, who was in DemonsDemons 6: De Profundis and Paganini Horror was the original choice for the lead, but she retired before this bloody mess could be made.

You can watch the whole movie on YouTube.

Amityville: It’s About Time (1992)

Director Tony Randel produced New World Pictures reworking of The Return of Godzilla into the U.S. version Godzilla 1985 and directed Def Con 4 before his big break, directing Hellbound: Hellraiser II. He also was behind the live-action Fist of the North Star.

Along with Amityville: The Evil Escapes, this movie is loosely based on a series of short stories titled Amityville: The Evil Escapes by John G. Jones. Producer and co-screenwriter Christopher DeFaria became confused by some of the inconsistencies in Jones’ stories, so he called the writer to get some answers. The answer? Jones told him “Yep, Chris, that’s the way evil is. It’s just unpredictable!”

Unlike many of the films with Amityville in the title, this one at least tries to be in canon, bringing up that the house blew up real good at the end of the abysmal Amityville 3-D.

Jacob Sterling (Stephen Macht, The Monster Squad) is an architect who has just returned home from a business trip in Amityville and he’s brought back a cursed clock that once belonged to that evil house that was once there. There you go — there’s the connection.

Meanwhile, his ex-girlfriend Andrea Livingston (Shawn Weatherly, Baywatch) is watching Jacob’s two teenage kids, Lisa (Megan Ward, Trancers 2 and 3) and Rusty (Damon Martin, Ghoulies II). Well, that clock kicks in pretty much right away, randomly transforming the living room into a torture chamber and influencing a neighborhood dog named Peaches into mauling Jacob’s leg. There’s also an incredibly sweaty sex scene between Jacob and Andrea, because hey, you have Shawn Weatherly in a movie and it’s the 90’s and foreign investors and you know how direct to video horror goes.

Nita Talbot, who was Marya on Hogan’s Heroes, shows up as a neighbor. She was in a wealth of horror films, like Island ClawsFrightmare (the Norman Thaddeus Vaine movie, not the Peter Walker version, and yes I realize that the director of that movie is also the main character in the fictional movie within a movie within that movie and yes, that’s very confusing), Chained Heat and Puppet Master II.

All hell breaks loose, with Peaches the dog being killed and her blood being used to smear anti-Jewish symbols all over her owner’s house, Lisa and Jacob being possessed by the clock, Rusty and Andrea actually being the heroes in a film that seems to not know who the protagonists should be and a trick ending that allows a character to scream the title of the movie, delighting me to no end. Top it all off with a Dick Miller cameo and you have an incredibly perfect waste of your time.

I mean, you have to love any movie that has a black box over 1992 in its opening titles. Yes, the movie was originally called Amityville 1992: It’s About Time back when it was all the rage to put the year in the title of movies. 

You can watch this on Amazon Prime or Tubi. Or, if you want the ultimate non-cannon Amityville experience, you can grab this movie as part of Vinegar Syndrome’s astounding Amityville: The Cursed Collection set, along with Amityville: The Evil EscapesAmityville: A New Generation and Amityville: Dollhouse.